College | Story | 4/26/2019

Scout Take: Ole Miss

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Thomas Dillard (Ole Miss Athletics)

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Ole Miss Rebels

What Happened: In one of the closest SEC series' to date, the Rebels were unable to outlast Auburn at Auburn and dropped two of the three games in the series. This isn't an indictment of Ole Miss, however, as the Rebels were wildly impressive and boast one of the most complete lineups in the SEC. The Rebs host Texas A&M this weekend and they have a lot of pieces to give the top 10-ranked Aggies some trouble. 

Carrying Tool: Offensive depth. This offense is relentless from the leadoff man to the nine-hole and that was even without the present of standout senior Ryan Olenek. From the top of the order with high contact guys like Anthony Servideo and Grae Kessinger to the middle-of-the-order sluggers in Thomas Dillard and Tyler Keenan, there's always someone who will make you pay. Cole Zabowski might have the biggest raw power on the entire team and he hits in the bottom third of the lineup to give you an idea as to how long this lineup is. 

Concerns: Young rotation. With the exception of Will Ethridge, the remaining spots in Ole Miss' weekend rotation consist of two true freshmen and while both have shown flashes of success they are still 18- or 19-year-olds running through the SEC. Doug Nikhazy and Gunnar Hoglund have both pitched well in favor of struggling veterans like Houston Roth, Jordan Fowler and Connor Green. Both young pitchers are talented but will have to pitch with consistency as they get through the gauntlet of their schedule. 

Best Player on the Field: Thomas Dillard and Grae Kessinger. Dillard, the switch-hitting physical bruiser for Ole Miss, didn't even have his best weekend offensively but it's clear he has significant strength off the barrel and is able to come through with timely hits. Kessinger has been the picture of consistency for the Rebels with good defensive traits over at shortstop with good hitterish qualitites too. Dillard and Kessinger have been two key pieces for Ole Miss and they look to lead them in what might be their final year in Oxford.

Fearless Forecast: Super Regionals. Head Coach Mike Bianco hasn't been to the Supers since 2014 and this junior class, consisting of high school grads from 2016, was one of the more talented and complete class Bianco brought to Oxford. There's consistency throughout the lineup with a number of impact pieces and the rotation is led by Ethridge and talented young starters. There's a good amount of raw talent here and if they can get hot towards the end of the year the Rebels have the depth, and firepower, for a long postseason run. 

Players covered: Thomas Dillard, Grae Kessinger, Tyler Keenan, Cooper Johnson, Cole Zabowski, Anthony Servideo, Josh Hall, Will Ethridge, Doug Nikhazy.

Thomas Dillard
Slugging Ole Miss outfielder Thomas Dillard might be one of the biggest risers this year in terms of draft status as he hasn't been able to stop hitting and has entrenched himself in the day one conversation for this year's MLB draft. Dillard is a switch-hitting corner outfielder with plus raw power and has been on a monster tear through the early part of the season. 

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