FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two relief studs and the greatest pinch hitter known to man.
Caden Monke, Elijah Trest and Charlie Welch all heard their names called on the third and final day of the 2021 MLB Draft, growing Arkansas’ total number of selections to nine. The Hogs conclude this year’s draft with the second-most picks of any college program in the country as well as the most of any SEC school.
Monke’s selection kicked off Tuesday’s late-round action. The lanky left-hander, who posted a 5-1 record with a 3.71 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 34.0 innings of relief work during the 2021 campaign, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th round (No. 409 overall).
Trest was picked up by the Colorado Rockies in the 19th round (No. 560 overall). The right-hander sat down 15 in 14.1 innings out of the bullpen this past season, carding a 3.14 ERA on the year.
Welch was taken by the Seattle Mariners four picks later (19th round, No. 564 overall). The pinch-hit extraordinaire slashed .388/.494/.821, slugged eight homers and drove in 25 runs while batting .667 (8-for-12) in pinch-hitting situations during the campaign.
The Razorbacks’ nine draftees this year trailed only UCLA’s 10. Pitcher Kevin Kopps (San Diego Padres – third round, No. 99), outfielder Christian Franklin (Chicago Cubs – fourth round, No. 123 overall), pitcher Ryan Costeiu (Los Angeles Angels – seventh round, No. 201 overall), catcher Casey Opitz (Chicago Cubs – eighth round, No. 244 overall), pitcher Patrick Wicklander (Tampa Bay Rays – eighth round, No. 251 overall) and pitcher Lael Lockhart (Los Angeles Dodgers – ninth round, No. 282 overall) were all selected on Day Two.
Arkansas’ six pitchers taken (Kopps, Costeiu, Wicklander, Lockhart, Monke and Trest) is the most the program has ever had selected in the first 20 rounds of the MLB Draft.
Arkansas’ nine total picks, meanwhile, topped the SEC, which led all conferences with 67 overall selections. South Carolina (8), Florida (7), Tennessee (7), Vanderbilt (7), Alabama (5), Mississippi State (5), Auburn (4), Texas A&M (4), Kentucky (3), Ole Miss (3), Georgia (2), LSU (2) and Missouri (1) all followed behind the Hogs.
Two more incoming signees also heard their names called Tuesday, raising Arkansas’ total to five. Outfielder Braylon Bishop was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round (No. 403 overall), and infielder Drake Varnado was scooped up by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 17th round (No. 498 overall).
Signees Max Muncy (Oakland Athletics – first round, No. 25 overall), Jordan Viars (Philadelphia Phillies – third round, No. 84 overall) and Drew Gray (Chicago Cubs – third round, No. 93 overall) went earlier in the draft.