#24 Mississippi Baseball 2014 Preview

Mississippi Rebels

Overall Rank: #24
Conference Rank: #6 SEC
#24 Mississippi Baseball 2014 Preview
Mississippi Team Page


Ole Miss, following its 11th NCAA appearance under head coach Mike Bianco, will hope to make it 12 in 2014. But they will need to do so without its top two hitters and pitchers from a season ago. Bianco, in his 14th season in a Rebels uniform, will hope to build off last season, which saw his squad post a 19-1 start to the season through the first 20 games, the best start to a season in program history.  Ole Miss will hope to use one of the nation’s best recruiting classes to a earn their 19th NCAA Tournament trip.

2013: 38-24, 15-15
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Bianco

Field Players:
Ole Miss will rely on Austin Anderson, who returns after starting 58 games at shortshop while batting .310, third-best on the team and the best average among returning players. The senior also drove in 39 runs, which is best amongst returners, and struck out a team-low 13 times, which ranked into the top 50 in the NCAA. Auston Bousfield will be back in a Rebels uniform for his junior season after racking up 61 hits, which included ten doubles, three triples and two home runs. He also had a team-high nine steals a year ago. Additionally, Preston Overbey will be looked to for power after he drove in 37 in 2013 and tied for the team-high in home runs with five. The senior played 59 games over four different positions (first base, second, right field and left field). Among the 12 freshman on campus this year for the Rebels, coach Bianco is likely looking for offense from infielder Dalton Dulin, who was an All-America selection, and J.B. Woodman, an All-American outfielder from Orlando, who hit .575 his senior year while being selected as class 6A Player of the Year in Florida. Both are likely starters and hopefully big contributors.

Sam Smith is the top returning starter for Ole Miss. He posted a 3.41 earned run average in 15 starts and 68.2 innings worked. Senior Aaron Greenwood may have his role elevated to either starter or closer after a 2.66 ERA in 27 relief appearances. He also struck out 43, which is best among the returners, while walking just ten batters. Junior Josh Laxer is the only other Rebel to return who started more than two games. He posted 3.21 ERA in12 appearances and 42.0 innings of work. After that, the Rebels will be gain contributions from many inexperienced pitchers and newcomers. Freshman Wyatt Short could be pegged for a high amount of contributions after a 9-2 record with a 1.20 ERA with 102 strikeouts and 22 walks over 70.0 innings pitched last year. Christian Trent comes to Oxford from Delgado Community College, where he nearly averaged a strike out per inning with 72 in 74.2 innings of work. Trent also posted a 9-2 record with a 2.77 ERA a season ago.

Who to Watch:
With most of last season’s main contributors gone, keep an eye on J.B. Woodman, who comes from the state of Florida and passed on the Gators and Seminoles to suit up for the Rebels. Woodman also skipped on playing the majors after being drafted by the Mets. He is listed at 6-foot 2-inches and 190 pounds, which gives Ole Miss more speed. Woodman is reported as a line-drive hitter to all parts of the field and hopefully can develop more power to help his new team fill the void left from last season.

Final Projection:
Ole Miss will be up against a lot this season. Not only are the Rebels battling a deep SEC, they also need to replace their best players from a year ago. A lot of progression from returning players is needed, and likely expected, plus a strong, deep recruiting class will give coach Bianco a lot to play with. With Ole Miss, the hope and strong outlook comes from its coach, who is now the school’s all-time wins leader and has made 11 NCAA tournament appearances. He will need to battle a very tough road SEC schedule, but should the Rebels be able to earn a split, like it did a year ago, and grab a sixth place finish in the SEC it would lead to a tournament appearance.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Auston Bousfield, OF, 241
Hits: Austin Anderson, IF, 66
Home Runs: Preston Overbey, IF/OF, 5
RBIs: Austin Anderson, IF, 39
Runs: Austin Bousfield, OF, 45
Stolen Bases: Austin Bousfield, OF, 9

Wins: Aaron Greenwood, RHP, 3; Sam Smith, RHP, 3
Innings Pitched: Sam Smith, RHP, 68.2
Strikeouts: Aaron Greenwood, RHP, 43
Saves: Aaron Greenwood, RHP, 2

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#19 Chris Ellis

Madness 2014 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#25 Evan Anderson


See All Baseball Top 44 Previews