Story by Drew Amman:
In a year with unprecedented circumstances, an MLB Draft that could be significantly shortened, what does that mean for Casey Opitz?
The Hog captain, one of the ‘top three catchers’ in college baseball according to Head Coach Dave Van Horn says he isn’t worried about the Draft right now.
“I’m working on the swing, it’s not perfect. There’s a lot of things I can improve on and that’s the main focus right now. Timing, being more aggressive in my approach.
As for the possibility of returning to Arkansas for another year?
“My family, we haven’t really talked about it. For that to be an option, that’s unbelievable. Right now, I’m worried about improving, working out.
Opitz hit .302 this season, a big jump from his .243 mark as a sophomore. He hit a team-leading six doubles, homered once and drove in eleven while slugging .509. In addition, he was one of only two Hogs with a triple in 2020. The upbeat, enthusiastic Junior from Centennial, Colorado has a hose behind the plate. Opitz, named preseason third-team All-America by Baseball America, also is considered the catcher with the best arm by that publication.
As far as feedback from scouts, other MLB personnel in the evaluation process?
“They don’t know Casey like we know him. They evaluate you against other catchers that are available in the Draft. Are they gonna take this guy first ’cause he has a better arm or take this guy ahead of Casey ’cause he hits better? Total package, mental part, the offense, defense, I feel he is probably one of the top three catchers in the country. There’s some scouts they’re not sure. He should be a good Draft, and if he doesn’t get drafted where he wants, doesn’t get the money he wants, obviously we would love to have him back. I think if he gets the money he wants, it means he could be one of the first catchers off the board next year. I don’t see him doing that (returning), but that option is there (to return) and I’m happy for that,” Head Coach Dave Van Horn said.
As far as academics, Opitz plans to finish his degree ‘end of next year.’