Freshman Spotlight: Arkansas’ Hunter Dietz Primed For Significant Role


Image credit: Hunter Dietz (24) of Calvary Christian High School during the 44th FACA Baseball All-Star Classic on June 12, 2023 at Historic Henley Field in Lakeland, Florida. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)

When it comes to class of 2023 southpaws who made it to college, Hunter Dietz is poised to have as productive a 2024 season as anyone. 

Last spring, the imposing 6-foot-6, 230-pound Dietz was part of a star-studded Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.) rotation that featured Liam Peterson (No. 91 on BA 500) and fourth-round pick Landon Maroudis. Against top notch competition, Dietz put together an impressive season where he pitched his way to a perfect 9-0 record with a 1.47 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 57 innings. 

There was plenty of buzz surrounding Dietz heading into the July draft and although there was a chance he would be selected in the top five rounds, Dietz ultimately decided to take his talents to Arkansas where he projects to be a key piece for Coach Dave Van Horn. Dietz checks plenty of boxes and has the makings of a future Friday night starter in the SEC and potential day one draft pick. He’s a tall, physical, lefthanded pitcher with little effort in his delivery, a starter’s pitch mix, and above-average control of his arsenal.

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On the mound, Dietz has a loose, clean arm action and attacks from a high, three-quarters slot. He has good direction and works well down the mound. Dietz features a fastball, slider and a changeup with his low-80s slider being the best of the three with plus potential. The slider is most effective against lefthanded hitters with two-plane break and ample horizontal movement. Dietz’s above-average pitchability also enables him to land the pitch for strikes against righthanded hitters, though at times it can get loopy.

During the high school season Dietz pitched in the low 90s with his heater and touched 94, though it sat 93-95 in his first fall outing for the Razorbacks. He stays behind the baseball nicely and it has carrying life through the zone. Combining Dietz’s advanced command with the velocity and pitch shape makes the fastball an above-average offering. 

Dietz’s changeup is the least polished pitch in his repertoire, sitting in the mid 80s without a ton of life. If he is able to take a few ticks of velocity off the offering and add some tumbling and fading life, it has the chance to become a quality third pitch. 

Arkansas in 2024 projects to have one of the most formidable rotations of any team in the country. It will likely feature a pair of premium lefthanders in Texas Tech transfer Mason Molina (6-2, 3.67 ERA) and junior Hagen Smith (8-2, 3.64 ERA), as well as the electric Brady Tygart (3-1, 3.20 ERA). Dietz probably won’t be logging many weekend starts just yet, but he will certainly be in the discussion to be the team’s Friday starter in 2025. 

Regardless of how Coach Van Horn decides to use the decorated freshman, he is on track for a prominent role on the pitching staff and will log meaningful innings in his first college season. With three successful seasons at Arkansas, including two that are likely to be spent in the weekend rotation, Dietz has first round upside in 2026.

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