Baseball season, the part of the year that brings great hope, is upon us. As the Razorbacks gear up for a trip to Globe Life Field in Arlington, fans will be preparing their beer hats. Tons of fresh faces have joined the roster since last season’s trip to Omaha. Preseason predictions have been all over the place as a result, but coach Dave Van Horn is primed and reloaded.
Going into the offseason, DVH was faced with a proposition: adapt or be left behind. Referring to the transfer portal of course, adapting to the modernization of college baseball is exactly what he did. Teams such as the SEC West favorite LSU Tigers were nearing an arrest warrant for how many players they stole. As an answer, Van Horn brought in 15 total transfers to go alongside 11 true freshmen. Going by the numbers, the 15 players break down to three pitchers and 12 position players. Roster turnover may be taking it lightly.
The only two returning starters not named a pitcher are Jace Bohrofen and Peyton Stovall with Brady Slavens’ name getting some credit. Aforementioned preseason projections are always based around returning production and returning players in general. There’s no need to argue over which means more because in Arkansas’ case, they have neither. That means it’s time to turn to what the transfers have done… and there’s a lot.
Buckle in for a long ride to not only learn about Arkansas’ new faces, but get the names down before first pitch (that’s a shot at myself). Speaking of pitching, let’s start with the three transfer pitchers.
Koty Frank – RHP – Grad. – Nebraska
For Koty, the 2022 season brought him 14 game appearances which included seven starts on the mound. He compiled five wins with zero losses to his name thanks to a 3.81 ERA. Frank piled on 70 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched. He allowed 54 hits while giving up 30 runs with 19 walks as well.
On seven different occasions, Frank struckout at least six batters and had five starts where he lasted at least five innings. While not a guy expected to be a weekend starter, he will be one of Arkansas’ top relievers. Bringing on experience at two different levels of the sport, he will get his chances and likely early.
Cody Adcock – RHP – Junior – Ole Miss/Crowder College
Starting his career as a Rebel, Adcock made his way to Crowder College for the 2022 season. Last season, he started 14 games and finished with four wins and two losses to his name. Holding an ERA of 6.58, his numbers would reflect it. Through 67 innings pitched he allowed 70 hits while giving up 54 runs. Cody walked 35 batters, but rung up 81 guys to contrast.
In 2022, developed a season-long start of 7.1 innings and a season high of 10 strikeouts. As a player that packs a little bit more heat, the zone is what is his enemy. With some seasoning, Adcock could become a primary relief pitcher. Only time will tell.
Hunter Hollan – LHP – Junior – San Jacinto Junior College
Out of the three transfers, Hollan is your impact guy. During the 2022 season he started a total of 18 games while compiling a 9-3 win/loss record. A transfer-best 3.59 ERA was accomplished through 80.1 innings. He allowed 72 hits, yet only gave up 48 runs. With the most strikeouts among the transfers, he held 96 while walking 28 players as a rebuttal.
Following a stellar freshman showing at San Jacinto, the Brewers took a chance on him in the 15th round. Based on racking up eight more strikeouts in 7.2 less innings, it could be argued his 2021 season was superior. Now facing 2023, Hunter is staring down multiple sites that have him as a top 100 college prospect. 83rd by D1 Baseball to be exact. A very productive Fall is now behind him, which just might allow him to step into the vacated role of Jaxon Wiggins. The Sunday spot is all but announced as Hollan’s to this point.
Hudson Polk – Catcher – Junior – Oklahoma
Behind a primary backup for the Sooners last season, Polk would appear in 12 games but only start six of them. Even with little allowance, he took advantage at the plate. Hudson would go 6 of 15 batting, good enough for a .313 average and .563 slugging. Five hits as well as RBIs stood tall in his minimal stat sheet. For his total at-bats, he was walked quite a bit with seven total trots to first base.
It’s still tough to judge less than a week out, but Polk seems to have the momentum to walk out as the starter on Friday. The battle has been fought all offseason with Polk receiving the most praise via Dave Van Horn. As the most balanced at the plate and defensively among the transfers, it will be difficult to not start the former Sooner.
Parker Rowland – Catcher – Junior – Eastern Oklahoma State College
The other catcher involved deeply in the previously mentioned offseason battle is none other than Rowland. During the 2022 season he would appear in 51 games for his community college. A guy super reliable at the plate, a .408 batting average and .668 slugging percentage would prove as such. Parker piled on 75 hits to go with 78 RBIs while accepting 31 walks. As far as defense goes, he committed little errors which resulted in a .988 fielding percentage.
Playing at Arkansas State before the 2022 season, it seemed like he just needed a fresh start. With little fruit being produced in Jonesboro, Rowland took opportunity by the jugular. If he can become more consistent behind the plate, there’s a shot he pushes into the starting spot with ease.
Cal Kilgore – Catcher – Sophomore – New Mexico State
Quite possibly the man for the job down the road, Cal Kilgore is the youngest of the three catchers brought in by DVH. During 2022, he appeared in 35 games while starting in 33 of them for the Aggies. As a true freshman of course, he developed a clean batting average of .250 alongside a slugging percent of .337. His 23 hits would lead to a total of 12 runs and 11 RBIs. Not known as a power hitter, he would manage to find his way on base via a walk seven times. Behind the plate, he had a solid fielding percentage of .974 due to minimal errors.
In conference play, Kilgore played his tail off and had eight multi-hit games added to his name. He was a vital part of a New Mexico State team that made it to the postseason and ultimately met their match. Cal is expected to be the third catcher behind Polk and Rowland, but completes what was once an empty room.