The Ole Miss Rebels were hit hard by the draft in 2014, losing numerous senior, juniors and even a pair of signees in the first two rounds. They did have a few key wins however, namely holding onto ace pitcher Christian Trent after he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 29th round. Another notable draft victory came by way of signing second baseman Tate Blackman after he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 20th round.
Blackman had a very accomplished career at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Fla. In one of the elite prep baseball scenes in the world, he hit .439 as a senior and was named first-team All-State and a Louisville Slugger High School All-American. Perfect Game even ranked him as one of their 50 best high school players in the country.
At 6’0 and 180 Lbs., Blackman has above-average size for the position and has elite athleticism. He can field his position really well, has a quick first-step, and gets good zip on the ball over to first. On the base paths, he has tremendous speed, clocking in a 6.65 60-yard-dash at a Perfect Game showcase. At the plate he has lightning-quick bat speed due to a short approach to the ball. He doesn’t get cheated on the inside-half and still possesses the power to drive a “mistake pitch.”
Where Blackman fits into the lineup is unclear as he has all the tools needed to hit in the leadoff or No. 2 slot. If head coach Mike Bianco chooses, he can bat Blackman in the bottom half of the order, building depth throughout the Rebel nine. It’s rare to see a freshman so prepared to play in the infield right away, but Blackman figures to be a critical cog to the operation and has an inside track to Freshman All-American honors.
Recapping the list thus far:
18. Kyle Watson, INF
16. Wyatt Short, LHP
14. Connor Cloyd, OF
13. Holt Perdzock, C
11. Tate Blackman, 2B
Michael Quirk is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at email@example.com.