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Razorback 2020 MLB Draft Primer

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arkansas vs Florida State Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Arkansas Razorback Baseball program should be well represented in the Major League Baseball draft that begins tomorrow. The draft will be condensed to five rounds in order to save teams money due to the Coronavirus. Teams will be able to sign an unlimited amount of undrafted free agents for $20,000. The Razorbacks should have at least three former players drafted.

Heston Kjerstad(6’3 205): He has been the most consistent of the group. A heavy hitter, Kjerstad hit 37 home runs, 129 RBIs and a career .343 batting average (.448 in 2020) in 150 career games. CBS Sports has him going anywhere between picks nine and eleven.

He has a very good arm and looks very good throwing from right field.

Who gets him? Pittsburgh, Colorado and the Chicago White Sox are likely landing spots.

Casey Martin(5’11 175): Baseball America absolutely loves Martin. He is predicted to be picked 27th pick in tomorrow’s draft. Undrafted out of high school, Martin came to prove himself and he did just that his freshman season hitting .345 with 13 home runs and nine steals.

As a sophomore he went backwards a bit as he hit .286 but upped his power with 21 doubles, four triples and 15 home runs.

Yeah, there is a pattern here as his stats continued to drop throughout the condensed 2020 season. He was ten points lower hitting .271 but did manage to hit two home runs, five doubles and six steals.

His quickness and twitch while stealing could make him very valuable. As a sophomore he was able to hit an inside the park home run and managed to navigate around the bases in under 11 seconds.

Martin has shown a tendency to be inconsistent with his throws from shortstop. His speed does present an opportunity play centerfield as a professional. His strikeout percentage is really high for a potential first round pick but there are plenty more positives that teams can play off of with Martin.

Casey Opitz (5’11 200): During the preseason, Baseball America named Opitz a third team preseason All-American and was recognized as “best catcher arm”. He really improved his batting average in the shortened 2020 season to .305 which was up nearly 50 points from 2019. He did have a couple of walk off hits to win ball games last season, too.

Opitz was also able to throw out base runners attempting to steal at a 50 percent rate (23/46) in 2019.