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Goodheart signs with Phillies

by Matt Jones | July 14, 2021 at 11:23 a.m.
Arkansas designated hitter Matt Goodheart runs toward first base during a game against Georgia on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Matt Goodheart, a two-time All-SEC designated hitter at Arkansas, has signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The signing was announced by the Razorbacks. The Phillies have not announced the signing.

Goodheart was not drafted during the 20-round draft that concluded Tuesday. He had one season of eligibility remaining at Arkansas.

“There was a lot of emotion going on,” Goodheart said following a game he played Tuesday with the Orleans Firebirds in the Cape Cod League. “I was disappointed, obviously, that I didn’t get to hear my name called; there’s no way around that. All I was looking for was a chance, you know, and I was hoping someone was going to give me a chance, no matter how it came about. Fortunately I got the call right after (batting practice) and I was ready to do it, ready to go.”

Goodheart, who grew up in Magnolia, transferred to Arkansas prior to the 2019 season following a year at San Jacinto (Texas) College. He had a career batting average of .303 with the Razorbacks, hit 20 home runs and had 98 RBI.

Goodheart had a team-best .348 average in 2019 as part of a team that played in the College World Series. He hit a career-high 13 home runs this year.

He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2019 and voted first-team All-SEC this year as a designated hitter and utility player.

Goodheart’s draft stock likely fell due to a lack of a true defensive position. A nagging shoulder injury that required surgery in 2019 relegated him mostly to DH, but he played in the outfield toward the end of his final season.

On June 23, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn indicated he was unsure of Goodheart’s future plans.

“Guys like Goodheart, he’s been around for a while,” Van Horn said. “He’d like to sign, but if he doesn’t I think you could see him back.”

Undrafted free agents can sign for up to $20,000.

Arkansas had nine players and six signees drafted this week, including position players center fielder Christian Franklin (fourth round) and catcher Casey Opitz (eighth round) by the Chicago Cubs. Franklin and Opitz are expected to sign and turn pro.

Goodheart, Franklin and Opitz were three-year starters. Arkansas should return four every-day starters in 2022 — first baseman Brady Slavens, second baseman Robert Moore, shortstop Jalen Battles and outfielder Cayden Wallace.

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