#34 Ole Miss Baseball 2018 Preview

Ole Miss Rebels
Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #10 SEC
Ole Miss had a rough 2017 season as they failed to make the NCAA Tournament. They struggled all year long away from Swayze Field. The Rebels went into the SEC Tournament needing to do some damage in Hoover and were promptly eliminated by Auburn and thus Ole Miss was sent home early for the summer. With the renovations taking place at Swayze Field to enhance the Rebels program, the pressure has to be ramped up a bit on head coach Mike Bianco and his staff to get Ole Miss back to the NCAA Tournament and prove that 2017 was an aberration.
2017: 32-25, 14-16
2017 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Bianco
Key Departed Players:
Tate Blackman, IF, .302 BA, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 9 SB
Colby Bortles, IF, .269 BA, 10 HR, 42 RBI
David Parkinson, P, 3.39 ERA, 77.0 IP, 24 BB, 76 SO
Key Returning Players:
Nick Fortes, C, .319 BA, 5 HR, 32 RBI
Will Golsan, IF/OF, .312 BA, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB
Ryan Olenek, IF/OF, .272 BA, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 10 SB
Tim Rowe, OF, .254 BA, 3 HR, 20 RBI
Grae Kissinger, IF, .175 BA, 2 HR, 16 RBI
Ryan Rolison, P, 3.06 ERA, 61.2 IP, 24 BB, 64 SO
James McArthur, P, 4.73 ERA, 64.2 IP, 24 BB, 60 SO
Dallas Woolfolk, P, 2.15 ERA, 37.2 IP, 5 BB, 41 SO, 12 SV
Houston Roth, P, 1.57 ERA, 28.2 IP, 8 BB, 41 SO
Will Ethridge, P, 2.41 ERA, 41.0 IP, 11 BB, 50 SO
Will Stokes, P, 2.67 ERA, 33.2 IP, 10 BB, 35 SO
Pitching is going to have to carry the Rebels in 2018 if they are going to end up back in postseason after a one year absence. Ryan Rolison and James McArthur will be back in the weekend rotation and there will be a battle for the third spot as David Parkinson was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 12th round. Will Ethridge could be a frontrunner for that third spot as he did make four starts in 2017 and was very effective with his control, only walking 11 batters in 41 innings. Dallas Woolfolk will be back as the closer and he should contend to for National Closer of the Year type honors. Woolfolk was lights out in 2017 with 12 saves and only walked five batters in 37.2 innings of work while striking out 41. The presence of Woolfolk should allow Ole Miss to shorten the game a bit especially once they start SEC play. Nick Fortes and Will Golsan will be the key for the Rebels in their quest to be better offensively in 2018. These two players combined for eight homeruns and 54 runs batted in last season. If the pitching stays healthy and progresses from 2017, you can expect Ole Miss to win around 35-38 games in 2018.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament