#6 Arkansas Baseball 2020 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks
Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
 Arkansas Logo
Arkansas has made back-to-back College World Series appearances and there is no reason why they cannot make it three in a row. Last year the Razorbacks cruised through the Fayetteville Regional and hosted Ole Miss in the Super Regional. It took three games, but Arkansas outscored the Rebels 30 to 16 in the series. The trip to Omaha was brief, with the team losing one run games to Florida State and Texas Tech, but Coach Dave Van Horn has more than enough talent back to win the SEC West and make another trip to Omaha.
2019: 46-20, 20-10
2019 Postseason: College World Series
Coach: Dave Van Horn
Key Departed Players:
Trevor Ezell, IF, .329 BA, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 19 SB
Dominic Fletcher, OF, .313 BA, 11 HR, 61 RBI
Jack Kenley, IF, .311 BA, 13 HR, 54 RBI
Isaiah Campbell, P, 2.13 ERA, 12-1 W/L, 118.1 IP, 125 SO
Matt Cronin, P, 1.86 ERA, 1-0 W/L, 29.0 IP, 42 SO, 12 SV
Key Returning Players:
Matt Goodheart, IF/OF, .345 BA, 5 HR, 47 RBI
Heston Kjerstad, OF, .327 BA, 17 HR, 51 RBI
Casey Martin, IF, .286 BA, 15 HR, 57 RBI
Connor Noland, P, 4.02 ERA, 3-5 W/L, 78.1 IP, 55 SO
Patrick Wicklander, P, 4.32 ERA, 6-2 W/L, 66.2 IP, 90 SO
One big question facing Arkansas is who will step up and be the Friday night starter to replace Isaiah Campbell. The good news is there are plenty of options. Sophomores Connor Noland and Patrick Wicklander both had very promising freshman campaigns. Noland started 19 games and posted a 4.02 ERA. He is not an overpowering pitcher, striking out just 55 batters in 78.1 innings of work, but he walked only 14. Wicklander went 6-2 in 22 appearances and 15 starts, striking out 90 in 66.2 innings. Senior Kevin Kopps could step into the other starting role, but Marshall Denton and Kole Ramage had more starting experience last season while Kopps made a team high 30 appearances out of the bullpen. Arkansas should be solid on the mound, but it remains to be seen if they will be able to find a clear top starter. Meanwhile, this should again be one of the most potent offenses in the country. Some big bats are gone, but Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin are back to lead the way. Kjerstad hit .327 with 17 homeruns and 51 RBIs, while Martin hit .286 with 15 homeruns and 57 RBIs. Those are a couple great bats to build around, but it does not end there. Matt Goodheart is a very consistent hitter and Christian Franklin and Jacob Nesbit showed plenty of potential during their freshmen seasons. Add in catcher Casey Optiz and transfers like Cole Austin from Arizona State and Braydon Webb from the junior college ranks and Arkansas will be able to outslug just about anybody. If the pitching finds a new ace, not only will Arkansas get back to Omaha, but they will be right in the mix for a national title.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament