Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Poche, fifth-rounder, will attend Arkansas
Left-hander Colin Poche will attend Arkansas despite being drafted in the fifth round by the Baltimore Orioles.
FAYETTEVILLE Colin Poche, a left-handed pitcher selected in the fifth round of the MLB Draft last month, will attend Arkansas next season, he said Thursday.
The Flower Mound, Texas native was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. Slot value for his position in the draft was $262,000.
Poche will be the highest-drafted signee to make it to campus since pitcher Ryne Stanek turned down a third round offer in 2010.
“The more I thought about it, the more I felt like three years at a good school like Arkansas will prepare me better for going into the minor league,” Poche said.
“Watching the team in Omaha this year affected my decision. Seeing them on the big stage like that makes you want to go out there and do it, too.”
As a senior at Marcus High School, Poche went 7-3 with a 0.21 earned run average and struck out 97 batters. He was named pitcher of the year by the Dallas Morning News, which also selected Arkansas signee Willie Schwanke (Frisco Wakeland) as its hitter of the year.
Poche’s primary pitch is a four-seam fastball that ranges from 86 to 91 miles per hour, and he mixes in a slider and change-up. At Arkansas, he will join several returners from a pitching staff that had a cumulative 2.83 ERA in 2012.
“It’s unreal the kind of talent they get in and the way the coaches coach them up,” Poche said. “It’s one of the best pitching staffs in the nation year-in and year-out.”
Poche (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) is the first of the Razorbacks’ five drafted signees to turn down a pro contract offer this summer. Two players – pitcher Ty Buttrey and outfielder Shilo McCall – have signed, while two others – pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz and outfielder D’Vone McClure – continue to hold out ahead of the July 13 deadline.
Stankiewicz was selected in the second round by the New York Mets and McClure was taken in the fourth round by the Cleveland Indians. Van Horn said earlier this week he expects McClure to sign, while Stankiewicz’s future is less clear.
“He’s not getting the money he’s wanting yet,” Van Horn said Tuesday. “Even if he went to a junior college, I don’t know that he wants to play pro ball so bad, so that’s up in the air a little bit.”
Counting this summer, Arkansas has lost 10 signees to pro contracts since 2010.