Bryant native is 11-0.
FAYETTEVILLE - Blaine Knight, Baltimore Orioles’ third-round draft choice still talked like the Arkansas Razorbacks junior pitcher from Bryant meeting media Wednesday before the Razorbacks practiced for their best two of three Super Regional against South Carolina.
Knight was first Razorback taken in Tuesday’s second day of the 3-day draft. Razorbacks drafted Tuesday also included junior outfielder Eric Cole, fourth round, Kansas City Royals; junior catcher Grant Koch, fifth round, Pittsburgh Pirates; shortstop Jax Biggers, eighth round, Texas Rangers, and second baseman Carson Shaddy, Arkansas junior switch-hitting right fielder Eric Cole of Southlake, Texas was drafted in the fourth round by the Kansas City Royals, junior catcher Grant Koch of Fayetteville drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, junior shortstop Jax Biggers drafted in the eighth round by the Texas Rangers and fifth-year senior second baseman Carson Shaddy drafted in the 10th round by the Washington Nationals.
On Wednesday junior left-hander Kacey Murphy was drafted in the 11th round by the Detroit Tigers, turning 21-year-old draft eligible sophomore pitcher-hitter Evan Lee drafted in the 15th round by the Washington, Nationals; junior right-hander pitcher Barrett Loseke in the 17th round by the New York Yankees, junior right-handed pitcher Jake Reindl drafted in the 17th round by the Chicago Cubs and third-year sophomore right-handed pitcher Isaiah Campbell drafted in the 24th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Two Razorbacks signees also were drafted: Junior college catcher Josh Breaux expected to go straight to the pros drafted in the second round by the New York Yankees, and pitcher Wade Beasley of Horatio drafted in the 24th round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Knight immediately got asked about the draft before Wednesday’s practice.
“My thoughts are just about Super Regionals,” Knight said. “I’m dedicated to this team. When the season is over with I’ll figure out the draft later but right now all I’m worried about is South Carolina.”
Many, including Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn, thought Knight, 11-0, would be drafted even higher than the third pound.
“Yeah, I thought he'd go a little bit earlier than he did,” Van Horn said. “It is what it is. They're all - these clubs put their pitchers up on the board and try to rank them in order. Sometimes it has to do with size and if they want left-handed pitching or hitters. The thing is, the third round is a good round, early. he's still going to get paid really well. But right now I think Blaine will tell you he's just worried about winning this weekend and continuing to prove he's one of the best pitchers in the country.”
Knight was asked if he was surprised it took three rounds for him to be picked.
“Nothing surprises me in the draft,” Knight said. “Picks start flying off the board and stuff happens and people start getting picked where they are not supposed to or higher than the were supposed to or whatever. Nothing surprises me with it. But I’m happy where Baltimore took me and I’m glad they gave me the opportunity to continue my career.”
Was the draft a distraction?
“I think it distracts you if you allow it to distract you,” Knight said. “That’s what I think. I’m not distracted. Our guys are not either. We’re focused on what’s fixing to go on this weekend. We’ll worry about the rest later on.”
Wouldn’t it be better had Major League baseball waited Tuesday rather than Monday, when some regionals either rain delayed or extended because the loser’s bracket team forced a winner’s take all championship game, to begin the draft?
“ MLB is going to do what MLB wants,” Knight said. “So they are going to do what they want to do. It’s their decision. It’s their draft. They are not going to change it for us that’s for sure.”
He claimed to be thinking South Carolina all along and sure is now.
“They can hit,” Knight said. “They are another very good SEC school. They’ve got a lot of talent. They’ve got (Carlos) Cortes (second baseman with 15 home runs drafted in Monday’s first round by the New York Mets) and all those guys. They are going to come out and give us their best shot.”