LAFAYETTE, La. – Ole Miss is headed to the College World Series, able to boast of having the most players drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year Draft. Nine players were selected by teams during three-day event that concluded on Saturday.
The Rebels’ opponent in the Lafayette super regional, the Ragin’ Cajuns, had seven players drafted.
“There is an awful lot of talented players on Ole Miss and that’s why this is such an intriguing matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette. They are two of the most talented teams in the country, and the draft kind of showed that,” said Aaron Fitt, the national writer for Baseball America. “There are only a handful of teams that had seven or more guys drafted. There has been a lot of talk about parity in college baseball this year, but of those last few teams standing right now, these two are among the most talented teams we have in college baseball.”
Chris Ellis, the starter in Game 1 on Saturday, was the highest draft pick for the Rebels, selected in the third round by the Los Angeles Angels. Fitt talked highly about Ellis despite his inability to fill up the strike zone in the opener.
“Ellis certainly has a bright future. He’s got a great body and a great arm and I think that he’s shown he has taken that step forward and that he can throw strikes and get outs,” Fitt said. “At the beginning of the year, there were some scouts that were questioning his toughness, to put it bluntly. He proved to everybody he can be a Friday starter in the SEC. I think he has a chance to get to the big leagues and be a back to middle of the rotation type starter.”
The other eight Rebels who were drafted: center fielder Auston Bousfield (fifth, Baltimore) relief pitcher Josh Laxer (ninth, Detroit), third baseman Austin Anderson (ninth, Baltimore), left fielder Braxton Lee (12th, Tampa Bay), catcher Will Allen (13th, Detroit), reliever Hawtin Buchanan (20th, Seattle), reliever Aaron Greenwood (28th, Houston), and Sunday’s starter, Christian Trent, who went to the L.A. Dodgers in the 29th round.
Of the remaining drafted Rebels, Fitt felt like Laxer was a good value for Tigers in the ninth. He felt like Laxer, a native of Madison, had an exciting arm and felt like he had finally found a role coming out of the bullpen.
ULL’s starter in Sunday’s game, Carson Baranik, was also selected by the Dodgers in the 33rd round. Austin Robichaux, who started for the Cajuns Saturday, will join Ellis with the Angels, after being selected by the organization in the 18th round.