NCAA Baseball News

Every former Arkansas player to crack the club

Every former Arkansas player to crack the club

The 2024 Major League Baseball season is now officially underway.

Not every team in the sport had its Opening Day on Thursday, but a bulk of the league started things that afternoon or night. New faces in new places is a big theme of the year, including with what many consider the best rookie class in generations.

For Arkansas fans, a slew of former Diamond Hogs bear watching this year, too. Eight former Arkansas baseball players made Opening Day rosters at the big-league level. At least two more players are largely expected to join the MLB ranks at some point this season, too. (Hint: His name rhymes with Feston Brrrstad).

Andrew Benintendi remains the class of former Arkansas positions players in The Show. He had his worst season as a Big Leaguer in 2024 and plays for the lowly White Sox, but he’s now joined in the outfield by former Diamond Hog Dominic Fletcher as Chicago looks to get to .500, at least.

Benintendi is hardly the oldest of the group, though. Former Arkansas pitcher Drew Smyly and former catcher James McCann are each over a decade into their Major League careers. McCann is seeking a World Series with the Orioles and Smyly’s Cubs could win the NL Central.

Here’s a closer look at each of the former Arkansas baseball players who started the season in the Bigs.

Feb 19, 2024; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Matt Koch, pitcher Jalen Beeks, and catcher Drew Romo talk during Spring Training camp at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Beeks needs a bounce-back season after career-worst numbers in 2023. Tampa Bay waived the 30-year-old in November and Colorado, not exactly a pitcher’s paradise, picked him up after a season in which he threw in 30 games with a 1.48 WHIP and a 5.95 earned-run average.

Mar 21, 2024; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Chicago White Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi against the Kansas City Royals during a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Benintendi, like Beeks, had the worst season of his career in 2023. He’s back with the White Sox for a second year, looking to improve on his slash line of .262/.326/.356.

Feb 24, 2024; Sarasota, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Isaiah Campbell (44) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY…

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