FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said he wouldn’t be glued to his television watching the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft this week.
It’s a good thing he wasn’t paying attention Thursday night.
No Arkansas players or signees were selected during the first two rounds of the 2014 MLB Draft, producing an unusual night for the Hogs. It was the first time since 2009 no Arkansas player was selected in the top two rounds. It also was the first time since 2005 no Arkansas player or signee was picked in the top two rounds.
Arkansas pitcher Chris Oliver was regarded as the team’s top draft prospect after entering the draft rated as the 48th-best prospect according to MLB.com and No. 66 by Baseball America. But the hard-throwing right-hander, who went 9-4 last season, will have to wait until at least the third round before being selected.
The 20-year-old Oliver entered the three-day draft with a scar after an off-the-field incident early Tuesday. Oliver was arrested for driving while intoxicated after being pulled over for making an improper turn. He has a July 11 court date.
Van Horn said Wednesday he received a few phone calls regarding Oliver’s arrest, but didn’t think the incident would have a significant affect on his draft status.
“Everybody makes a mistake and I am sure that’s the way Major League baseball will look at it,” Van Horn said Wednesday morning. “They know that he doesn’t have issues. They just know that he made a mistake.”
Arkansas has had at least one player selected in the top two rounds of the draft each season since 2010. The streak began that year when Zack Cox, Brett Eibner and Drew Smyly were all picked in the top two rounds. James McCann (2011), Matt Reynolds (2012), Nolan Sanburn (2012), Ryne Stanek (2013) and Colby Suggs (2013) were each pulled off the board in the first two rounds the next three seasons.
Oliver will have plenty of company waiting for the draft call Friday.
Several other Razorbacks and members of Arkansas’ 2014 signing class are expected to be taken over the next two days. Rounds 3 through 10 will be held Friday, while Rounds 11 through 40 will take place Saturday.
The list includes Arkansas second baseman Brian Anderson, pitcher Jalen Beeks, first baseman Eric Fisher and reliever Michael Gunn.
So, too, are signees like right-handed pitcher Keaton McKinney (No. 89 prospect by MLB.com and No. 80 by Baseball America), outfielder Luke Bonfield (No. 168 by MLB.com and No. 187 by Baseball America), catcher Nathan Rodriguez (No. 176 by Baseball America), pitcher Sam Hentges (No. 213 by Baseball America) and pitcher Jonah Patten (No. 451 by Baseball America).
Aside from Oliver, Anderson (rated No. 121 by MLB.com) is regarded as the most attractive draft prospect on Arkansas’ roster after leading the Razorbacks at the plate. Anderson hit .328 with seven home runs and 51 RBIs in 2014.
“There’s a lot of potential there, filling out,” Van Horn said Wednesday. “He has all the tools that you’re looking for. Brian’s just hard on himself. Maybe in pro ball he’ll relax a little bit and just play every day.”