Franklin, Opitz, other Razorbacks sign pro contracts

By: Bob Holt
Published: Friday, July 16, 2021
Arkansas center fielder Christian Franklin runs the bases after hitting a home run during a game against Tennessee on Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Photo courtesy Tennessee Athletics)
Arkansas center fielder Christian Franklin runs the bases after hitting a home run during a game against Tennessee on Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Photo courtesy Tennessee Athletics)

University of Arkansas center fielder Christian Franklin has signed with the Chicago Cubs for a $425,000 bonus, MLB.com writer Jim Callis reported Friday.

Franklin, a junior who started the previous two seasons, was a fourth-round pick by the Cubs on Monday in the MLB Draft and No. 123 overall.

In 61 games this season, Franklin batted .274 with 13 home runs, 15 doubles, 2 triples and 54 runs batted in. He also drew 44 walks, scored 55 runs and stole 11 bases in 14 attempts.

Franklin was voted by SEC coaches to the conference's All-Defensive Team and also was a second-team All-SEC pick in the outfield.

Callis also reported that Razorbacks catcher Casey Opitz signed with the Cubs on Friday for a $90,000 bonus. He was an eighth-round draft pick and went No. 244 overall.

A three-year starter for Arkansas whom the coaches trusted to call almost every pitch, Opitz batted .257 last season with 2 home runs, 9 doubles and 18 runs batted in. He drew 33 walks, which helped him have a .367 on-base percentage.

Opitz also was perfect on six stolen base attempts and threw out 11 of 32 runners attempting to steal.

Drew Gray, a left-handed pitcher and Arkansas signee, signed with the Cubs for $900,000, according to Callis, and pitcher Caden Monke signed with the Kansas City Royals for $125,000.

Carlos Collazo, who covers the MLB Draft for Baseball America, reported Razorbacks left hander Lael Lockhart signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2,500. The slot value for the 282nd overall pick is $149,800.

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