By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel projects Arkansas to be among the teams getting hit hard during the 2021 MLB Draft that begins with the first round Sunday and then continues on Monday and Tuesday.
In his final mock draft prior to the beginning of the picks becoming real on Sunday McDaniel projects one Arkansas recruit to go in Round 1 and another to go in the second round. In his Top 200 prospects for the draft McDaniel has three current Razorbacks and six recruits.
McDaniel has Thousand Oaks (Calif.) shortstop Max Muncy going in the first round at pick No. 22 to the Chicago White Sox. Then in the second round, McDaniel projects the Milwaukee Brewers to select Haughton (La.) second baseman Peyton Stovall.
As far as the Top 200, McDaniel ranks Muncy No. 26 and Stovall No. 48. Next at 123 is Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy left-handed pitcher Drew Gray. Outfielder Christian Franklin is next at 124. Left-handed pitcher Patrick Wicklander follows at 132. Lefty pitcher Hagen Smith of Bullard (Texas) is No. 170. Westminster Christian (Mo.) right-handed pitcher Nicholas Moten comes in at No. 179. Kevin Kopps is ranked No. 191 and then IMG Academy shortstop Drake Varnado is No. 199.
Franklin hit .274 this season in 61 games, with 60 starts. He hit 13 home runs, drove in 54 runs and had 11 stolen bases.
Wicklander was 7-1 with an ERA of 2.09. He appeared in 18 games, 13 starts, pitched 77.2 innings, struck out 85 and walked 24.
Kopps was 12-1 with an ERA of 0.90. Kopps pitched in 33 games with all in relief except one. He had 11 saves. Kopps worked 89.2 innings striking out 131 and walking only 18.