Kopps, Franklin Drafted

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – Disregarding his by breaking into pro baseball advanced 24 years age while lunging for his Dick Howser Award status as the best player in 2021 collegiate baseball, the San Diego Padres drafted Arkansas Razorbacks sixth-year senior relief pitcher Kevin Kopps in the third round of Monday’s Day 2 of the 3-day Major League draft.

Kopps and 3-year Razorbacks outfielder Christian Franklin, fourth round Monday by the Chicago Cubs, are the first two of draft eligible Razorbacks off Coach Dave Van Horn’s SEC champions to be drafted.

Named Pitcher of the Year by several publications and a unanimous All-American, Kopps went 12-1, losing his only start, 3-2 on a ninth-inning home run in the Super Regionals, Kopps compiled 12 saves a nationally leading 0.90 earned run average and struck out 131 vs. 18 walks in 89 2-3 innings.

The 99th player drafted overall, Kopps is slotted to receive a $587,000 offer from the Padres.

Franklin, the left fielder on Arkansas ‘ 2019 College World Series team while 2019 pro draftee Dominick Fletcher played center, and following Fletcher’s defensive whiz path as Arkansas’ 2020 and 2021 center fielder, was named an All-American by the National College Baseball Writers while hitting .274 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI and stole 11 bases in 14 attempts.

Franklin is slotted for a $464,5000 offer from the Cubs.

Max Muncy, the heralded high school shortstop out of Thousands Oaks, Calif. signed by the Razorbacks, now has a first-round option of turning professional.

Selected by the Oakland A’s, Muncy was the 25th player chosen in Sunday night’s first round.

Conway native left-handed pitcher Jordan Wicks was drafted by the Chicago Cubs as the 16th overall pick in Sunday’s first round. Wicks is expected to sign slotted to make $3 million, 332,000.

Muncy is expected to sign a slotted $2.7 million from the A’s, but highly sought Arkansas signed high school shortstop Peyton Stovall of Haughton, La. withdrew his name from draft consideration Monday after not selected in Sunday’s first round.

On Twitter Monday, Stovall posted, “Have decided it’s best for me to withdraw my name from the MLB draft and continue my education and career at the best university in the country. Razorback nation. Let’s get to work.”

Draft eligible Razorbacks first baseman Brady Slavens, . 284 batting average, 14 home runs and 63 RBI for the 2021 Hogs, also posted he’s pulled out of the draft.

“After a lot of thought and consideration, I’ve decided to come back to Arkansas for my Junior season!!,” Slavens tweeted. “Very blessed and can’t wait to get back to work!!”

Razorbacks reliever Ryan Costeiu now can ponder returning to the UA or accepting a seventh-round offer from the Los Angeles Angels.

Razorbacks switch-hitting senior catcher Casey Opitz was drafted in Monday’s eighth round by the Chicago Cubs and Razorbacks junior No. 1 starting pitcher Patrick Wicklander was drafted in the eighth round by the Tampa Bay Rays, and senior pitcher Lael Lockhart, a graduate transfer via the University of Houston, was drafted in the ninth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Two others signed out of high school by Coach Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks, outfielder Jordan Viars of Frisco, Texas, and outfielder-pitcher Drew Gray of Swansea, Ill., now weigh whether to turn pro or attend the UA and play for the Hogs.

Viars was drafted, 84th overall in the third round by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Drew Gray, the brother of Razorbacks pitcher Evan Gray was drafted 93rd overall by the Chicago Cubs.

Photos courtesy of Craven Whitlows, CW3, Sports Action

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