Spanberger Relieved Draft Watch Is Over


Not long after learning he'd been selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 6th round of the Major League Draft (176th overall) former Razorback Chad Spanberger told the Razorback Nation, "I was relieved finally. I've been sitting, waiting today because I expected it today. It finally happened so it was a lot of stress off my shoulders."

Spanberger expects to begin his pro career with the Grand Junction Rockies, a rookie ball team that competes in the Pioneer League.

"I only talked to the Rockies guy for about 30 seconds," Spanberger explained, "and he said I'm probably going to leave within a week, a week and a half and probably go out to Grand Junction, Colorado and probably the short-season from there".

Spanberger made dramatic improvement at the plate from his sophomore to junior season with the Razorbacks, raising his batting average from .225 to .305 while upping his home run total from six to 20. Increased confidence had a lot to do with it but there were some technical details that also contributed to the big jump.

"I changed my swing a little bit," Spanberger acknowledged. "Sticking it to left center or center and then pulling it if I needed to pull it."

Spanberger had some great moments in the 2017 season including an SEC Tournament record three home runs in a 12-0 win over Auburn on May 25. But he watched his favorite memory from the dugout at Baum Stadium as freshman Evan Lee went from 1st to home against Georgia on a couple of throwing errors following Eric Cole's bunt  in a 4-4 game in the bottom of the 9th.

"That walk off and the walkoff when Luke (Bonfield) did it, (RBI single vs Vanderbilt in game one) those were probably the best part of the season," Spanberger recalled.

Not surprisingly Spanberger said he was 99 percent certain that he would sign with the Rockies but he predicted a better season for the Razorbacks in 2017 even though they finished 45-19, second in the SEC West, were runner's up in the conference tournament and hosted their own regional.

"It's gonna go up," Spanberger emphasized. "They're getting Keaton McKinney, Isaiah Campbell and Cody Scroggins back, three top pitchers. Their lineup's still gonna be strong. A bunch of hitters are coming back."

"They've got, a bunch of pitchers returning," Spanberger continued, "and they've got (pitching coach Wes) Johnson and (volunteer coach Josh) Elander, as assistant coaches and then whoever they hire for a hitting coach, he's going be just as good as (new Tennessee head coach Tony) Vitello as well. Any coach that Van Horn hires is gonna be great. They're probably gonna be a powerhouse as long as he's there."

Looking back on his three seasons at Arkansas the former high school All American from Granite City, Illinois said the 2017 season ended a lot of frustration for him.

"The first two and a quarter seasons, I wouldn't say was a failure but pretty close to it," Spanberger admitted. "But to finish this season above .300 with 20 home runs, I'd say I accomplished my goals."




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