A few baseball notes as Opening Day nears.
Junior shortstop Errol Robinson is getting a lot of preseason attention. Two other Ole Miss players who might be flying under the radar a bit because of 2015 performances are also getting some attention.
MLBProspectGuide.com promotes itself as having the “deepest minor league baseball rankings that you will find anywhere.”
It also picks a top 300 draft prospects – combining both high school and college players in the list — and right now its lists junior outfielder J.B. Woodman as its No. 27 prospect.
It also lists sophomore infielder Tate Blackman as a shortstop and calls him its No. 36 prospect. Blackman won’t be draft-eligible until after the 2017 college season.
An Orlando native who was the Class 6A player of the year as a high school senior, Woodman was named freshman All-America in 2014 after hitting .298 in 58 games and 168 at-bats on the Rebels’ College World Series team.
Last year Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco tried get Woodman to hit more for power. Results were mixed. Woodman hit five more home runs and had three more RBI. His average dropped to .274, and his strikeouts increased from 34 as a freshman to 59 as a sophomore.
Woodman is feeling comfortable at the plate right now.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen him swing, from the start of September to now, consistently for five months. This is the best I’ve seen him day in and day out. He’s obviously swinging it well and feeling good about himself. He’s been a leader, a good defender out in the outfield, a guy that can play any of the three positions. I expect him to have a big year,” Bianco said.
Blackman was ranked among the top 50 high school players by Perfect Game in 2014.
He was an immediate starter at second base as a freshman last year but never seemed to find his way offensively. That may be about to change.
“Blackman has played really well this fall and early spring. He has got to be the leading hitter. He’s hit home runs and seems to get two or three hits every intrasquad,” Bianco said.
Ole Miss opens the regular season at home a week from Friday with the first of three games against Florida International.