By Adam Brown
The phone call of a lifetime for baseball players starts Sunday as the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft gets underway.
The first team on the clock Sunday will be the Pittsburgh Pirates that will open up the first round. This season will be back to the full 20-rounds of the draft.
In 2020, the draft only had five rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ole Miss starters Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy are projected to go in the first and second round respectively. According to the MLB.com draft board, Hoglund is the 22nd player on the board. The Rebels southpaw, Nikhazy is slated as the 56th player on the board.
The duo was a dominant one-two punch on the mound for the Rebels until Hoglund went down with a torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery. Nikhazy stepped back into the Friday night role and led Ole Miss to their second straight Super Regional championship game.
Hoglund shut the remainder of his season down after his start at Texas A&M (May 7). This season, the right-hander had a 2.87 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 62.2 innings worked.
Out of high school, Hoglund was drafted in the supplemental first round by the Pittsburgh Pirates 36th overall in 2018.
This season, Nikhazy finished with a 12-2 record and a 2.45 ERA in 92.0 innings of work and recorded 142 strikeouts to 31 walks as a junior. The southpaw tossed a one-hit complete game against Mississippi State on the road (April 17).
Hoglund and Nikhazy both have worn the red and blue for three seasons at Swayze. The two were a part of two super-regional runs and a 16-1 overall record in 2020 before the season was canceled.
This year’s draft will go from Sunday to Tuesday in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night.