The Ole Miss Rebels did not meet the high expectations of myself and BWE, but as I sat down recently to peruse the fabled Ole Miss athletic department website, I noticed that some very quality talent is coming back next year along with a few deficiencies.
Obviously, Drew Pomeranz will be back. Phillip Irwin, Jordan Henry and Evan Button have signed minor league contracts already. But who else will be on the squad next year and who will take the place of greats like Logan Power and um, Brett Bukvich? Michael Hubbard?
Who's leaving? Here's a list of seniors that are gone:
Brett Basham, Kyle Henson, Scott Bittle, Michael Hubbard, Jeremy Travis, Brett Bukvich, Logan Power.
You lose the only two catchers that had significant time behind the dish from last year(Basham and Henson) along with a pitcher who was inconsistent, two outfielders that were role players and one of the best closers in the college game.
The players that we have confirmed signing contracts are:
Phillip Irwin, Jordan Henry, Evan Button and Nathan Baker.
Henry was a great lead-off man with great speed that you can't teach. Button took up a lot of innings and he can be replaced, Baker could have had a great chance to join Pom in the rotation and Irwin was one of the most consistent pitchers of the 2009 season.
Here's a few impact players who are coming back for next year:
Drew Pomeranz, Matt Smith, Jake Morgan, Zach Miller, Kevin Mort, David Goforth, Mike/Matt Snyder, Tim Ferguson.
You can fill out the infield with the players that will be coming back listed above. Pomeranz will be the Friday starter, and it seems that Bianco feels confident in Aaron Barrett's ability to be a weekend starter. Barrett could be on the same track as a Craig Rodriguez in my opinion.
The Rebels have four more community college pitchers joining the staff for next year. High school pitchers Bruce Oursler and David Renfroe can also play in the infield, plus their future is unknown as Renfroe was chosen by the Red Sox in a high round and could be gettin' MAD SCRILLAAAAAA for his game.
Here's a look at how the line-up might look in 2010:
C: Taylor Hightower
1B: Matt Smith
2B: Tim Ferguson
SS: Kevin Mort
3B: Mike/Matt Snyder
CF: Taylor Hashman
RF: David Phillips
LF: Mike/Matt Snyder
There's four possible OF candidates coming in for the 2010 season. Miles Hamblin(who might be a chess champion by the sound of his name) and Chad Hunter are both community college guys that should immediately bolster the line-up. At least that has been the strategy for the past few years. Plug in some community college guys and hope for the best.
Just glancing at the line-up I see that defense will not be a huge issue for this group. Smith, Mort and Ferguson will be solid and whichever Snyder plays third will catch on quickly as Logan Williams will be waiting in the wings.
Most of this information is very preliminary, and we'll have to wait and see which players end up signing contracts to play in the minors. If David Renfroe decides to come to Ole Miss, he will most likely be slotted into the weekend rotation. The Rebels will need all the arms they can get.