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2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Mississippi

rJR LHP Christian Trent (2015)
rSO RHP Brady Bramlett (2015)
JR RHP Jacob Waguespack (2015)
JR RHP Sean Johnson (2015)
SR RHP Sam Smith (2015)
rSR RHP Scott Weathersby (2015)
JR LHP Matt Denny (2015)
JR 1B Jack Kaiser (2015)
SR 1B/C Sikes Orvis (2015)
SR C Austin Knight (2015)
SO LHP Evan Anderson (2016)
rFR OF Peyton Attaway (2016)
SO 3B/1B Colby Bortles (2016)
SO LHP Wyatt Short (2016)
SO SS/2B Errol Robinson (2016)
SO OF JB Woodman (2016)
FR SS/2B Tate Blackman (2017)
FR RHP Will Stokes (2017)
FR RHP Calder Mikell (2017)
FR SS/2B Kyle Watson (2017)
FR 1B Joe Wainhouse (2017)
FR SS/2B Will Golsan (2017)
FR C Nic Perkins (2017)
FR RHP John Wesley Ray (2017)

There’s a serious void of power at first base in college this year, so much so that SR 1B/C Sikes Orvis could find himself in position to get drafted way higher than expected if he has another big spring. Maintaining his power numbers from last year while bumping up his already average (for a power-first bat) plate discipline should get the job done. That’s about it in the way of 2015 bats for Ole Miss, unless consistent at bats (he has less than 100 total in his first three seasons) are in store for good glove, questionable bat SR C Austin Knight. Thankfully, fans of the Rebels will have a deep pitching staff and an exciting group of underclassmen to pay extra close attention to.

I’ve called former Mississippi star RHP Scott Bittle one of my all-time favorite college pitchers to watch before. I think I’d now like to go on record, after careful consideration of all the arms that have come and gone before and since, and amend that to say he’s at the top of the list. When “The Thing” was working, he was, at times, literally unhittable. That pitch was the closest thing I’ve ever seen up close to Mariano Rivera’s cutter. The way his professional career unfolded is undeniably unfortunate (shoulders, man), but it’s fantastic to read that he’s doing well as he pursues his longstanding goal of becoming a doctor. I’m reminded of Bittle because of the presence of rSR RHP Scott Weathersby. Honestly, seeing the impressive K/9, relief profile, Ole Miss allegiance, and first name Scott were the triggers that got me to reminiscing. This isn’t a comparison beyond those similarities in any way. Weathersby is a solid draft prospect, though. He doesn’t have one pitch he relies on quite like Bittle’s cutter, but he does lean heavily on a darting fastball. Combine that with an average to above-average slider and an emerging change, and you’ve got yourself a nice looking relief prospect. SR Sam Smith and JR RHP Sean Johnson could both be called the same. The upside could be a little higher for the trio of Ole Miss pitchers at the top. rJR LHP Christian Trent is the safest of the bunch. He possesses strong “now” stuff in a solid 88-92 fastball (93 peak), above-average low-80s slider that flashes plus, and an above-average low-80s changeup that he’ll use in any count. He gets the safe designation because a) his performance last year showed what he can do in a nice sample of innings (7.04 K/9, 1.64 BB/9, 2.05 ERA, 110 IP), and b) the other two names listed with him have far more obvious questions that need to be addressed. rSO RHP Brady Bramlett is a big man with quality stuff — I especially appreciate his oddly effective sloooow curve — but a torn labrum in 2013 and the subsequent lost 2014 season make him a bit of a mystery as things currently sit. JR RHP Jacob Waguespack has had his own troubles staying on the mound (elbow) and hasn’t been nearly as effective as Bramlett when healthy. His stuff, however, is right there with him (upper-80s fastball, three offspeed pitches of varying effectiveness), so it could be that his frame (6-6, 215) could make him the preferred Rebel pitching option for some teams.

SO SS/2B Errol Robinson could wind up as a plus glove, average bat guy at shortstop. That adds up to an incredibly valuable potential player, obviously, and could vault him onto the short lists of top college shortstop prospects for 2016. SO OF JB Woodman and rFR OF Peyton Attaway are also high on any list of top 2015 season/2016 draft “curiosities,” as both guys are really athletic, fast, and loaded with offensive upside, yet largely unproven at the college level. Woodman showed enough in late flashes last year (.298/.346/.429 in 168 AB) that it might be a stretch to call him “largely unproven,” but let me just have this narrative and save me the trouble of rewording the previous sentence. Large human SO 3B/1B Colby Bortles (power, athleticism, aforementioned largeness) also held his own in a more limited sample (68 AB). SO LHPs Evan Anderson and Wyatt Short both did more than hold their own, and even more is expected of them going forward. I’m particularly looking forward to talking more about the aptly named Short, as any discussion about a 5-8, 160 pound lefthander capable of hitting the low- to mid-90s is all right in my book.