SM East shortstop Robert Moore, not yet a junior, signs with Arkansas for college ball

Robert Moore announced this month he has committed to the University of Arkansas. Photo courtesy Robert Moore.

Robert Moore has grown up around baseball.

As the son of Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, he’s had the chance to see the game coached and played at the highest levels since he can remember. But it’s his own remarkable talent in the sport that’s made him a targeted recruit at just 16 years old.

And earlier this month — before he has even started his junior year in high school at SM East — Moore committed to play at the University of Arkansas for college.

A quick shortstop with a great glove and equally impressive bat, Moore started attracting NCAA recruiters as he entered his freshman year of high school.

“It was a little overwhelming at first,” Moore said. “You kind of have to start thinking pretty early about the criteria of what you’re looking for and what the best situation for you will be.”

He had narrowed his options down to five schools — Arkansas, Texas, Texas Christian, Auburn and Wichita State — before announcing his commitment to Arkansas July 16.

“I wanted to be in a program where the coaching staff would be preparing you for success at the next level,” he said. “And it’s important that you like the place. You have to wake up there and go to school, and I loved Fayetteville.”

The fact that his former Lancers teammate Zeb Vermillion is now pitching for Arkansas made the recruiting trip all the more welcoming.

“It’s nice to know someone in the program,” he said. “Zeb came back to town last winter and got to tell me a little more about the program.”

Of course, college is still two years away. And Moore says there’s lots of work to do to prepare. In addition to playing for the high school team in Prairie Village, he’s a member of USA Baseball’s national development team as well as the Royals Scout Team.

“Those are programs where you get some hard, intense practice,” he said. “It’s great training.”