Dave Van Horn pleased with Diamond Hogs’ bullpen as season nears

Arkansas baseball has never really had issues with the quality of their pitching under Dave Van Horn. Quantity, on the other hand, has been the issue over as of late.

Entering the 2024 season, Van Horn expressed a renewed confidence in his bullpen rotation when speaking to the media last week.

The bullpen is shaping up fine, we have some really good arms,” Van Horn said. “Obviously, they have to go out and do it in a real game, but bullpens have been great.

We feel like we have a really good mix of left and right-handed pitching. The right-handed pitching is usually there, but have some options (that are) left-handed out of the pen is going to be a big-time plus for us this year.”

Last year, the bullpen was decimated by injury and struggled without the key arms of Dylan Carter, Koty Frank and Brady Tygart. This year, they will add those guys back to a stacked and pretty healthy pitching rotation.

Carter is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and freshman left-hander Hunter Dietz will miss about two months with a stress fracture, but other than that the Diamond Hogs are in good shape.

Their starting rotation of Hagen Smith, Brady Tygart and Mason Molina could be one of the strongest in the SEC. Koty Frank, Gage Wood and Will McEntire headline an extremely strong bullpen rotation that is more than capable of holding their own and throwing different looks at opponents.

Left-handed Kansas transfer Stone Hewlett was a guy that Van Horn singled out in his press conference.

“If you’re looking for a left-on-left matchup, we have Stone Hewlett, he transferred in from Kansas,” Van Horn said. “That’s what he does. He gets lefties out.”

Aside from Hewlett, Arkansas has sophomore Parker Coll and a slew of other freshman who looked very promising through the fall.

All-in-all, this year’s pitching staff has a legitimate chance to be the nation’s best. The key, as always, will be remaining healthy and avoiding an avalanche of major injuries like last year. If the Diamond Hogs’ bullpen can do that, the rest of college baseball should be very afraid.

Arkansas baseball opens up their season with a four-game series against James Madison beginning on Friday, Feb. 16th at 3:00 p.m. in Baum-Walker Stadium.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire