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2012 Arkansas baseball preview – Outfield

BY ANDRES FOCIL
2012 Arkansas baseball preview – Outfield

This is the second of a three-part series previewing the 2012 Arkansas baseball team. Today’s story previews the Razorback outfield. Part three, which will be posted next Tuesday, takes a look at the Arkansas pitching staff. In the outfield, the Arkansas baseball team will have to replace all three everyday starters from the 2011 team. Each of the outfield regulars for the Razorbacks from last season were drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft. Collin Kuhn and Kyle Robinson were each drafted by the Chicago White Sox with Kuhn going in the 17th round and Robinson in the 28th round. Jarrod McKinney was a 31st round selection of the Houston Astros. One returner who saw time in the outfield last season and is expected to compete for a starting spot in 2012 is junior Matt Vinson. Vinson, who has had starting assignments each of his first two years as a Razorback has played in 73 games with 45 starts through his first two seasons. In 2011, Vinson played in 27 games, including 22 starts, and hit .221 with two homers and eight RBI. Another returning outfielder who saw time as a starter last season is redshirt sophomore Jacob Morris. Morris battled injuries for much of 2011, but saw time in 23 games and made 18 starts. A 35th round selection of the Washington Nationals in the 2009 MLB Draft, Morris finished his redshirt freshman season with a .194 batting average with five RBI and 14 runs scored. Senior Sam Bates also returns for the Razorbacks in 2012 and is a candidate to start at one of the corner outfield positions. Bates, who transferred to Arkansas from Crowder Junior College, played in 25 games and made 19 starts in his first season with UA in 2011. A 39th round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2010, Bates hit .237 with seven RBI last season. He missed the last few weeks of the season due to an illness. Three newcomers are also expected to vie for time in the outfield. Jimmy Bosco, who sat out last season after transferring from the University of California, is one newcomer that is expected to play in the outfield. In his one season at Cal, Bosco played in 36 games, including 33 starts, and hit .321 with five home runs and 20 RBI. He led the Golden Bears with a .430 on-base percentage. Junior college transfer Derrick Bleeker is also expected to play in the outfield. A transfer from Howard Junior College, Bleeker is starting his second stint with the Razorbacks in 2012. As a freshman for Arkansas in 2010, Bleeker hit .267 with a homer and three RBI in 12 games played. Last season at Howard Junior College, Bleeker played in 31 games and hit .318 with four homers, 19 RBI and 16 runs scored. True freshman Joe Serrano is a third newcomer that is likely to play in the outfield in 2012. Serrano, who was a first-team 2011 Louisville Slugger High School All-American, finished his senior season with a .541 batting average with 11 home runs, 69 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Serrano was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 12th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Arkansas opens the 2012 season on Friday, February 17, at 3:05 p.m. against Villanova at Baum Stadium. Season tickets for Arkansas’ 36-game home schedule are now on sale. Season tickets are $190 for adults and $140 for University of Arkansas staff, youth and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647) or by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Baseball