It’s every young baseball player’s dream to one day play professionally in the major leagues. For 10 Ole Miss Diamond Rebels, that dream is now a reality.
It was a record-setting year for the Rebels, as nine players were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft and will begin their careers as being professional baseball players.
The number would soon increase to ten Rebels from the 2014 team being in the majors.
Throughout the season, you would normally see then-senior John Gatlin coming in off the bench as a pinch hitter and coming up with timely hits in clutch situations. On June 24, Gatlin signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros organization not as a position player, but as a pitcher. Gatlin hasn’t pitched in a game since he was a junior in college, but that’s what he will be for the Astros. He is currently in the Astros’ rookie team in the Gulf Coast League in Florida.
No Rebels were selected on day one of the 2014 MLB Draft.
On day two of the draft, the first Rebel selected was RHP Chris Ellis with the 88th pick of the third round by the Los Angeles Angels. Ellis was the ace of the Rebels’ pitching staff all season long, going 10-2 for the season with a 2.45 ERA in 17 starts. Ellis picked up big wins for the Rebels throughout the whole season, including wins over South Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky and a complete game against Jacksonville State in the first game of the NCAA tournament. He is starting his MLB career in Utah for the Orem Owls, the rookie minor league affiliate team for the Angels.
Austin Bousfield was the next Rebel taken in the fifth round by the San Diego Padres. Bousfield was one of the best hitters for the Rebels all season, batting .349 for the season with 50 RBI and 96 hits. Bousfield is currently playing for the single A affiliate Eugene Emeralds for the Padres. He’s batting .111 so far.
The Baltimore Orioles selected Austin Anderson with the 271st pick in the ninth round. Anderson served as one of the co-captains, along with Will Allen, for the Rebels. Anderson batted .331 for the season and was a key part of the middle of the lineup all season long. Anderson is currently on the roster for the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the class A short-season affiliate for the Orioles.
RHP Josh Laxer was also selected in the ninth round. The Detroit Tigers selected him with the 280th pick. Laxer was one of the best arms coming out of the bullpen for the Rebels and had the most appearances out of the bullpen with 22. His 1.32 ERA was the lowest ERA out of any pitcher in the bullpen. Laxer also led the team in saves with six. Laxer is currently playing for the Connecticut Tigers, the class A short-season affiliate for the Tigers. He has pitched only three innings so far, giving up no earned runs and no hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
The Tampa Bay Rays selected leadoff hitter and outfielder Braxton Lee in the 12th round on day three of the draft. He is currently playing for Hudson Valley Renegades, the class A short-season affiliate for the Rays. Lee has made three starts for the Renegades, batting .33 so far going 5 for 15 from the plate with three RBI.
The Detroit Tigers added another Rebel to their organization by drafting former co-captain and catcher Will Allen in the 13th round. Allen was a finalist for the Johnny Bench award as the nation’s best catcher and was certainly deserving of the award, batting .345 for the season and leading the team in RBI’s with 61.
The Seattle Mariners selected RHP Hawtin Buchanan in the 20th round. Buchanan played as a relief pitcher for the Rebels, only making 12 appearances for the season. Buchanan is currently pitching for the Everett AquaSox, the class A short-season affiliate for the Mariners. He has pitched 1.2 innings for the club so far, giving up no earned runs and hits on one walk and three strikeouts.
The Houston Astros also have multiple Rebels in their organization by selecting RHP Aaron Greenwood in the 28th round. Greenwood was another key pitcher for the Rebels coming out of the bullpen, making 20 appearances out of the bullpen with a 1.96 ERA and collecting four saves in 41.1 innings work. Greenwood is currently pitching for the Greenville Astros, the rookie affiliate team for the Astros. He owns a 2-0 record in four games pitched. So far he has pitched 5.2 innings, giving up one earned run on four hits on no walks with four strikeouts.
LHP Christian Trent was selected in the 20th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but is very likely to come back to be the ace of the pitching staff for the Rebels next season.