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.
4 Hogs taken on draft's final day
Arkansas junior starter Jalen Beeks delivers a pitch against Eastern Illinois during the second inning Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas baseball program had four more players taken on the final day of the major-league baseball draft Saturday, as well as four of its signees.
Left-hander Jalen Beeks (6-4) of Prairie Grove, who ranked third in the SEC with a 1.98 earned run average, went in the 12th round with the 374th pick to the Boston Red Sox. Left-handed reliever Michael Gunn also was drafted by the Red Sox, who made him the 494th pick in the 16th round.
First baseman Eric Fisher, the team leader with nine home runs, was taken by the Miami Marlins in the 17th round with the 497th selection, making him the fifth Razorback player in the past five years drafted by Miami. Teammate Brian Anderson was picked by the Marlins in the third round on Friday.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said earlier in the week that he expected Beeks, Gunn and Fisher to sign professional contracts.
Outfielder Tyler Spoon, who had sports hernia surgery in the winter and battled injuries while hitting .256 with 3 home runs and 37 RBI, went to the Oakland Athletics in the 36th round.
Van Horn said Spoon, draft eligible as a redshirt sophomore, was planning to return next season and not play summer ball to recover from his injuries.
"I think he wants to come back and have a big year next year," Van Horn said.
The New York Mets took a pair of Razorbacks signees, selecting outfielder Luke Bonfield of The Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., in the 21st round and Keaton McKinney, a right-handed pitcher and first baseman from Ankeny, Iowa, in the 28th round. McKinney is expected to end up at Arkansas after telling the Des Moines Register that major-league clubs did not meet his asking price and that he planned to play for the Razorbacks for three years.
McKinney, a 6-5, 220-pound right-hander, drove in the winning run in the championship game of the 18-and-under World Cup against Japan in September in Taiwan.
Pulaski Academy catcher Blake Wiggins, another Razorbacks signee who some project as an infielder, was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 36th round. Signee Nathan Rodriguez, a catcher from El Dorado High School in Plascentia, Calif., was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 39th round.
Wiggins and Rodriguez are expected to attend Arkansas.
Only one other high school player from Arkansas was taken Saturday. Right-handed pitcher Eric White of Parkers Chapel, was taken in the 32nd round, the 956th pick overall by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Six players from other colleges in Arkansas were draft Saturday, including two right-handed pitchers from Ouachita Baptist. The Baltimore Orioles took Keegan Ghidotti in the 38th round with the 1,141st pick, and the St. Louis Cardinals took David Ward in the 40th round with the final pick -- No. 1,215 -- of the draft.
The Orioles also took UALR shortstop Austin Pfeiffer in the 27th round with pick No. 811, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Isias Alcantar -- who played shortstop for the Golden Lions but is projected as a catcher in the pros -- went to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 36th round with the No. 1,087 pick.
Hendrix University center fielder Collin Radack went to the Cardinals in the 20th round, the No. 615 pick overall, and the Los Angeles Dodgers took Arkansas Tech right-hander Ryan Taylor in the 13th round with the 399th selection.
Sports on 06/08/2014