Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
2 Hogs drafted on Day 2
Arkansas second baseman Brian Anderson makes a play during a game against South Carolina on Friday, April 5, 2014 at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Brian Anderson's versatility and hitting helped make him the first Arkansas player taken in the 2014 major league baseball first-year player draft Friday.
Anderson went to the Miami Marlins with the second pick of the third round, the 76th pick overall. He edged out a fellow junior, right-handed pitcher Chris Oliver, whose draft stock likely took a hit following his arrest Tuesday in Fayetteville for driving while intoxicated. Oliver was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with pick No. 112 in the fourth round.
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Arkansas had those two players and signee Sam Hentges chosen through the first 10 rounds of the draft Friday. Hentges, a 6-6 left-handed pitcher and first baseman from Arden Hills, Minn., was taken in the fourth round with the 128th pick by the Cleveland Indians.
Right-hander Keaton McKinney, another signee who was rated the No. 80 player available in the draft by Baseball America, was not taken through 10 rounds.
University of Central Arkansas outfielder Doug Votoloto was chosen at No. 276 in the ninth round by the Texas Rangers, and Arkansas State right-hander Bradley Wallace was taken at No. 307 in the 10th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Razorbacks did not have a selection among the first two rounds of the draft for the first time since 2009. The final 30 rounds will take place today.
Anderson, a native of Edmond, Okla., led the Razorbacks this season with a .328 batting average and 51 RBI and had 7 home runs and 9 stolen bases. The 6-3, 185-pounder played in the outfield and at shortstop, second base and third base.
"He shows signs of being able to hit for both average and power, with the ability to add strength a plus for future development at the plate, " MLB.com wrote of Anderson. MLB.com speculated Anderson could wind up in a corner outfield position or back at third base in the pros.
Anderson batted .615 in four games at the NCAA Charlottesville (Va.) Regional with 8 hits, 1 home run and a .688 on-base percentage and earned all-tournament honors.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said pro teams were intrigued by Anderson's ability to fill out and gain strength.
"He has all the tools that you're looking for," Van Horn said. "Brian's just hard on himself. Maybe in pro ball he'll relax a little bit and just play every day."
Anderson was picked by Minnesota in the 20th round of the 2011 draft but elected to play three seasons in college. He is the fourth Razorback selected in the past five years by the Marlins, who took pitcher Colby Suggs with the 73rd pick last year.
Analysts at the MLB Network speculated Oliver's arrest might have kept him on the board longer than projected.
"I knew from the mistake I made that I would slide a little bit, but I was fortunate enough to reach terms with the Phillies and after we had that locked in it was pretty emotional," Oliver said in a university release. "You live and you learn."
MLB Network analyst Jim Callus said pro teams were torn between keeping Oliver as a starting pitcher or returning him to the bullpen, where he pitched his first two seasons at Arkansas.
The 6-4 Oliver led Arkansas with a 9-4 record, pitching mostly in the second and third spots in the weekend rotation. He had a 2.51 earned run average in 2014 and led off Arkansas' NCAA regional appearance at Charlottesville with a 3-2 victory over Liberty last Friday.
He was drafted for the second time in his career, following his 2011 selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 27th round.
Oliver pitched 129 2/3 innings at Arkansas, allowing 99 hits and 50 walks to go along with 94 strikeouts.
The Farmington native ran into trouble early Tuesday when he was pulled over and charged with DWI after blowing .09, just over the legal limit of .08, in a breath alcohol test.
Van Horn said he fielded calls from major-league teams following the arrest and assured them Oliver doesn't have issue with alcohol and just made a mistake.
"Hopefully he learned a lesson and will be able to grow from it and move on," Van Horn said.
McKinney, a 6-5, 220-pounder from Ankeny, Iowa, indicated to the Des Moines Register on Friday that he had a $1 million asking price, which he gave to his adviser.
"If they offered below it, I wasn't going to sign," McKinney told the Register. "I'm not really worried about not signing. I can't wait to get [to Arkansas] and make a run for the College World Series."
McKinney also told the paper he planned to be a first-round pick in three years out of Arkansas.
Votolato, a senior from Flower Mound, Texas, led UCA this season with a .379 batting average and 50 runs scored last season. He also drove in 24 runs while helping the Bears (32-22) advance to the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament, where they were defeated by Southeastern Louisiana.
Wallace, a senior from Rison, was 4-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 15 starts for the Red Wolves. He was second on the team with 69 strikeouts in a team-high 78 1/3 innings and held batters to a .280 average.
Sports on 06/07/2014