How do you replace Anthony Servideo?
Servideo’s leadership, fielding ability and plate discipline were all good enough for him to be drafted by the Baltimore Orioles after last season was cut short due to COVID-19. He’s one of the few pieces from last year’s Rebel team that isn’t present on the 2021 roster.
So, how do you replace him? Mike Bianco will be looking to a true freshman to do just that.
Jacob Gonzalez is a native of Glendora High School in Glendora, California, where he hit around .400 each year of high school, which is *checks notes* pretty good, per sources. Still, he’s a freshman in the SEC, so there will likely be some adjustments necessary and some accompanying growing pains, but I thought it might be a good idea to look at what Gonzalez has done leading up to this season. Here are a few tweets.
The crown jewel of the @OleMissBSB is SS Jacob Gonzalez.@jakegonzalez717 looks like the next Ole Miss shortstop and he’s also polished enough to step right into the everyday job at the position.— D1Baseball (@d1baseball) January 13, 2021
2020-21 Newcomer Breakdowns: https://t.co/wxA3CpZweA pic.twitter.com/lcKhfKlPXp
It’s lofty praise when the folks at D1Baseball say a freshman shortstop is your team’s crown jewel.
Tim Elko on what stands out to him about freshman shortstop Jacob Gonzalez: "His confidence. He really fits the part. He's a really good player. Not in a cocky way, but he knows what a good player he is. Not a lot fazes him. He just goes out there and does his thing & it shows."— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) January 29, 2021
That’s the captain speaking.
The first home run of 2021 for @jakegonzalez717! It traveled 390 feet and came off the bat at 101 mph! pic.twitter.com/SDJXjXUveX— Ole Miss BSB Analytics (@OMBSBAnalytics) January 30, 2021
Oh, did we mention that he was a pretty solid high school quarterback, too?
In two years as a varsity starter, he threw for 4,432 yards and 59 touchdowns, leading them to an 11-2 record a year ago.
It’s pretty evident that Bianco and the boys trust this young stud if he’s getting an opening day start in the six hole as a freshman. It’s apparent that he’s got what it takes both defensively and offensively, and it should be fun watching a young guy grow and blossom before our very eyes.
Even though he’s young, I think a lot of folks (myself included) will be very impressed by what Gonzalez brings to the table this season as the Rebels try to get to Omaha for the first time since 2014. In case you missed it, Ole Miss has a stable of young talent that made its debut last season, and Gonzalez is just the latest addition to that stable. If he can perform like his fellow middle infielder Peyton Chatagnier, he’ll be off to a good start.
Now the only question is whether or not he and Peyton will do the between-the-legs high five like Peyton and Anthony before him. Time will tell.