Thought last weekend's ugly regional sweep meant you could stop stressing about Rebel baseball until next February? Think again. The MLB Draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday, will have a major say in whether Ole Miss can improve its postseason performance in 2017. Depending on how high they're selected, draft-eligible guys like J.B. Woodman, Errol Robinson and Brady Bramlett will be deciding whether to turn pro or come back to Oxford to improve their stock.
Woodman, who became the first Rebel off the board in the second round to the Blue Jays, finally lived up to his five-tool billing as a junior: he was second on the team with a .323 average, led the SEC with 15 homers and was fifth in the conference with a .578 slugging percentage. Errol, who was named a preseason All-American in February, didn't have the junior season he was hoping for, but did well enough down the stretch to come off the board in the sixth round to the Dodgers. Henri Lartigue, who led all SEC catchers in batting average this season, followed Errol off the board a round later, going 197th overall to the Phillies.
Don't expect any of those three back. The money for Woodman's draft slot is about $1.1 million, while Errol and Lartigue can expect to make between $234,000 and $247,000 apiece. Errol has pretty much confirmed he's gone.
Hey @Dodgers! Let's play some ball!— Errol Robinson (@errol_robinson6) June 10, 2016
It'll be interesting to see what happens with Brady Bramlett, who went to the Red Sox in the 13th round. The redshirt junior, who was the Friday starter this season, already has his degree and might be ready to get his pro career underway. On the flip side, he's big into academics and has designs on being a college AD one day, so he has off-field incentives for spending a fifth year at school.
Notable players not drafted include Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles, who will be back to man second and third base in 2017.
ALL THE CROOTS COMIN
Most significantly, it looks like Ole Miss might end up sustaining minimal losses to its elite crootin class. None of the big names—Thomas Dillard, Grae Kessinger, Cooper Johnson, Ryan Rolison and Will Etheridge—heard their names called earlier than the 26th round, which might be because they've already told pro teams they're heading to Oxford. Rolison, an elite lefty pitcher who throws in the 90s, Cooper Johnson, who some think is the best defensive catcher in the draft, and the Oxford High duo of Dillard and Kessinger have already confirmed they're Oxford-bound.
Couldn't be happier to be a rebel. The grind starts later this summer. #Olemaha— Grae Kessinger (@Swagulater15) June 10, 2016
So excited to get on campus this summer and start my career as a rebel! Big things coming from this class. Hotty Toddy @Swayze_CrazyBSB— Cooper Johnson (@coopj325) June 10, 2016
Tracking the Ole Miss prospects
J.B. Woodman, OF: 2nd round, No. 57 overall to the Toronto Blue Jays
Errol Robinson, INF: 6th round, No. 191 overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers
Henri Lartigue, C: 7th round, No. 197 overall to the Philadelphia Phillies
Chad Smith, RHP: 11th round, No. 323 to the Miami Marlins
Brady Bramlett, RHP: 13th round, No. 388 to the Boston Red Sox
Wyatt Short, LHP: 13th round, No. 404 overall to the Chicago Cubs
Grae Kessinger, signee: 26th round, No. 774 overall to the San Diego Padres
Cooper Johnson, signee: 28th round, No. 828 overall to the Cincinnati Reds
Will Etheridge, signee: 35th round, No. 1,047 overall to the Seattle Mariners
Ryan Rolison, signee: 37th round, No. 1,104 overall to the San Diego Padres
A.J. Brown got drafted!
As in the four-star wide receiver 'croot that Hugh Freeze recently signed out of Starkville. He'll obviously be turning down the offer
because Ole Miss pays better to focus on football, but its still pretty cool. The first Mississippi high schooler to be named to the Dandy Dozen for baseball AND football since Anthony Alford in 2012, Brown will probably play some ball for Mike Bianco in Oxford.