Hogs Watch Draft on Friday

Dave Van Horn

Who goes in the major league draft among players not yet on campus? It will impact the Arkansas 2015 season. Can the Hogs get Keaton McKinney and Luke Bonfield to school?

Dave Van Horn is set to make a recruiting trip to Oklahoma on Friday, the day of the Major League Draft. It's better than sitting in the office and fretting about what MLB is doing to his 2015 signing class.

"I'll know," he said. "I'll get calls, but I'm going to be outside somewhere.

"I am not going to sit around and watch my computer or listen to it. I am just going to work and try to find some players for the future. But it's very nerve-wracking. Make or break."

The questions on Wednesday were clear. How high will Iowa pitcher Keaton McKinney go in the draft? How about outfielder Luke Bonfield from New Jersey?

And, what about catcher Nathan Rodriguez from California, a star Van Horn has had committed for almost three years? What are the Hogs chances with third baseman Blake Wiggins from Little Rock?

All of those could make it to school. Van Horn went through those stars. Here are his thoughts:

McKinney -- "I think that Keaton McKinney (RHP) he's ranked like in the 70s. There are a bunch of good pitchers this year. Keaton McKinney is a very, very good student. If we could keep him, that would be huge. He's a 92, 93 mile an hour kid out of high school with a big-time changeup. What keeps him from going higher is he has just an OK breaking ball. He wants a lot of money. He could get it. Depends on who drafts him. But if he doesn't go in the top two rounds, there's a chance we could get him. We'll probably know now early on Friday. Then we have a left-handed pitcher out of Minnesota named (Sam) Hentges. He's about 6-6. He's the No. 1 player in Minnesota. He's a guy that we desperately want. If he goes in the first three rounds, he'll sign. If he doesn't, I think we've got a good shot at keeping him. So we'll be keeping an eye on that one, too. If we keep one of those two guys, it will be big."

Bonfield -- "Rated as one of the top hitters coming out of high school in the country. Out of New Jersey. Corner outfielder guy. Left fielder, dime a dozen defensively. If he was a left-handed guy he'd be gone. He's still going get … he'll go in the top 10 rounds. Our conversation with him is, if you want to sign, you'll get to sign. It's going to be up to you. You'll get the money that you want. I don't know what he wants exactly. Sometimes there's a gray area there. do you want to come to school or not? Do I think we're going to get him? 50-50, maybe."

Wiggins -- "I think we're going to keep Blake. He has a lot of power, very offensive kid. He started out as a young player when we first committed him three years ago, he was a shortstop. Well, his body changed, he's bigger. He's really gotten himself in very good shape now. He's worked out at catcher. I see him more as a third baseman. He's got a shot at playing right away at third. Third or first. But probably third. We'll still work with him at catcher. If he wants to try to do that for down the road, professional stuff - and he may end up being a great catcher. I haven't seen him catch but one time. but he's a guy that, you know, I don't know where he's going to go. Unless there's one team or something I don't know about that's planning on taking him at a certain spot. But he's one we're definitely keeping an eye on."

Rodriguez -- "We've signed a big-time catcher out of Southern California that's ranked like 181. He claims he's coming to school. Fullerton and Arizona were highly upset when he picked Arkansas. I committed him two and a half years ago and have been working on him ever since. And I'll be on the phone with him again tonight. I mean, so, no, that position will be wide open. So, it's going to be a battle. We've got a couple of other kids coming in. We've got a kid coming in out of Fort Smith that's a catcher/outfielder who's a great athlete. So it's going to be wide open at the catcher position."

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