#2 Arkansas Baseball Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

Overall Rank: #2
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
Arkansas College Baseball Top 44 Team Preview
Arkansas Team Page


The Arkansas Razorbacks are coming into the 2013 season off of a deep run into the College World Series in Omaha before losing two hard-fought contests against conference rival South Carolina. Plenty of depth in the pitching rotation and five starting position players return and should give veteran coach Dave Van Horn an excellent chance at winning the 2013 national championship.

2012: 46-22, 16-14 SEC
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dave Van Horn

Field Players:
The ability to generate more offense across the board is going to be a huge point of emphasis for Arkansas in 2013. Dominic Ficociello is the leading returner in several statistical categories for the Razorbacks. Fiocciello brings a good balanced mix hitting for average and power with a .290 average and six homeruns last season. Ficociello’s defense is a huge underrated element to his game as he only committed six errors in 2012. Jacob Morris is a redshirt junior who will provide some additional speed on the bases as well as he stole five bases in 2012. The batting average for the Razorbacks in 2012 was .271, which with the pitching in 2012 got them to Omaha. But when they had two chances to put away South Carolina in the College World Series, they only scored two runs in 18 innings. That has to change if Arkansas is going to contend for the national title in 2013.

Pitching is the clear strength for the Razorbacks heading into the start of the season. Ryne Stanek will anchor things in the starting rotation. Stanek was 8-4, with a 2.82 earned run average in last season. A huge key for Stanek in 2012 was limiting hits in relation to innings pitched as Stanek only allowed 75 hits in 92.2 innings of pitching. Randall Fant will be in the weekend rotation as well. Fant, in 14 starts last season, was very effective in spite of his 3-4 record.  Fant had just a 3.27 earned run average and did an outstanding job with control as he walked just 11 batters in 52.1 innings of work. The bullpen is another huge asset as Barrett Astin had 11 saves with a 1.99 earned run average and struck out 61 in 58.2 innings of work. Astin, a junior, has been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award watch list along with fellow reliever Colby Suggs, another junior who was lights out in 2012, holding opponents to a .203 batting average while posting a 7-1 record out of the bullpen.

Who to Watch:
Trey Killian is a right-handed pitcher from out of Norfolk, Arkansas.  At 6-4 and with a low 90s fastball, Killian should compete immediately for a mid-week slot in the starting rotation. Willie Schwanke is projected to be third baseman for the Razorbacks and should potentially be able to provide some additional power, which should help the Arkansas offense as a whole.  Issac Hellbusch should provide some valuable versatility for the Razorbacks with the ability to play both in the infield and outfield. Hellbusch was a 2012 Rawlings West Region second team All-American out of Edmond, Oklahoma.

Final Projection:
The non-conference schedule is highlighted by a pair of games in Surprise, Arizona against Arizona State. New Mexico comes into Fayetteville for a two game series in April that will be a good test for the mid-week pitching staff of the Razorbacks, along with a series in Lincoln against Nebraska the following Tuesday/Wednesday. The conference schedule, after opening at home against a tough Ole Miss squad, will have a rematch in Columbia against South Carolina. These two squads played three of the best games in the 2012 College World Series and have the talent in 2013 to be primed for another rematch at TD Ameritrade Park in late June at the 2013 College World Series. With the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri, missing Florida in the regular season is a plus. Also the majority of the tougher conference series will be at Baum Stadium with Kentucky in early May being a potential landmine en route to the Southeastern Conference Regular season championship. Overall, if the pitching stays healthy and consistent like in 2012, look for the Razorbacks to once again be in the mix to make it to the Championship series in Omaha this June.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Dominic Ficociello, IF, 252
Hits: Dominic Ficociello, IF, 73
Home Runs: Dominic Ficociello, IF, 6
RBIs: Dominic Ficociello, IF, 48
Runs: Dominic Ficociello, IF, 45
Stolen Bases: Jacob Morris, OF, 5

Wins: Ryne Stanek, P, 8
Innings Pitched: Ryne Stanek, P, 92.2
Strikeouts: Ryne Stanek, P, 83
Saves: Barrett Astin, P, 11

Madness 2013 MLB Draft Rankings:
#2 Ryne Stanek
#52 Barrett Astin
#68 Dominic Ficociello
#120 Colby Suggs

Madness 2013 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#51 Teddy Stankiewicz
#80 Trey Killian


See All Baseball Top 44 Team Previews