Down On The Farm: Former Hogs finish seasons

PHOTO BY RAZORBACK SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS

FAYETTEVILLE — Many former Razorbacks littered rosters throughout the minor league systems in 2017 and many had major impacts on their teams and made moves up the pro baseball ladder.

Here’s a look at some of the best minor league compiled by former Razorbacks who look to be some of the next Major League #ProHogs in 2018.

Complete #ProHogs List (Major and Minor Leagues)

Knockin’ on the door | Jalen Beeks – LHP Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A – BOS)
The 2014 Boston Red Sox draft pick had a breakout year splitting time between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. Beeks is the Red Sox 17th-overall prospect and looks to be on the short list to make the big club in 2018.

Beeks combined for a 3.29 ERA over 145.0 innings this year, his second-most innings in a year in his four-year professional career. Before being promoted, he went 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in nine starts with Double-A Portland. He baffled opposing batters, who managed a .199 batting average against him.

In 17 starts with Pawtucket, Beeks won six times and threw 95.2 innings with 97 strikeouts, the second-most strikeouts on the Pawtucket squad.

Expect Beeks to get a good look by the big club during spring training and possibly get a chance to add an arm to the Red Sox bullpen in 2018.

Picking up where they left off | Chad Spanberger – 1B Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie – COL) and Trevor Stephan – RHP Staten Island Yankees (Rookie – NYY)

The Razorbacks enjoyed an eventful 2017 spring that included a trip to the SEC Tournament final and hosting an NCAA Regional, led by first baseman Chad Spanberger and right-handed picture Trevor Stephan.

Both Spanberger and Stephan were part of the Razorbacks MLB Draft class last summer and continued their high-level play at the minor league level, becoming some of the steals of the draft.

Spanberger was part of a trio for Grand Junction that combined for 58 home runs, 19 of those coming from the former Hog, which tied for second in the league. Coming off a year with the Razorbacks where he played a career-high 60 games and hit 20 home runs with 67 RBIs, Spanberger played 60 more games at the Rookie ball level for Grand Junction, hitting .294 with 51 RBIs and a .617 slugging percentage.

On the East Coast, Stephan was coming off one of the best seasons for a Razorback pitcher, leading the team with a 2.97 ERA in 16 appearances. He was selected in the third round of the MLB Draft by the New York Yankees and quickly become of the Yankees best selections.

Stephan was used primarily as a starter in his first year at Staten Island, throwing 34.1 innings with 44 strikeouts and a 1.31 ERA. In his last five appearances this year, Stephan gave up just three hits and no earned runs and struck out six batters on two separate occasions during the final month.

Bullpen Hogs

Arkansas’ bullpen over the last few years has always been one of its strongest assets over the years and it seems those same pitchers are starting to make impacts.

Zach Jackson – RHP Dunedin Blue Jays (Single-A Advanced – TOR)

Right-hander Zach Jackson reached Advanced Single-A Dunedin with the Toronto Blue Jays organization on June 3 and didn’t disappoint. Jackson threw 31 innings for the Blue Jays and compiled a 2.03 ERA with four saves and 43 strikeouts. His strikeout total was the second highest among Dunedin relievers and his ERA was the third lowest among pitchers with 30 or more innings.

James Teague – RHP Aberdeen Ironbirds (Single-A Short – BAL)

Right-hander James Teague didn’t have a sophomore slump in 2017 as he was one of the top pitchers for the Aberdeen Ironbirds at the Single-A Short level for the Baltimore Orioles. Teague compiled a 1.02 ERA over 17.2 innings with 29 strikeouts.

Over his last 10 appearances, he gave up three hits and allowed one earned run, while striking out two or more batters four times. Teague did start the year with Single-A Delmarva before being sent down, but should start 2018 with a high chance of reaching Double-A.