FAYETTEVILLE - In the third round on the draft’s 92nd overall pick, the New York Yankees Tuesday made junior right-handed pitcher Trevor Stephan the first Arkansas Razorback selected in the 2017 Major League baseball draft followed by the Colorado Rockies drafting Razorbacks junior first baseman Chad Spanberger.
Later Tuesday evening, the New York Mets drafted senior reliever Cannon Chadwick and the San Diego Padres drafting senior starter-reliever Dominic Taccolini.
The Rockies drafted Spanberger in the sixth round as the draft’s 176th overall pick.
Tuesday’s draft position more than justified Stephan’s decision coming out of Hill (Texas) Junior College last June to transfer to Arkansas and turn down a an offer from the Boston Red Sox drafting him in the 18th round an 538th overall pick of last year’s draft.
Established with sophomore Blaine Knight of Bryant as one of two ace starting pitchers for Coach Dave Van Horn’s 45-19 Razorbacks, Stephan had much to do with the Hogs finishing second in the SEC West, second in the SEC Tournament and also runner-up in the Fayetteville Regional.
Included in Stephan’s 6-3 record and 95-plus miles an hour fast ball, is a 2.87 ERA in a team high 91 innings striking out 120 against just 20 walks.
In six of his 16 starts, Stephan struck out from 10 to a peak 13 batters and threw a rain-delayed weekend shortened to seven innings 1-hitter in a complete game, 2-0 victory over Tennessee.
Spanberger, 6-3, 240 and previously a reserve outfielder-catcher-first baseman-DH had struggled his first two Razorbacks seasons i hitting .252 with zero home runs and 17 RBI as a freshman in 2015 and in 2016 hitting .225 with six home runs and 17 RBI.
After a slow start in 2017 during which Van Horn stuck with him, Spanberger, 6-3, 240, blossomed into the big-time power hitter that Van Horn envisioned when Spanberger was recruited out of Granite City, Ill.
Playing 60 of Arkansas’ 64 games, Spanberger hit 20 home runs, including SEC Tournament records three with seven RBI in a SEC Tournament victory over Auburn and the seventh-inning inning game-winner in the 4-3 Fayetteville Regional loser’s bracket final over Oral Roberts. During Arkansas’ 29 SEC regular season games Spanberger hit 11 home runs and a SEC leading 36 RBI.
For the season, Spanberger hit .304 and knocked in 67 runs and hit 13 doubles and one triple.
The Mets selected Chadwick in the ninth round as the drafts 277th pick. The 2017 early season-closer and a 3-year letterman, right-hander Chadwick was 4-3 in 2017 with two saves and a 3.66 ERA.
Four-year letterman Taccolini, 17-13 for his career, started five times and relieved 15 times for the 2017 Hogs while going 4-1 with a 4.25 ERA. San Diego selected Taccolini in the 10th round as the draft’s 288 overall pick.
The draft concludes today.