What Arkansas Baseball Head Coach Dave Van Horn Said About 2022 Season, New Transfers, 2023 Roster


Summary of the progress of the 2022 season:

“I really appreciate the effort of our team. What a fun team to coach, the 2022 team. It started in the fall, we could tell we had a special group that enjoyed each other… What a race they It was where we wanted to end. We felt like in the fall, we could get there.

The league was just as good as we thought. People said the West is broken. No, the West has never been defeated; the West was really good. It gave the impression that the other teams weren’t as good as people might think.

But I’m so proud of them. We really put the ball in play. We threw very well. I thought at the end of the day we hit the ball extremely well and our bats were really good. We came across a really hot team. We got hot, but they were a little warmer. I’m just proud of these guys and I wish them all the best and I want to thank them.”

Where are things with Connor Noland who could return for a fifth year:

“I think he likes wearing that uniform. I just think if things aren’t exactly what he wants then there’s an opportunity. Obviously there’s a chance he’ll come back. I’ve met about it. We’ll see how it goes…I don’t think Connor will go just because someone says, ‘Hey, we’ll give you some money and go play.’ It’s going to have to be a situation where he feels really good, the organization is serious, and otherwise you might see him again. And obviously we would love to see him again. But he has to make that final decision.

General thoughts on how things are going in the transfer portal:

“I think we did a good job. I feel like for us it’s about what we think these players are, really, as a player and we try to bring in good people. with our culture and our record In some cases, maybe it’s not the big splash, that big name over there – which is good if you get those guys – but we try to go after the guys who, We think are going to help our line-up or help our throw as far as depth or a role, whether it’s a starter, a reliever, closer.

But I feel really good where we are. A few other things are happening. That’s how it is in Division I baseball right now, especially at the level we play. You have to do it if you want to survive.”

Breakdown of most transfers from junior college ranks:

As for the junior college guys, we obviously went for a few right-handed hitters, a few left-handed hitters, guys who were showing numbers. In one case, a guy started in a really good Division 1, went to JUCO and crushed it his second year at JUCO, and we think that’s going to continue here. We feel good with them. A few guys from upstate, a few guys from afar.

The Fall Ball will be fun this year. I think there’s going to be a lot of competition, as there should be when it comes to an SEC-type school. Arkansas, Kentucky, whatever. You should have good players on campus, the ones you want to play SEC games with, and the ones who know how to fight and earn a spot.

When we talk to them, most of these kids know they have to come here, work and beat some guys up. The kids who wanted to be told, ‘hey, it’s your turn’. We’re not going to sue anyone else. Maybe we didn’t want this guy. We want guys who want to work and fight.”

Some of the guys who decided to leave were surprising:

“None of them were a surprise… They understand, we understand what’s happening now with the portal and the opportunity to play. These are guys who have been in the program for a few years and don’t didn’t play a lot. And as a coach and maybe even evaluating themselves, it was a big risk for them to come back and play.

So really in most cases, or probably all cases actually, it’s probably for the best – for them. For us, the depth and all that, yeah, it’s great. But me, as a head coach, watching on the bench and they’re not in the lineup, it gets difficult the older they get. If I don’t know at the end of a season there’s an 80% chance that guy will be an everyday starter on the field or that pitcher will have a big role.

And in some cases they want to start and they’re having trouble getting into the field as a middleman or a reliever and they’re like, ‘I really want to start, I’m 21’, so it’s probably better for that ‘they’re going somewhere where they might feel like they have that opportunity.”

Addressing the receiver position, where the team has no one on the roster and a single gate commit:

“We’ve signed another receiver, but I can’t give you any names yet. We’re fine.

First, we want (a catcher) to be able to really catch the baseball. Obviously leadership qualities are important to us… In some cases the kids just want to get away, they want to go to a program where they feel they have a shot at the World Series, they want to play in another league, the change of coach, maybe they feel like they can develop more in a different place, but often it’s because maybe in their position there’s someone the same age who gets most of the reps for one reason or another.

Maybe because he’s a left-handed hitter and they hit right-handed and the coach likes the left-handed. You could go on and on. I heard everything. But we’re just trying to assess all of the above as far as he can handle a pitching stick, a good guy who catches and throws, and then the bat, to me, is last when it comes to the catcher.

Why pitchers Brady Tygart and Hagen Smith won’t pitch in the Cape Cod Baseball League:

Really with Brady, he’s just tired. A little painful. He knew it would be over for him after throwing.

Hagen was the same way. He pitched both innings on Sunday, and after the game he called us and said, “I’m really tired. The velocity was 90 to 93, which is pretty good. He walked a few people. He didn’t allow a run, hit four of six batters. But he threw more than 20 pitches in each inning.

Even if he had been on the team… We don’t know what was going to happen there with either of them. But he pretty much told them, “I’m done.”

As far as dispatching these guys, we said, ‘No, you need to rest. If you want to come back in a few weeks, start training again and get ready for fall baseball. But honestly, two freshmen who just hit a wall. And it happens.”

Thoughts on LHP Zack Morris and whether he will return next season:

“As far as the draft, I think Zack could be drafted. I don’t think he’s going to sell himself short. I think he’ll come back unless he gets enough money. We hope that ‘he’ll be back. We’re planning on But we also know he has a decision to make. I’m sure there are scouts calling him now and they’re talking about money and opportunities. But yeah, he was exceptional in the home stretch.

How many freshmen do you think will arrive on campus:

I don’t really have a number there. We know that there is a possibility of losing them. If we lose them, we get it.

20 rounds ago, if you see someone’s name popping up, they’ve probably already made a deal. Very rarely now, with limited rounds, teams select someone (they won’t sign), unless it’s a bit later or they take a chance and come, I don’t know, on a whim.

But with 20 rounds, they have to sign those kids.

We’re doing everything we can to try to find out what these guys are really thinking. I really believe that some of these kids, and they’re talking to some of these professionals now, they’re trying to figure out, are they really going to get the amount they want? And if they don’t, we just want them to stay strong.

If they say they want a million dollars and they’re told we can’t give you more than $500,000, then they should come to the school and triple that. »

Thoughts on NIL and how it changed conversations with recruiting:

“This year there are legs, and there are places where they can make money. I say get money, they have the opportunity to represent a company or to advertise or what whatever. And I’m okay with that. I want these guys to make money, and I’d like them to make a lot of money and come to school and play for us and you know how to manage money and learn about taxes and pressure and people you know bother them wanting to get a piece of this and a piece of that I think it’s a great experience for them. plus, being a student and being able to have money is pretty nice.

Retaining the coaching staff can be a very good thing:

“It’s great. Continuity. The players like to know who coaches them, they like to know them. In our case, three or four years. Nate, I think, is five, and me forever, that seems to be for some people .

It was great to keep all these coaches here. I feel like they won’t leave if they don’t get the right head coaching job. There have been a few opportunities to be head coaches for both over the past few years. A few years ago, one of them even had the opportunity to enter the big leagues directly. We just don’t publish it, but our players know we have great people coaching them.”


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