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Draft '99 ARKANSAS ****

1. *Danny Wright, rhp, U. of Arkansas
2. *David Walling, rhp, U. of Arkansas
3. Brandon Love, rhp, Viola HS

4. Rodney Nye, 1b/rhp, U. of Arkansas
5. Joe Jester, ss, U. of Arkansas
6. Kevin Vent, rhp, U. of Arkansas

Arkansas surged to the top of the Southeastern Conference's tough Western Division this year despite almost no contribution from RHP Danny Wright, who has one of the best arms in the draft. Wright has had a tough time trying to figure out the art of pitching throughout his career. He has the ingredients to not only succeeed but to dominate, including size (6-foot-5, 230 pounds), athleticism and a power arm. His fastball has been clocked up to 97 mph, but he has no command of it or an effective second pitch to mix with it. When things don't go right for Wright, he responds by throwing harder, not smarter, and his ball straightens out. His limited pitch selection probably casts him in the role of a closer in pro ball. He was tried there this spring and found wanting. His upside remains outstanding but the team that drafts him will have to be patient in helping him tap his potential . . . RHP David Walling, on the other hand, is a true pitcher. He is one of the few college pitchers who lived up to and even exceeded expectations this spring. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, he has a long, loose athletic body and should be an innings-eater in pro ball. His fastball ranges from 89-93 mph. He keeps it down in the strike zone consistently and complements it with a solid changeup . . . SS Joe Jester was Arkansas' most valuable and dependable everyday player this year. He's a solid defender with base-stealing speed . . . Five-foot-11, 185-pound RHP Kevin Vent filled the closer's role earmarked for Wright and showed an average fastball (88-92 mph) and a true slider . . . RHP Brandon Love expects to be drafted in the first two rounds. He bears a striking resemblance to Wright and has a better track record. He has a loose arm and throws in the low 90s. He needs to develop a curveball.

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