Monday, June 4, is the first day of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. And while there are likely a few ongoing evaluations of a few of the nation's best high school or college prospects, now is as good a time to begin considering what sort of impact this will have on our Ole Miss Rebels going forward into next season (because if there's one thing we're good at, it's looking towards next year).
As I'm sure you're well aware of this considering how often we like to make mention of it, Mike Bianco and staff pulled in one of the nation's highest ranked signing classes this past year, meaning that we are highly subject to the inevitable deflections out of the recruiting class as the more highly regarded high schoolers we've signed will surely opt out of a few years in college to secure their seven-figure major league signing bonuses. Such is the dilemma college programs face when recruiting such highly regarded prospects.
Along with those high school seniors, a few of our team's newly draft eligible juniors should be expected to leave Ole Miss for the pros as well. A few, though, could potentially stay, despite being drafted, in order to use another year in the college ranks to improve their stock for 2013's draft - a move which is considered risky but necessary for anyone looking for some sort of payout.
This post will look at these draft eligible players and describe what we feel makes them draftable. We'll then guess as to the likelihood of them wearing a Rebel uniform come next NCAA baseball season. We could be way off on all of this but, hey, that's what we're here for - wild, comment generating speculation - right? We, obviously, won't be focusing on the program's seniors because they haven't a choice in the matter as to whether or not they'll be suiting up for the Rebels this fall. We do, though, thank them for their hard work and wish them the best of luck in their professional endeavors.
First, the high schoolers most likely to earn a high draft pick:
Shortstop Gavin Cecchini - The Louisiana native is regarded as one of the best overall baseball players in high school ball, period. His older brother signed with LSU but left early a couple of years ago, and is now a third base prospect in the Red Sox organization. He's got all the tools necessary to be an MLB infielder, which means he'll be drafted in the first round, and probably no later than 20th overall. Our guess: he's gone, which sucks.
Catcher Stryker Trahan - Another Louisianan with a name reminiscent of a minor comic book villain, Trahan is considered the best high school catcher in the draft and one of the top overall prospects at the position. He's also a likely first rounder, which means that there's not much of a chance he'll be behind the dish for the Rebels. Our guesss: MLB all the way.
Pitcher Ty Hensley - Cecchini and Trahan are certainly gone. Hensley, though, well, he's probably gone too but I'd wager that there's a slightly greater chance we'll see him in Oxford. He's a tall, strong-armed right hander who also has some significant pop off of his bat. He's projected as a first or second round pick. Our guess: There's a chance, but a small one that he'll be a Rebel.
Pitcher Brady Bramlett - He's a big right handed pitcher out of Tennessee who has been listed to Perfect Game's high school all-regional team. He'll be picked in one of the earlier rounds, but not too early to keep him out of school. Our guess: slight advantage to Ole Miss that he comes to campus.
Pitcher Zach Irwin - A Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection out of Madison Central High School (go Jags), Irwin's a powerful lefty, which is something our team needs badly. He recently suffered a knee injury, but we don't think that'll keep him off of campus. Our guess: slight advantage to Ole Miss.
Now, on to our draft eligible juniors:
Pitcher Dylan Chavez - When Chavez is on, he has looked solid, but he is inconsistent and hasn't found a real role in the rotation. Is he a starter? Is he middle-relief? Is he a closer? For us, who knows. For the big leagues, he's probably a minor-league set-up man or closer. Our guess: 50/50. If we were him, we'd come back, but we can't be sure where he'll be drafted and how that will impact his decision making.
Perpetual Pinch Hitter John Gatlin - He doesn't even have a real role on this team. Our guess: Coming back.
Pitcher Brett Huber - Huber's preformance thus far has been almost identical to that of Dylan Chavez's. It sucks that his elbow's hurt because that type of nagging pain can impact ones draft status. Our guess: Probably staying.
Outfielder Tanner Mathis - He's a left handed hitter with a .442 on base percentage. Somebody will give him some money. Our guess: Possibly gone, but since he lacks significant power he could return and improve his draft stock for 2013.
Third Baseman Andrew Mistone - His defense is pretty good, but he's a third baseman who doesn't have significant power nor a penchant for getting on and around the bases. We need him and he needs us. Our guess: Probably coming back.
Pitcher Blair Wright - 9.2 innings pitched? Yeah, he's not going anywhere. Our guess: Coming back.
Second Baseman Alex Yarbrough - A powerful second baseman with a .557 slugging percentage and .453 on base percentage who has only committed one error all season. Yeah, he's gonna make a shitload of money come the Draft. Our
guess 100% pure knowledge: Way gone, and we wish him the best of luck in the pros.
Pitcher Tanner Bailey - Too inconsistent. Our guess: Coming back. He'll use his senior year to improve his draft stock, if he can.