The Ole Miss Rebels baseball team is preparing to begin the 2017 season. These Diamond Rebs are depending on the leadership of Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles.
The Ole Miss baseball season is fast approaching. The field crews are preparing the baseball diamond for ground balls, bloop singles and every other play on the field. The Ole Miss Rebels are excited about the upcoming baseball campaign. In addition, the fans are anxious for the start of the season as well.
The Rebels bring in a talented group of freshman into the 2017 season. Therefore, the future appears to be bright. However, the success for this year will depend on the play of Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles. These two guys are poised to be the seasoned leaders that this team needs to make a run at the College World Series.
Both players are part of just a handful of veterans left on this team. Ole Miss is going to need the help of both of their bats if the Rebels will be successful.
More from Ole Hotty Toddy
- Ole Miss Football: How Ole Miss can upset Alabama in top 15 matchup
- Ole Miss Football: Jaxson Dart has a career day against Georgia Tech
- Ole Miss Football: Week 3 preview and odds vs Georgia Tech
- Ole Miss football rises again in the latest AP Poll
- Ole Miss Football: Are the Rebels for real after win vs #22 Tulane?
The SEC baseball coaches selected Ole Miss to finish third in the West. However, that only happens if both of these guys live up to the expectations placed on their shoulder this year.
No. 4-Tate Blackman
In 2016 Tate Blackman had a break out season. The junior second baseman from Altamonte, FL. was third on the team in batting average with .322. His steady bat was a key catalyst to the season Ole Miss had last year. Blackman reached based 58 of 62 games. He needs to keep his consistency up at the plate because the Rebels lost their top two hitters for average last season.
The SEC coaches have voted Blackman 2nd team all-SEC. Defensively he will most likely be manning the middle next to true freshman Grae Kessinger, who will be starting at short stop. He’s going to have to be a vocal leader on that infield. However, his play in the field will be more valuable than his voice.
No. 25-Colby Bortles
Colby Bortles at third base was a constant sight for the Rebels last year. However, his play with the bat in his hand was what he was known for on the diamond. Although he had a modest batting average last year with .269, it was his ability to hit for extra bases that made him dangerous.
Bortles was 2nd on the team in home runs with eight. He was also 2nd on the team in RBIs with 50. However Bortles was superb at hitting doubles. He was 2nd in the SEC with 21 doubles. Just like Blackman, Bortles’ bat will be needed if the Rebels are going to put together a good season. Also, just like Blackman, Bortles was voted SEC 2nd team.
However, his Achilles’ heel is his defense. Last year from third base, he was responsible for 12 errors. The senior from Oviedo, FL. needs to steady defender at the hot corner. Ole Miss will have a few young pitchers this year who will need a solid defense behind them.
The forecast for this season is hard to predict. Therefore in order for the Rebels to have any chance of success, both Bortles and Blackmanmust have their best year. They need to be the leaders on the field. Getting on base by any means will be the difference between winning weekend series or suffering defeats.