Astin is second on the Razorbacks' all-time saves list after recording 15 saves in his career, including 11 saves as Arkansas' closer in 2012. He also started 14 games in 2013 as he recorded a career-low 1.79 earned run average as the Friday night starter for all but one conference series.
Astin said his versatility as a pitcher was one of the reasons the Milwaukee Brewers elected to take the junior right-hander with the 90th overall pick in the third round of the 2013 MLB draft.
"This morning, that was one of the big things coming into the draft that I can come out of the bullpen and I can start," Astin said. "That's the way the Brewers saw me and that's the way they are going to take me."
One of Astin's teammates in his time at Arkansas, the school's single-season saves record holder Colby Suggs, said Astin's confidence paired with that versatility is what makes him a good pick by the Brewers.
"They're going to be getting a great pitcher who can start or relieve," Suggs said of Astin. "He's very versatile and he's cool as can be when he's on the mound, too. Nothing bothers him. He's a really good friend of mine. We've been together three years now and I've seen him work through everything. He doesn't show a lot of emotion, but you know that he's going to get the job done."
Astin said he had a chance of being drafted late Thursday with Suggs and the Tampa Bay Rays' first-round pick, Ryne Stanek. But when that did not work out, he started making phone calls. Astin, like Suggs, was not drafted out of high school and he said he was glad to finally have his personal draft day experience.
"Going into the draft at all is exciting, he said. "I didn't even get drafted out of high school and it is something I have been working on for three years. I am excited for it. It just goes to show that hard work pays off. For all the recruits coming here you come to college because you know you can get better and develop. That's why coaches recruit you.
"They know you can get better and they want to win a championship. I came to college so I could get better and we won a couple of championships and that's what it's about."
Despite his 1.79 ERA in his junior season, which he pitched almost exclusively as a starter, he only had a 4-4 record. Astin earned one save early in the season, but started his first conference game in Columbia, S.C., during the Razorbacks' second conference series and lasting as a starter through the end of the year.
In his last three starts, the Forrest City native allowed just one earned run, but the Razorbacks were only able to score a combined three runs in those games as Astin took a loss and two no-decisions. He said he was confident his record did not hurt his draft stock, however.
"These guys are professionals," he said. "They know what your record is about. When you pitch, it's not about your record. It's about first-pitch strikes, ground ball outs, getting ahead in the count and ERA. Other than that, a record really doesn't matter. It says about your team, but not about your pitch ability."
Even though Astin did not receive much offensive help at times this season and he switched from bullpen to starter roles a few times throughout his career, he listed his decision to play at Arkansas as one of his best ones.
"I mean, it's probably the best life choice I've ever made besides accepting Christ," Astin said. "That's why I came to college. You come to college to find out who you are. I came to college to develop as a young man and as a pitcher and that's what I did. I looked forward to it coming out of high school. I just wanted to come here and work hard and figure myself out and earn my way towards a degree. That's what I did and I enjoyed it."
Despite having three junior pitchers selected within the first 90 picks of the MLB draft, Astin said the Razorbacks will continue to compete for the opportunity to make it to the College World Series, whether he elects to sign with the Brewers or not.
"I mean, it's a dynasty. It's one of the best programs in the country with the greatest coaches in the country," Astin said. "They're going to be fine.
"There's a chance I can come back, and if I do, it'll be good, because this is a great program. There are a lot of great players here that already are in the program, and there are a lot of great ones coming in. They'll be fine and they'll compete for a national title every year."