Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Four Hogs, four signees drafted on final day
Arkansas' Eric Fisher rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning of a game against LSU Sunday, April 13, 2014 at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. Arkansas won 10-4.
FAYETTEVILLE Three Arkansas juniors have been drafted on the final day of the MLB Draft.
Left-handed pitchers Jalen Beeks (12th round) and Michael Gunn (16th round) were selected by the Boston Red Sox, and first baseman Eric Fisher was taken in the 17th round by the Miami Marlins. Outfielder Tyler Spoon was drafted in the 36th round by the Oakland Athletics, but he is expected to return to Arkansas next season.
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The players joined infielder Brian Anderson, a third round selection of the Marlins, and right-handed pitcher Chris Oliver, a fourth round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, as drafted Razorbacks in this year's draft. Beeks fell further than expected this year after being projected as Baseball America's 125th-best prospect.
Beeks was 6-4 in 13 starts this season for Arkansas, finishing the year with a 1.98 earned run average. Gunn was equally as effective out of the bullpen, setting a school record by allowing only three earned runs in 28 appearances out of the bullpen.
Fisher led Arkansas with nine home runs as a redshirt junior, including one home run in four straight games during a stretch in April. Fisher's 45 RBIs ranked second on the team.
Four signees were also drafted Saturday, but none are expected to turn pro. The New York Mets drafted outfielder Luke Bonfield in the 21st round and right-handed pitcher Keaton McKinney was drafted in the 28th round. Catchers Blake Wiggins (Phillies, 36th round) and Nathan Rodriguez (Colorado Rockies, 39th round) were also drafted.
Only one of Arkansas' signees, left-handed pitcher Sam Hentges, was drafted in the first 20 rounds of the draft. The Razorbacks' signing class was ranked ninth by Perfect Game USA and included four players ranked among Baseball America's top 213 draft-eligible prospects.