FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas will begin the 2014 season ranked 25th in Baseball America’s preseason poll.
The publication revealed its preseason picks Monday morning. Arkansas is one of eight Southeastern Conference teams ranked in the top 25, joining South Carolina (No. 7), Mississippi State (No. 8), LSU (No. 9), Vanderbilt (No. 10), Alabama (No. 21), Florida (No. 23) and Texas A&M (No. 24).
The Razorbacks opened the 2013 preseason No. 3 in Baseball America’s poll, but couldn’t live up to expectations even though they were led by the nation’s top pitching staff. Most of the group has moved on to professional baseball, leaving Arkansas counting on veteran position players like Brian Anderson, Tyler Spoon, Joe Serrano, Jake Wise as a new pitching staff develops early in the season.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was asked how he felt about the staff after his team’s first practice last week. Van Horn said he didn’t feel great right now because the group had a "long way to go" before the Feb. 14 opener against Appalachian State.
"We’ve got some good young pitchers with good arms, it’s just the game, the speed of the game, holding runners, handling it a little bit," Van Horn said last Thursday before practice began. "The experience is gone. It’s very rare. Usually you have at least one returning starter from the weekend back."