FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Junior right-handed pitcher Blaine Knight was the first Razorback taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft Tuesday afternoon when he was selected in the third round, No. 87 overall, by the Baltimore Orioles.
Knight is the 14th Razorback to be taken in the draft’s first three rounds since 2010 and the fifth pitcher since 2013. Pitcher Trevor Stephan went in the third round to the New York Yankees last year as the 92nd overall pick.
With Knight’s selection, Arkansas has had at least one player picked in each of the past 44 MLB Drafts dating back to 1975.
Knight was selected in last year’s draft as a sophomore by the Texas Rangers (29th, No. 884), but elected to come back to Fayetteville for his third year and has had a career year as the Hogs’ ace.
Cole Goes To Royals In Fourth Round Of MLB Draft
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Junior outfielder Eric Cole was the second Razorback taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft Tuesday afternoon when he was selected in the fourth round, No. 122 overall, by the Kansas City Royals.
Cole is the first Razorback outfielder selected in the draft since Clark Eagan was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016 and first in the fourth round or higher since Andrew Benintendi went to Boston in the first round in 2015.
The Southlake, Texas native has had a career year for the Razorbacks, hitting .328 in 60 games, good for fourth on the team. Of his 81 hits, 26 are for extra bases, including 12 doubles and 13 home runs. The home runs are a career-high and tie for the most among all Razorback hitters.
Koch Taken By Pirates In Fifth Round
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior catcher Grant Koch was the third Razorback taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as he was selected in the fifth round, 144th overall, by the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday afternoon.
Koch becomes the 18th Arkansas catcher to be drafted and the first since James McCann was taken in the second round by the Detroit Tigers in 2011. With Koch’s selection, the Razorbacks have had three or more players drafted in the first five rounds of the MLB Draft for the fourth time in program history, joining the years of 2007, 2010 and 2013.
The Fayetteville, Arkansas native was stellar behind the plate in 2018, recording 433 putouts with a .998 fielding percentage, with just one error on the year, while starting 53 games for the Hogs. Koch was errorless in league play this season, earning a nod on the Southeastern Conference’s All-Defensive Team.
Biggers Selected In Eighth Round By Texas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior infielder Jax Biggers was the fourth Razorback taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as he was selected in the eighth round, 239th overall, by the Texas Rangers Tuesday afternoon.
Biggers becomes the 13th shortstop in school history to be selected in the draft and first since Michael Bernal went to the Giants in 2016. With Biggers’ selection, it marks the second-straight season the Razorbacks have had four or more players drafted in the first 10 rounds and fourth time since 2000.
The Missouri City, Texas native has received high marks since taking over the shortstop position for the Razorbacks last year after transferring in from Cisco Junior College. Last year, Biggers hit .338, which led all Arkansas hitters and shortstops in the SEC. It was also the highest batting average by a Razorback shortstop since Scott Hode hit .309 in 2005.
Shaddy Taken By Nationals In 10th Round Of Draft
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior infielder Carson Shaddy was the fifth Razorback taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as he was selected in the 10th round, 311th overall, by the Washington Nationals Tuesday afternoon.
Shaddy is the fifth Razorback selected on the draft’s second day and the second infielder. He joins Blaine Knight, Eric Cole, Grant Koch, and Jax Biggers as the other Arkansas selections today. With his selection, Shaddy also joins the rank of his father and former Razorback infielder Chris Shaddy, who was selected in the eighth round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1982 MLB Draft.
Shaddy has had quite the career at Arkansas since arriving in 2014 from nearby Fayetteville High School. Shaddy redshirted his true freshman year and then was the Hogs’ primary catcher at the tail end of the 2015 season which ended in a trip to the College World Series. He hit .337 that year, second highest on the team in 44 games, including 14 starts as a catcher and an outfielder.