FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) — Junior first baseman Chad Spanberger was the second Razorback taken in the 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft Tuesday afternoon when he was selected in the sixth round, No. 176 overall, by the Colorado Rockies.
Spanberger follows pitcher Trevor Stephan, who was drafted earlier in the day by the New York Yankees in the third round, and is the first Hog position player to be taken in this year’s draft.
With the selection, Arkansas has had multiple players drafted each year dating back to 1993.
Coming from Granite City, Illinois, Spanberger had a breakout season when he appeared in 60 games, making 58 starts, as the Hogs’ primary first baseman. The junior hit .305 with 13 doubles, one triple, 20 home runs, and 67 RBIs, all career-highs. His average was the second-highest on the team and he was one of just three Razorbacks to hit .300 or higher.
His home run total led the team and was good for second in the SEC, ninth in the nation. He also became the sixth player in program history to hit 20 or more home runs in a single season.
Spanberger was even better in conference play as he hit .304 with 11 home runs and a conference-leading 36 RBIs. Over 29 games, the junior notched 10 multi-hit performances and 11 multi-RBI games. In three of those games, he tallied three hits or more, including four hits against Alabama (April 2) and Auburn (April 23).
In this year’s SEC Tournament, Spanberger turned in one of the best weeks of the season when he earned tournament MVP honors after hitting .421 in five games to lead the Hogs to the tournament final for the fourth time in school history. He had three multi-hit games and all eight of his hits in the tournament went for extra bases. He also set a single-game tournament record for home runs and RBIs after going 3-for-4 with three home runs and seven RBIs against Auburn. Both the home run and RBI totals were personal single-game highs. Two days later, he hit home runs in consecutive at-bats against top-seeded Florida (May 27) in the semifinals.
Spanberger finished the conference tournament with five home runs, 10 RBIs, and 26 total bases. The home runs and total bases were the second most by a player in tournament history.
Seemingly clutch at the end of the season, Spanberger hit .313 over the final 16 games with 10 home runs and 20 RBIs, while slugging an astounding .859. To go along with his SEC Tournament performance, Spanberger hit .316 in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional with six hits and one home run. The home run was the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of an elimination game against Oral Roberts that sent Arkansas to the regional final.
Day two of the draft continues today on MLB.com. Rounds 3-10 will be conducted today. Wednesday will be the final day of the draft and will include rounds 11-40 starting at 11 a.m. All selections can be followed on MLB.com.
The signing deadline for underclassmen and high school seniors selected in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft is July 7.
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Univ. of Ark.