Diamond Hogs Get Good News from MLB Draft

Arkansas gets good news from the MLB Draft as several signees - pitcher Keaton McKinney, outfielder Luke Bonfield, third baseball Blake Wiggins and catcher Nathan Rodriguez - all get taken later than expected and are now expected to play for the Razorbacks.

It looks like Arkansas' baseball team is going to get a big-time talent infusion next season.

The Razorbacks were worried about several of their signees, but only one – Cincinnati Reds fourth-round draft choice and pitcher Sam Hengtes - got taken in the early rounds despite as many as five who they thought likely would be.

The New York Mets took Ankenny, Iowa, pitcher Keaton McKinney (6-5, 230) in the 28th round despite the fact that he was rated a top 100 draft prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America.

McKinney, who hit a walk-off two-run homer on Friday and has a fast ball that touches 93 miles per hour, quickly tweeted out his intention to come to Arkansas. "Excited to spend my next 3 years as a Razorback! Expect big things. #WPS #omahogs"

McKinney also talked about his goal after he comes to Arkansas.

"I'm not really worried about not signing," McKinney told The Des Moines Register. "I can't wait to get (to Arkansas) and make a run for the College World Series. I believe that I will be a first-rounder in three years out of Arkansas."

The Mets also took New Jersey outfielder Luke Bonfield – who played his senior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. in the 20th round and he also made his intentions clear via twitter.

"Cool to get drafted by Home town team, but it's gonna take a lot for me not to attend Arkansas at this point," Bonfield tweeted. "We will see what happens."

Two other Arkansas signees that were drafted and are now expected to be playing for the Razorbacks next season are Pulaski Academy's Blake Wiggins (36th round by the Phillies and California prep catcher Nathan Rodriguez (39th round by the Colorado Rockies).

Current Razorback Tyler Spoon was taken by the Oakland As in the 36th round and is expected to return.

Arkansas players that were drafted and expected to turn pro are second baseman Brian Anderson (3rd round by the Miami Marlins), pitchers Chris Oliver (4th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, Jalen Beeks (12th round by the Boston Red Sox) and Michael Gunn (16th round by the Boston Red Sox) and first baseman Eric Fisher (17th round by the Miami Marlins).

Oliver was arrested earlier this week and charged with DWI. "I knew from the mistake I made that I would slide a little bit, but I was fortunate enough to reach terms with the Phillies and after we had that locked in it was pretty emotional," Oliver said. " I'm excited for the opportunity to be with the Phillies and keep chasing by dreams."

Oliver talked about what he will miss most about Arkansas.

"I think the thing I'm going to miss the most about Arkansas is the fans," Oliver said. "Having a packed house every weekend and the atmosphere Baum Stadium has under the lights is incredible. The camaraderie that comes from being a Razorback and all the people you meet and the teammates you have is something I will never forget. A lot of great guys come through that program and I was lucky to a part of it."

Keaton McKinney

Luke Bonfield

Nathan Rodriguez

Blake Wiggins

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