baseball Edit

Diamond Hogs release 2020 fall baseball roster

Casey Opitz is one of four catchers listed on Arkansas' fall baseball roster.
Casey Opitz is one of four catchers listed on Arkansas' fall baseball roster. (Arkansas Athletics)

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NEW USERS | RETURNING USERS

In what is expected to be one of the most competitive falls in Dave Van Horn's tenure, Arkansas has 52 players on its roster.

Included in that number are 31 returning players and 21 newcomers. They'll hit the practice field for the first time Friday, beginning a 45-day window to complete fall practices.

The last two years, the Razorbacks were able to play two scrimmages against outside competition during that period. However, that won't be the case this year because of restrictions by the SEC in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, they'll be limited to intrasquad scrimmages.

(Unlike most years, the scrimmages and practices will not be open to the public because of the pandemic.)

It will be a key stretch for Van Horn as he tries to solidify his roster for the 2021 season. In a normal year, he would be limited to a 35-man roster with 28 players receiving part of the 11.7 available scholarships (and each of them getting at least 25 percent of a scholarship).

With the shortened MLB Draft and eligibility relief from the NCAA, though, college baseball has tweaked its rules to help schools with bloated rosters, like the one Arkansas has.

The 35-man roster limit and 25 percent scholarship minimum have both been eliminated, plus Van Horn can give partial scholarships to as many as 32 players. That means the Razorbacks can have as many players on the roster as they want, as long as those 32 players don't exceed 11.7 scholarships and the other players are walk-ons.

Here is some analysis of the fall roster, followed by the entire list of players...

Position Breakdown

~RHP: 22 (includes one RHP/OF)

~LHP: 10

~INF: 14 (includes two INF/OF, one OF/1B and one C/1B)

~OF: 7 (includes two INF/OF, one OF/1B and one RHP/OF)

~C: 4 (includes one C/1B)

Departures

The most notable name missing from the fall roster is right-handed pitcher Marshall Denton. The side-armer from Beebe, Ark., could have played another two years, but he has his degree and will insead be a student assistant this year. He'll serve alongside fellow former Arkansas pitcher DJ Baxendale, who is back for his second season in that role.

Cole Austin, a graduate transfer from Arizona State who started at first base during the shortened 2020 season, was the only senior on the roster last season and could have come back without counting toward the 11.7 scholarship limit. However, as expected, he chose not to do so.

Eight other players entered the portal during the offseason. All but one of them had been previously reported, with right-hander Carter Sells being the exception. The Tennessee native didn't appear in a game as a sophomore, but did post an 18.00 ERA in two innings in 2019.

Here's a list of the other transfers...

~Trey Harris

~Kevin Heinrich

~Travis Hester

~Jesse Pierce

~Dominic Tamez

~Collin Taylor

~Curtis Washington Jr.

Newcomer Numbers

Freshmen

6 - Michael Brooks (SPOTLIGHT)

7 - Cayden Wallace (SPOTLIGHT)

9 - Clayton Gray (SPOTLIGHT)

15 - Dylan Leach (STORY)

16 - Zac White (SPOTLIGHT)

22 - Jaxon Wiggins (SPOTLIGHT)

26 - Ethan Bates (SPOTLIGHT)

29 - Nate Wohlgemuth (SPOTLIGHT)

34 - Nick Griffin (SPOTLIGHT)

44 - Jackson Cobb (SPOTLIGHT)

46 - Tyler Cacciatori (STORY)

48 - Heston Tole (SPOTLIGHT)

50 - Matthew Magre (SPOTLIGHT)

52 - Louis Stallone (SPOTLIGHT)

55 - Gabriel Starks (STORY)

Transfers

4 - Jalen Battles (McLennan C.C.)

17 - Brady Slavens (Wichita State/Johnson County C.C.) - STORY

18 - Lael Lockhart (Houston, graduate transfer) - STORY

19 - Charlie Welch (Pepperdine/St. Johns River State C.C.) - STORY

35 - Ryan Costeiu (Sacramento City C.C.) - STORY

59 - Issac Bracken (Northern Colorado, graduate transfer) - STORY

New Number

The only returning player who is in a different jersey number this fall is Cullen Smith, who had to sit out the 2020 season because of NCAA transfer rules.

After wearing No. 4 during his required redshirt year, Smith is back in No. 14, the number he had at East Tennessee State before joining the Razorbacks.

Position Tidbits

Four returning players from last year's team have new listed positions on the fall roster, but none of them are particularly surprising.

Although he was listed as an infielder last season, Zack Gregory got his playing time as an outfielder, so it's not surprising he's now listed as both.

The reverse happened for Braydon Webb, as he came to Arkansas as an infielder/outfielder, but is now listed as solely an outfielder. That's where he played during the shortened 2020 season.

Similar to Gregory, Matt Goodheart was listed as an infielder last season and is now listed as an infielder/outfielder. However, as he still works his way back from the shoulder surgery he had in the summer of 2019, he's expected to get a look at first base.

Perhaps the most surprising is Bryce Matthews adding first base to his position, alongside outfield. He certainly has the build of a first baseman and he got a lot of work there over the summer.

It's worth noting that Cason Tollett, one of four catchers on the roster, is still also listed as a first baseman. He split his time in summer ball between the two positions.

Here are a few positional tidbits on the newcomers...

~JUCO transfer Brady Slavens played in the outfield as a freshman at Wichita State in 2019 before moving to third base at Johnson County C.C. It's still not clear where he'll fit in defensively, but he's listed solely as an infielder.

~Houston graduate transfer Lael Lockhart was a two-way player for the Cougars, serving as a left-handed pitcher and utility switch-hitter. He's listed as just a pitcher at Arkansas.

~Freshman Ethan Bates, a Hot Springs Lakeside product, signed with the Razorbacks as a two-way player, but is now listed as solely an infielder and not a right-handed pitcher.

~Although he was an MLB Draft prospect as a right-handed pitcher, freshman Nate Wohlgemuth signed as a two-way player who can also play in the outfield and is listed as such on the roster.

Weight Changes

While the football team usually lists precise weights on its roster, Arkansas' baseball team has typically used five-point increments. For example, instead of listing a player at 189 pounds, he's listed at 190.

After examining the fall roster and comparing it to last year's, HawgBeat found that two players have gained 10 pounds and both are right-handed pitchers: Connor Noland (225 lbs.) and Peyton Pallette (175 lbs.).

Several players are up five pounds from last year's listed weight: Blake Adams, Jacob Burton, Christian Franklin, Zack Gregory, Will McEntire, Robert Moore, Cullen Smith, Cason Tollett and Zebulon Vermillion.

The only one who lost weight compared to the 2020 roster was left-hander Hunter Milligan, who has battled multiple injuries during his career. He's down 15 pounds to 200.

Complete Roster

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic eliminating almost the entire 2020 season, the NCAA granted all players an extra year of eligibility. Essentially, the year is treated as if it didn't happen, so all returning players are listed as the same classification as last year.

For example, Robert Moore was a freshman and is still listed as such, even though it will be his second year at Arkansas. Those players, which include JUCO and graduate transfers, are denoted with an asterisk (*) in the roster below.

It is an important distinction because it still counts as one of the three years required to be eligible for the MLB Draft. For example, Christian Franklin is still listed as a sophomore, but he'll be eligible for the draft next summer because it's his third season.

2020 Fall Baseball Roster
Player Pos. B/T | HT | WT Year

1 - Robert Moore

INF

S/R | 5-9 | 170

*Fr.

3 - Zack Gregory

INF/OF

L/R | 5-10 | 190

*R-Fr.

4 - Jalen Battles

INF

R/R | 6-2 | 205

*So.

5 - Jacob Nesbit

INF

R/R | 6-0 | 180

*R-So.

6 - Michael Brooks

INF

R/R | 5-11 | 180

Fr.

7 - Cayden Wallace

INF

R/R | 6-0 | 205

Fr.

8 - Braydon Webb

OF

R/R | 6-0 | 195

*R-Jr.

9 - Clayton Gray

OF

L/R | 5-11 | 170

Fr.

10 - Matt Goodheart

INF/OF

L/R | 6-1 | 180

*Jr.

11 - Cason Tollett

C/1B

R/R | 6-1 | 210

*Fr.

12 - Casey Opitz

C

S/R | 5-11 | 195

*Jr.

13 - Connor Noland

RHP

R/R | 6-2 | 225

*So.

14 - Cullen Smith

INF

L/R | 6-0 | 185

*R-Jr.

15 - Dylan Leach

C

S/R | 5-11 | 190

Fr.

16 - Zac White

INF

R/R | 6-0 | 175

Fr.

17 - Brady Slavens

INF

L/R | 6-3 | 195

*So.

18 - Lael Lockhart

LHP

S/L | 6-3 | 225

*Grad-Sr.

19 - Charlie Welch

C

R/R | 6-0 | 205

*So.

20 - Elijah Trest

RHP

L/R | 6-3 | 205

*So.

21 - Jacob Burton

RHP

R/R | 6-0 | 185

*So.

22 - Jaxon Wiggins

RHP

R/R | 6-6 | 215

Fr.

24 - Bryce Matthews

OF/1B

L/R | 6-4 | 200

*Fr.

25 - Christian Franklin

OF

R/R | 5-11 | 190

*So.

26 - Ethan Bates

INF

L/R | 5-11 | 170

Fr.

27 - Blake Adams

RHP

R/R | 6-2 | 210

*Fr.

28 - Kole Ramage

RHP

R/R | 6-1 | 200

*Jr.

29 - Nate Wohlgemuth

RHP/OF

R/R | 5-11 | 205

Fr.

31 - Caleb Bolden

RHP

R/R | 6-2 | 190

*R-So.

32 - Zack Morris

LHP

L/L | 6-3 | 215

*Fr.

33 - Patrick Wicklander

LHP

R/L | 6-1 | 200

*So.

34 - Nick Griffin

LHP

L/L | 6-4 | 185

Fr.

35 - Ryan Costeiu

RHP

R/R | 6-0 | 200

*So.

36 - Peyton Pallette

RHP

R/R | 6-1 | 175

*Fr.

37 - Caden Monke

LHP

L/L | 6-3 | 170

*So.

38 - Mark Adamiak

RHP

R/R | 6-4 | 210

*Fr.

39 - Evan Taylor

LHP

L/L | 6-4 | 250

*So.

40 - Corey Spain

LHP

L/L | 5-11 | 215

*Fr.

41 - Will McEntire

RHP

L/R | 6-4 | 230

*Fr.

43 - Miller Pleimann

RHP

R/R | 6-4 | 195

*So.

44 - Jackson Cobb

INF

L/R | 5-11 | 165

Fr.

45 - Kevin Kopps

RHP

R/R | 6-0 | 205

*R-Jr.

46 - Tyler Cacciatori

RHP

R/R | 6-6 | 215

Fr.

48 - Heston Tole

RHP

R/R | 6-6 | 215

Fr.

49 - Liam Henry

LHP

L/L | 6-2 | 185

*So.

50 - Matthew Magre

LHP

L/L | 6-1 | 200

Fr.

51 - Hunter Milligan

LHP

L/L | 6-4 | 200

*R-So.

52 - Louis Stallone

RHP

R/R | 6-9 | 225

Fr.

55 - Gabriel Starks

RHP

R/R | 6-1 | 210

Fr.

57 - Nathan Rintz

RHP

R/R | 6-2 | 185

*Fr.

58 - Evan Gray

RHP

R/R | 6-4 | 195

*Fr.

59 - Issac Bracken

RHP

R/R | 6-0 | 195

*Grad-Sr.

88 - Zebulon Vermillion

RHP

L/R | 6-4 | 230

*Jr.