Daniel set to sign with Rockies today

Trent Daniel, former Bryant and University of Arkansas baseball star, was set to sign a contract[more] with the Colorado Rockies today after he was picked by the National League team in the 17th round of the annual June draft last Thursday.

It’s the second time Daniel has been drafted. He was picked in the 23rd round in 2011 after his first season at Arkansas as a redshirt sophomore. He continued his collegiate career, however, and finished as a senior this spring.

“It improved six rounds so that was nice,” Daniel said on Monday night. “The way they do it with (college) seniors, they don’t give you very much money. But I’m not worried about that. You’ve just got to get out there and play and earn your money.”

He was at home, following the draft on the MLB website when he got the word.

“I’d actually just gotten out of the shower,” he said. “I hear my phone ringing as I’m getting dressed and it’s (scout) Jesse (Retzlaff) of the Rockies. I’d talked to him earlier. When I answered, he said, ‘Hey, man, we just picked you.’ Then I heard my name on the laptop.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Daniel continued. “Two years ago when I got picked I was up in Fayetteville so I wasn’t with my family. (This time) I was with my brother (Hayden) and my dad (Tom) and my mom (Kathy) was on her way home. So it was pretty exciting to be with them for it this time.”

Retzlaff indicated the Daniel, a left-handed pitcher, would be assigned to a Class A team. The Rockies have four, the Ashville (N.C.) Tourists in the South Atlantic League; the Tri-City Dust Devils of Pasco, Wash., in the Northwest League; the Grand Junction (Colo.) Rockies in the Pioneer League; and an entry in the Dominican Summer League. Ashville or Tri-City are his most probably destinations at first.

Wherever he lands, Daniel said, he’s just glad for the opportunity.

“Especially since I was done at Arkansas, for sure,” he related. “It was like ‘Am I going to be done? Am I going to get picked?’ I’m ready to get to work, though. It’s a good feeling when you’ve worked hard and you have the support of the family and the town, for it all to come together.”

Used mostly as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen this season for the Hogs, Daniel finished with a 2.55 earned run average with 24 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. In his three years in Fayetteville, he was 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 64 games including five starts. In 96 1/3 innings, he struck out 94 and allowed 79 hits. Opponents hit just .229 against him.

But the Razorbacks fell short of their goal of returning to the College World Series this year, losing in Regional play at Kansas State.

“I was definitely not pleased with the season," Daniel allowed. "I thought (personally) I had a pretty good season. I think it was probably my best season up there, but I was more concerned about how we did as a team. I feel like we should still be playing right now. But that’s just how it goes. It’s baseball.” 

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