Which future Arkansas baseball players could be selected in the MLB draft?
The 2022 MLB Draft is almost here, and while Arkansas baseball will have many current players drafted, the Razorbacks will also see new talent drafted when the event begins on Sunday.
Arkansas has 17 high school players in its 2022 recruiting class, plus another 15 from junior college and the NCAA transfer portal. A handful of these newcomers could be selected into the MLB draft and sign professional agreements rather than come to campus.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said last week that the timing of this year’s MLB draft is tough on the college programs. Teams won’t know who will be on campus until early August, just before the semester begins.
“(MLB owners) think it’s cool to have the draft during the All-Star Game,” Van Horn said. “Have the draft (earlier), let us get to work, get our rosters right, treat the kids right, give those who can’t come more time to find a place to play.”
Van Horn and his team will have to wait and see which incoming Razorbacks are selected in the draft. Here’s who could end up in the minor leagues instead of Baum-Walker Stadium.
‘IT’S A JOKE’:Why Arkansas’ Dave Van Horn said the MLB draft date was bad for college baseball
TRANSFER TRACKING:Who’s leaving, joining Arkansas baseball through the NCAA transfer portal?
Jones is the highest-ranked rookie in Arkansas’ Class of 2022, ranking 35th in the Perfect Game rankings. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound infielder from Savannah, Texas is known for his hard hitting. He won the home run derby at the Baseball Factory All-America Game in September and impressed at the MLB Draft Combine with four bombs over 400 feet. MLB.com ranks him 152nd among draft prospects.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound southpaw from Las Vegas is one of Arkansas’ top high school commitments. MLB.com ranks Neville 102nd among draft prospects, and analysts liken him to a younger version of Dodgers star Cody Bellinger. He was also a pitcher, with a fastball in the upper 80s to lower 90s.
As MLB.com’s 62nd-ranked prospect in the draft, Phillips could be selected in one of the first two rounds. He had Tommy John surgery in April, but scouts were impressed enough that his stock didn’t drop much. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect from Boerne, Texas has hit triple-digit speed on his fastball this season.
AFTER:Five predictions for Arkansas Razorback football, basketball, softball and more in 2022-23
Sprinkle has agreed to transfer from California-Santa Barbara to Arkansas in July. At 5-11 and 180 pounds, Sprinkle is slightly undersized. But a breakout season in 2021 in which he was named Co-Big West Freshman of the Year, a third-team All-American, and a USA Baseball Collegiate National Team selection. His offense slowed some in 2022, when he pared .285/.381/.416. Sprinkle is the No. 140 prospect in this year’s draft by MLB.com.