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Seven Razorbacks taken on day two

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Seven Razorbacks taken on day two

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The second day of the 2010 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft saw six Arkansas baseball players taken between rounds two and 22 headlined by Brett Eibner and Drew Smyly who were each selected in the second round. Along with Arkansas’ six current players, four Razorback recruits have also been taken over the first two days of the draft.

Along with Eibner and Smyly, Andy Wilkins, Mike Bolsinger, Collin Kuhn, Jordan Pratt and Jeremy Heatley were also drafted on Tuesday bringing Arkansas’ total to seven, the most since nine Razorbacks were plucked from the 2007 squad and the tied for the fourth most in Arkansas history. It should be noted that there is still one more complete day of the draft on Wednesday and the 2010 Razorbacks could challenge Arkansas’ record of 10 draftees from the 1985 season.

Following Zack Cox, who went in the first round to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, Eibner was the fourth person selected on Tuesday, going to the Kansas City Royals with the 54th overall pick. Eibner, widely considered one of the best two-way talents in the draft, was selected as an outfielder by the Royals. Eibner has had a breakout season at the plate, ranking among the nation’s leaders in home runs with 21, while also hitting for average at .337. His 41 career home runs ranks fourth on Arkansas’ all-time list and to go along with his raw power at the plate, Eibner has played sterling defense in center field. His second-round draft position improves upon his fourth-round selection in the 2007 draft by the Houston Astros.

Smyly was not far behind his teammate, going 14 picks later to the Detroit Tigers as the 68th overall pick. Arkansas’ Friday night starter this season, Smyly is 9-1 on the year and 12-2 in two seasons as a starter and spot reliever. This season, his 2.56 earned run average is among the best in the Southeastern Conference and he became just the sixth pitcher in Arkansas history to strike out 100 batters in a season. Undrafted out of Central High School in Little Rock, Smyly has been a mainstay in the Arkansas rotation since joining the staff in 2009 after a redshirt year.

In the fifth round of the draft, junior Andy Wilkins was selected with the 158th pick by the Chicago White Sox. A power hitting first baseman, Wilkins has been on scout’s radar for several years and helped himself with a solid summer as a member of Team USA (Collegiate) last summer. A career .305 hitter with 42 home runs, Wilkins was drafted as a first baseman, but can also play third making him an attractive utility player. This is Wilkins’ second time drafted as he was taken in 2007 by the Texas Rangers in the 25th round with the 770th pick.

Like the second round, a pair of Hogs was taken in the 15th as senior pitcher Bolsinger and sophomore left fielder Kuhn each had their names called. Bolsinger was selected with the 451st pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks while Kuhn was called on by the Detroit Tigers at 463rd. Bolsinger was picked up for the third time by a major league club, going in the 34th round in 2006 and in the 33rd last season. Kuhn, the Fayetteville Regional Most Outstanding Player was drafted for the first time.

Thirty picks later, the Tigers selected their third Razorback with the selection of Pratt. In 23 appearances this season, Pratt is 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA with two saves. Rounding out Arkansas’ current players in the draft was the senior Heatley who went in the 22nd round of the draft to the Florida Marlins. Heatley was previously drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2008. This season, the right-handed senior is 5-0, working primarily out of the bullpen.

Arkansas’ recruiting class was also high on the Major League draft boards over the course of the first two days. Justin O’Connor from Indiana was selected in the first round by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 31st overall pick. Ryne Stanek, a right-handed pitcher from Overland Park, Kan., was taken in the third round with the 99th pick by the Seattle Mariners. Jared Lakind, of Cypress Woods, Texas, and Dominic Ficociello of Fullerton, Calif., were each taken in the 23rd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers, respectively.



Sports Category : Baseball