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Arkansas Baseball 2023 Lineup Projection: No. 1 - Tavian Josenberger

Arkansas CF Tavian Josenberger rounds third during the fall season.
Arkansas CF Tavian Josenberger rounds third during the fall season. (Arkansas Athletics)


We are 17 days away from Arkansas baseball, and it's time for HawgBeat to begin its lineup preview series for the 2023 Diamond Hogs.

The Hogs will return just two starters from last year's lineup, so fans will soon become familiar with all of the new faces.

With scrimmage coverage, weekly notebooks, position previews, the Diamond Hawgs Podcast and more, HawgBeat provides the best Arkansas baseball coverage around.

We begin things with the leadoff spot, which Kansas transfer Tavian Josenberger is projected to fill...


#12 - Tavian Josenberger - CF

Jr. | S/R | 6-0 | 185

Kansas City, Mo. / Park Hill HS / Kansas

2022 (Kansas): 52 games, .276/.357/.386, 13 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 25 BB/33 K, 11 SB

Starting off with a likely unfamiliar face for Arkansas fans, Josenberger is in prime position to be the leadoff man for the Diamond Hogs this season.

A transfer from Kansas, Josenberger slashed .316/.392/.413 as a sophomore for the Jayhawks in 2022, but back issues lingered for him. Even still, he managed to have the fourth best batting average on the team.

Josenberger played in center as a freshman at Kansas, but he was the team's starting second baseman last year. He told reporters in the fall that he had the idea that he was recruited to Arkansas to play in the outfield, and that certainly seems to be the case.

"I really didn't care," Josenberger said. "(Dave Van Horn) told me if I was the best centerfielder, I'd play centerfield. If I was the best second baseman, I would play second base. I kind of had the idea that I was coming here to play outfield. I really just want to get on the field, so wherever I'm needed, I'll play."

With the departure of starting center fielder Braydon Webb, who was out of eligibility, the Hogs needed to continue their long streak of talented center fielders. As of now, it seems like Josenberger is in a good position to do so.

Van Horn said that Josenberger has been a well-respected leader in the locker room, and sophomore second baseman Peyton Stovall echoed that sentiment.

"Tavian’s really taken it to another level as being a leader for a team he’s never played for," Stovall said. "He leads by example a lot, more than he does talking, and I’m excited for him. I think he’s going to have a really great year for us and with the speed that he has and being able to hit from both sides, he’s a perfect prototypical leadoff batter."

Arkansas also lost a great on-base player in Zack Gregory, who transferred to Grand Canyon University after last season. The Hogs won't miss a beat in that category, and they likely have a better option for that role in Josenberger.

"He’s going to see a bunch of pitches," Stovall said. "We haven’t seen pitching since the fall and first at bat he goes in there today and had an 11-pitch at bat. It was insane. He stepped up in that leadership role and I’m looking forward to watching him on the field this year."

As a sophomore at Kansas in 2022, Josenberger had a team-best 23-game on-base streak. He also added a 12-game hitting streak and had 15 multi-hit games.

As a freshman, Josenberger had team-highs with a 29-game on-base streak and a 24-game hitting streak.

Having someone who can get on base at a high rate like Josenberger in the leadoff spot will be very valuable for Arkansas, who struggled to find a consistent answer at leadoff last year.

As a leadoff hitter in the Diamond Hogs' fall season, Josenberger led the team with 18 runs, eight walks, a .522 on-base percentage and a 1.306 OPS in scrimmages attended by HawgBeat. He also added 15 hits, five doubles, seven RBIs and struck out 11 times.

Josenberger smacked a three-run homer 364 feet to the opposite field in the Oct. 14 exhibition against the Texas Rangers Instructional League team. The switch-hitting native of Kansas City, Missouri, said hitting the ball out of the park is something he's worked on, but it's not a mindset when he steps to the plate.

"I've been working on it a little bit," Josenberger said after that exhibition. "I wouldn't say I go up there trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark."

Another attribute that Josenberger brings to the Hogs is his ability to steal bases. He stole 11 bases in each of his two seasons at Kansas, and that would've been tied for second on the Razorbacks last season.

Though Josenberger is capable of stealing bases, Van Horn said he is just looking for smart base running from his team as a whole.

"It’s not all about stealing bases," Van Horn said. "It’s about going from first to third on a hard single to center right in the center fielder’s face, and making him throw the ball to third base and you’re safe and the runner slides into second.

"It’s about that type of baseball and not being stupid and running ourselves out of innings, and stealing when we need to, and just seeing what the other team’s giving us and then being able to take advantage of it. That’s a good baserunning team, and that’s what I’m looking for."

Josenberger and the Diamond Hogs will get started with their season on Feb. 17 against the Texas Longhorns in the College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field in Arlington Texas.

HawgBeat's Lineup Breakdown Series

1. #12 - Tavian Josenberger - CF (today)

2. (Wednesday, Feb. 1)

3. (Thursday, Feb. 2)

4. (Friday, Feb. 3)

5. (Saturday, Feb. 4)

6. (Sunday, Feb. 5)

7. (Monday, Feb. 6)

8. (Tuesday, Feb. 7)

9. (Wednesday, Feb. 8)

Bench players (Thursday, Feb. 9)

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