On Friday, the Ole Miss Rebels open the 2015 baseball season with weekend matchup against William & Mary at Swayze Field. We are getting so close to the anticipated season that we can smell the freshly cut grass at Swayze and feel the beer showers in right field. Are you Ready? We are prepared to bring you the complete preview of the upcoming season.
The Rebels will return 20 players from last season and will welcome 18 newcomers. Ole Miss witnessed a huge hit in their roster to the 2014 MLB Draft after their successful run in the 2014 College World Series. However, head coach Mike Bianco also showed his success in recruiting, by hauling in 12 new high school prospects and six from the junior college level during the off-season. In our last article, we looked at who was not returning in 2015. In this one, we are going to give you a guide to some of the new faces sporting the Ole Miss uniform.
Last season, a lot of the Rebels’ success came from the production in the outfield. The core of that group was Braxton Lee in left, Auston Bousfield in center, and Will Jameison in the infamous right field. All three of those key players from last season are now gone. Lee and Bousfield moved onto the minor league levels, and Jameison apparently quit baseball all together.
The only one returning who made an impact in the outfield last season is J.B. Woodman. He will start in centerfield in the upcoming season. Cameron Dishon, who made some appearances last season (mainly at the plate), will make the start in right field. Bianco has the left field position in question as to who will be making the starts. He likes three guys, and they are all newcomers. Let’s take a look at who will possibly be making appearances in left field.
Connor Cloyd (Junior | JUCO: Tacoma Community College) B:L | T:R: Connor Cloyd comes to Ole Miss from Maple Valley, Washington. He lettered two years at Tacoma Community College where he was coached by Ryan Mummert. Cloyd was a first team All-League selection and named first team All-NWAACC. Cloyd batted .361 in 30 games played, knocking in 21 runs, six doubles, two triples and scored 45 runs as a sophomore. As a freshman, he hit .310 in 40 games, and hit three home runs, nine doubles and five triples, drove in 20 runs and scored 40 runs. He projected to be the Rebels starting left fielder in the opening game against William & Mary on Friday.
Jun 20, 2014; Omaha, NE, USA; Mississippi Rebels right fielder J.B. Woodman (12) catches this fly ball hit by Virginia Cavaliers batter Joe McCarthy (not pictured) with the bases loaded ending the first inning during game twelve of the 2014 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Watkins (Junior | JUCO: Delgado Community College) B: L | T:R: Josh Watkins may see some time in the outfield this season, but you may this talented Alabama native prospect shine as a designated hitter. He was named a JUCO All-American while at Delgado and also a member of the All-Conference team. Watkins even made an appearance in the Junior College World Series. In his one year at Delgado, he hauled in a .363 batting average, four home runs, 51 RBIs, 17 doubles, three triples and 56 scored runs.
Kyle Watson (Freshman | Southhaven, Mississippi): Watson is actually an infielder, but during the fall, he spent some time in the outfield. He has impressed Bianco so much during the off-season that Watson maybe thrown in there somewhere. Watson attended DeSoto Central High School where he played middle infield for head coach Mark Monoghan. In 40 games as a senior, Watson recorded a .230 batting average, with one home run, 20 RBIs, eight doubles, two triples and scored 30 runs. He finished high school with a .345 batting average, with one home run, 80 RBIs, 20 doubles, eight triples, 100 runs scored and a .940 fielding percentage. As a true freshman, Watson could make a huge impact to the Rebels’ 2015 season.