FAYETTEVILLE, Arche. – The second-highest number of selections in the 2021 MLB Draft currently belongs to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Six Hogs heard their names on day two of the MLB freshman draft, which featured rounds 2-10. Pitcher Kevin Kopps, 2021 Dick Howser Trophy winner and current Golden Spikes Award finalist, has paved the way for Arkansas with its third round selection (No.99 overall) by the San Diego Padres.
As the most dominant pitcher in college baseball, Kopps ended the 2021 campaign with a 12-1 record and 11 saves. He posted the weakest ERA (0.90) and WHIP (0.76) in the country, retiring 131 in 89 2/3 innings of work. The opposing hitters were averaging 0.162 against the right-hander, who set the program’s single-season record for ERA in his historic year.
Outfielder Christian Franklin went to the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round (No. 123 overall) before pitcher Ryan Costeiu was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels in the seventh round (No. 201 overall). Receiver Casey Opitz and pitcher Patrick Wicklander were selected in the eighth round by the Cubs (No. 244 overall) and Tampa Bay Rays (No. 251 overall), respectively.
Franklin is heading to the Cubs’ organization after slashing .274 / .420 / .544 with 13 homers and 54 RBIs in the 2021 campaign. The outfielder also had 15 doubles and two triples, scoring the top 11 bases. of the year while playing an elite defense in the center.
Costeiu, meanwhile, struck out 40 in 30.0 innings of work from the relieving box last season. The right-hander, who made 26 appearances and posted an 8-3 record, kept opposing hitters at a batting average of .198.
Opitz will join Franklin with the Cubs organization after slashing 0.257 / 0.367 / 0.346 in 2021. The Razorback captain hit two home runs and scored 18 points while providing solid defense behind the plate.
Wicklander became the Razorbacks’ No. 1 starter after starting the year away from the bullpen. The southpaw, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the season, finished with a 7-1 record and a 2.09 ERA in 77 2/3 innings of work, hitting 85 batters while limiting batters. opponents at an average of 0.226.
Pitcher Lael Lockhart completed Monday’s Razorback rookie draw. The southpaw was picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth round with the No. 282 pick overall.
Lockhart, a transfer graduate from Houston, was the Arkansas regular on Sunday last season, going 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA. The southpaw struck out 68 holds in 58.1 innings and missed the first perfect game in program history against Georgia in the SEC tournament.
The Hogs had four pitchers selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft for just the second time in program history. Arkansas also achieved the feat in the 2019 Draft when Isaiah Campbell (CBB, No. 76 overall – Seattle Mariners), Matt Cronin (fourth round, No. 123 overall – Washington Nationals), Jacob Kostyshock (eighth round , No. 249 overall – Colorado Rockies) and Cody Scroggins (ninth round, 287th overall – Boston Red Sox) all made the first 10 rounds.
In the first two days of the 2021 MLB Draft, three Razorback signers were selected, including one in the first round yesterday. Infielder Max Muncy was drafted by the Oakland Athletics (first round, 25th overall) on Sunday ahead of infielder Jordan Viars (third round, 84th overall – Philadelphia Phillies) and pitcher / thief. Drew Gray (third round, 93rd overall – Chicago Cubs) heard their names called on Monday.
The MLB Draft ends with rounds 11-20 tomorrow, starting at 11 a.m. CT with no delay between selections.
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