FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitcher Colby Suggs wasn’t drafted out of high school.
So the Sulphur Springs, Texas, native’s nervousness as the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft to arrive is understandable. It’s his first experience after all.
“I’m getting pretty anxious about it, just seeing what team I’m going to go to, where I’m going to go,” Suggs said. “But at the same time, I’ve done all the work I can do so far. It’s just up to the teams now and whether they like me or not.”
Suggs shouldn’t have to wait too long after capping a solid college career. He is projected as a top 100 prospect by Baseball America for this week’s draft after two solid seasons as a reliever and closer with the nation’s top pitching staff.
Suggs set Arkansas school record for saves this season (13) and for fewest runs allowed in an inning in 2011 (six runs in 39 innings). The right-hander was a valuable part of the nation’s top pitching staff in 2013 and said the accomplishments mean plenty as he moves closer to a pro baseball career.
“I feel like ever since my freshman year I’ve gotten better and better and have grown up, matured,” Suggs said. “I have a better feel for my body and what it’s doing. As far as this year, individually, I went out early this year and wanted to set the saves record. So to be able to accomplish that and break a record here and have my name in the Arkansas Razorback history books, that’s really cool.”
Suggs wouldn’t even guess what round he’ll be selected tonight.
He may not have any personal experience with it, but Suggs knows it can be unpredictable. Suggs mentioned former teammate D.J. Baxendale, who slid to the 10th round last year and already has climbed to the Double-A level.
Suggs said teams do like his character and the fact he’s a “bulldog” on the mound.
He’ll find out if it pays as he prepares to take the next step in his pitching career.
“It’s exciting and it makes me a little nervous at the same time,” Suggs said about beginning professional baseball. “I’ve been around the same guys for the past three years. I know my team. And just to go out there to a new setting and not really know anybody, it kind of makes me a little nervous. But at the same time I know that I’m a pretty likeable guy so people are going to enjoy being around me.”
Spoon earns honor
Arkansas outfielder Tyler Spoon was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team.
The Van Buren native earned the honor after hitting .288 with a team-high 49 RBIs as a redshirt freshman. He also shared the team lead in home runs (four) and hits (68) and was third on the team in stolen bases (seven).
Spoon was the only Arkansas player to start every game of the 2013 season. He will be one of Arkansas’ top returning offensive players in 2014, joining a group that includes outfielders Brian Anderson and Joe Serrano, shortstop Brett McAfee, first baseman Eric Fisher and second baseman Jordan Farris.
Spoon also became the 17th Razorback to earn freshman All-America honors. He’s the first honored since Barrett Astin, Dominic Ficociello and Nolan Sanburn in 2011.
Wise needs Tommy John
Arkansas catcher Jake Wise said he’ll have to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Wise didn’t start the Razorbacks’ final two games of the Manhattan (Kan.) Regional because of tenderness in his right elbow. Two days later, the junior wrote “Well Tommy John here I come #roadtorecovery” on his Twitter page.
Wise hit .212 with three home runs and 23 RBI as a junior. He started 52 of Arkansas’ 61 games behind the plate. The Houston native is eligible for this week’s MLB Draft, but it’s not clear if Tommy John surgery will hurt his status or alter his plans for 2014.
Conference schedule released
The Arkansas baseball team’s 2013 season ended in Manhattan, Kan. But the Razorbacks already what type of conference schedule they’ll have to navigate to get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
The Southeastern Conference released its 2014 baseball schedule late last week. The Razorbacks will open conference play with a series at Florida from March 14-16 and end the 30-game schedule at Missouri from May 15-17.
Arkansas also will go on the road to play at Mississippi State (March 28-30), LSU (April 11-13) and Ole Miss (May 2-4). Its five home series are against Alabama (March 21-23), South Carolina (April 4-6), Vanderbilt (April 18-20), Auburn (April 25-27) and Texas A&M (May 9-11).
Arkansas did not play Vanderbilt, Florida or Missouri last season. Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia are not on the 2014 schedule after playing the Hogs in 2013.
The nonconference portion of the 2014 schedule will be released at a later date.