Ficociello, Moore Sign Pro Contracts


FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas infielder Dominic Ficociello and pitcher Brandon Moore didn’t close the door on a potential return to the Razorbacks after being drafted as juniors in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.

They did this week, though. Both are heading off to professional baseball.

Ficociello, who was drafted in the 12th round, signed with the Detroit Tigers on Friday. Moore signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after being selected in the 17th round. The two were among the 11 Razorbacks selected earlier this month.

“Pro ball is pro ball,” Moore said last week before signing with the Brewers. “Wherever you get drafted doesn’t matter as long as you get there and perform.”

Ficociello hit .247 with 17 RBIs during his junior season, which was slowed early on by an oblique injury. The Fullerton, Calif., native hit .294 during his career and started 171 games at first base, second base and third base.

It was the second time Ficociello was drafted by the Tigers after being picked in the 23rd round in the 2010 MLB Draft. He’ll be part of an organization that has selected former Razorbacks like Drew Smyly and James McCann the past few years.

“I just thought it was destiny,” Ficociello said about being picked again by Detroit this summer. “I think the Tigers like the Razorbacks. They’ve drafted quite a few of us over the years whether it be out of high school or out of the university.”

Ficociello spent most of his Arkansas career at first base, but was drafted as a third baseman by the Tigers. He has been assigned to play for the Connecticut Tigers, which is Detroit’s Class A Short Season affiliate.

“When the scout called me, he said, ‘We drafted you as a third baseman, but we’d like to see where else you can play. We know you can play first base,’” Ficociello said last week. “He told me, ‘If you hit, we just want to get you in the lineup no matter where.’ I don’t know, I could end up playing a little bit in the outfield, or I could end up playing second base. It really doesn’t matter to me.

“They said just to be ready to play wherever they need me to play.”

Moore, a Van Buren native, went 1-4 with a 2.68 earned run average last season. The right-hander spent most of his career working in relief out of the bullpen and logged a 10-7 record with a 2.85 ERA in 71 appearances as a Razorback. The 71 appearances – which include 14 starts – ranks sixth in school history.

Moore — who also announced via Twitter on Thursday he proposed to his girlfriend before heading off to begin his professional career — has been assigned to the Helena (Mont.) Brewers, Milwaukee’s rookie league team. He’ll remain teammates with former Arkansas pitcher Barrett Astin, who also signed with the Brewers this week after being selected in the third round of the draft.

“The opportunity to go play with him, that’s awesome,” Moore said last week. “You kind of go here for three or four years expecting to never play with these guys again and Barrett and I have the chance to play together for years to come. So I think that’s really cool. He’s been one of my best friends since we got here.”

Moore, Astin and Ficociello join Trent Daniel (Colorado Rockies, 17th round), Jacob Morris (Chicago White Sox, 24th round), Randall Fant (Houston Astros, 29th round) and Matt Vinson (Arizona Diamondbacks, 37th round) as drafted Razorbacks to sign.

Pitchers Ryne Stanek (Tampa Bay Rays, 1st round) and Colby Suggs (Miami Marlins, 2nd round) have not signed pro contracts. Neither has first baseman Eric Fisher, who was selected in the 30th round by the Miami Marlins.

Fisher was a redshirt sophomore in 2013 and is scheduled to play in the Cape Cod League this summer. He will likely return to the Razorbacks for 2014.

Players have until July 12 to sign with the teams that drafted them.