baseball Edit

Minor league assignments for 2018 Arkansas draftees

UA Media Relations

After playing together in high school and college, Carson Shaddy and Grant Koch found themselves in opposite dugouts Saturday.

The former Fayetteville High and Arkansas teammates recently began their professional careers in the New York-Penn League, a Single-A Short Season league.

Shaddy made his debut with the Auburn Doubledays, a Washington Nationals affiliate, on Wednesday and collected a hit on the first pitch he saw. In his first three career games, though, he is just 2 for 9 with two walks and five strikeouts, and he wasn’t in the lineup Saturday.

Instead, Shaddy watched from the dugout as Koch made his debut as the West Virginia Black Bears’ starting catcher. Although he was hitless in two at bats, Koch did draw three walks for the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate.

Their two teams play again at 3:05 p.m. Sunday and 6:05 p.m. Monday at the Black Bears’ ballpark in Granville, W.V.

They are the only former Razorbacks taken in the 2018 MLB Draft to make their professional debuts so far, but a few others have been assigned to teams.

Eric Cole will play for the Burlington Royals, Kansas City’s rookie ball team in the Appalachian League. If he reaches the Double-A level in the Royals’ farm system, he would return to Northwest Arkansas to play for the Naturals.

Kacey Murphy has been assigned to the GCL Tigers East, one of Detroit’s two rookie ball teams in the Gulf Coast League. He will be joined in the league by Evan Lee, who has reportedly been sent to the GCL Nationals.

They will play in their parent clubs’ spring training complexes in Florida, located in Lakeland and West Palm Beach, respectively.

Arkansas’ four other draft picks who signed last week – Jax Biggers, Blaine Knight, Barrett Loseke and Jake Reindl – have yet to be assigned to a minor league team.

Biggers, an eighth-round pick by the Rangers, could be sent to Texas’ rookie ball affiliate in the Arizona League or Single-A Short Season club in Spokane, Wash. If he reaches the Double-A level in the Rangers’ farm system, he would play for the Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas League. That means he could also play in the area again, as it is the same league as the NWA Naturals.

As 17th-round picks, Loseke and Reindl will likely end up playing rookie ball in the Gulf Coast and Arizona Leagues, respectively.

The Yankees, who drafted Loseke, have two GCL teams and another rookie team in the Appalachian League, the Pulaski Yankees. He could also possibly join Shaddy and Koch in the New York-Penn League with the Staten Island Yankees.

The Cubs, who drafted Reindl, have two AZL teams. They could also send him to their Single-A Short Season affiliate in the Northwest League, the Eugene Emeralds located in Oregon.

Because he played such a long season in college, throwing 112 1/3 innings in 19 starts, Knight will probably have a small workload this summer. When the third-round pick begins his professional career, it could be with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League or the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds.