June 6, 2019 11:27:48 AM
Four more members of the Ole Miss baseball team were selected Wednesday on the final day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft.
The selections of Parker Caracci (Round 21 - Toronto Blue Jays), Cole Zabowski (Round 22 - Detroit Tigers), Zack Phillips (Round 27 - Kansas City Royals), and Houston Roth (Round 29 - Baltimore Orioles) gave Ole Miss eight players selected, which is the most since it had nine drafted in 2014.
Grae Kessinger (Round 2 - Houston Astros), Will Ethridge (Round 5 -- Colorado Rockies), Thomas Dillard (Round 5 -- Milwaukee Brewers) and Cooper Johnson (Round 6 -- Detroit Tigers) all went off the board on the first two days.
At least five Rebels have been drafted in 15 of the last 16 seasons under coach Mike Bianco. In total, 181 Ole Miss products have heard their name called in the MLB draft, including 114 in the Bianco era.
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Caracci last year in the 37th round. The organization selected him 16 rounds higher this year. Caracci has 11 saves in 2019, one more than he did a season ago. His 21 career saves are good for fifth in program history.
The redshirt junior out of Jackson went from March 10 until April 20 without giving up a run -- a streak of 14 1/3 innings. He enters the NCAA tournament's Fayetteville Super Regional having not allowed an earned run in his last five appearances.
Zabowski, a first baseman, is a first-time draftee. He is hitting .316 with 48 runs scored, 16 doubles, 11 home runs, and 48 RBIs. His .512 slugging percentage is second on the team.
The junior from Lawrenceville, Georgia, was a preseason first-team All-SEC selection. Last weekend, he hit .500 (7-for-14) in the NCAA tournament's Oxford Regional with five runs scored, three RBIs, a double, and a home run.
Phillips began the season in the weekend rotation and has since filled a hybrid starter/bullpen role. Early in the season, Phillips started the Rebels' first combined no-hitter, throwing three perfect innings with four strikeouts on March 20 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The junior out of Texarkana, Arkansas, passed up draft prospects last season to attend Ole Miss out of Grayson Community College. He was critical in the Rebels' run to the SEC tournament title game. He turned in a strong start against Arkansas, going 5 2/3 innings against Arkansas.
Roth also has been a critical arm for the Rebels in 2019. He has allowed a run in two of his last 10 appearances, including a string of six-straight scoreless outings from May 1-22.
The junior from Oxford is 9-2 for his Ole Miss career with a 3.63 earned run average. He has struck out 153 and walked 50.
All eight of the Rebel draftees will hold off on any decisions as the season continues. No. 12 national seed Ole Miss will take on No. 5 national seed Arkansas this weekend in the NCAA tournament's Fayetteville Super Regional. The best-of-three series will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday (ESPN).
Five Alabama players selected in draft
Five Alabama baseball players from the 2018-19 roster were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Those five joined a group of six incoming signees who were drafted in the three-day event.
The five selections increased the Crimson Tide's all-time draft pick total to 158 since the event began in 1966. Alabama has had at least one player selected in 41 consecutive years dating back to 1979, and 48 of the 54 MLB drafts overall.
More recently, Alabama has seen 50 players selected in the last 10 years, and 85 total across the last 20 drafts dating back to 2000.
Alabama's first three picks from this year's roster went in consecutive rounds, starting with junior pitcher Deacon Medders (San Diego Padres, 20th round, 593 overall). The Crimson Tide then had redshirt junior Davis Vainer (Houston Astros, 21st round, 646 overall) and junior Morgan McCullough (Los Angeles Angels, 22nd round, 661 overall) hear their names called to end the stretch. Next to go was graduate transfer Jeremy Randolph (St. Louis Cardinals, 26th round, 785 overall) followed by redshirt junior Brock Love (Miami Marlins, 34th round, 1,011 overall) to close out the current roster's 2018-19 draft list.
Alabama also saw signees CJ Abrams (San Diego Padres, first round), Antoine Jean (Minnesota Twins, 17th round), Myles Austin (Milwaukee Brewers, 20th round), Owen Diodati (Toronto Blue Jays, 29th round), Jackson Tate (Seattle Mariners, 32nd round), and Connor Prielipp (Boston Red Sox, 37th round) selected.
All signees and undergraduate players are eligible to come to Alabama to begin or continue their college careers if they elect not to sign a professional contract.
Southern Mississippi's Keys taken on draft's final day
The Cincinnati Reds selected Southern Mississippi right-hander J.C. Keys with the No. 684 overall pick in the 23rd round Wednesday on the final day of the MLB First-Year Player draft.
Keys, a four-year letterwinner from Oak Grove High School, is the first Golden Eagle taken by the Reds since Braxton Whitehead was chosen in the 14th round of the 1997 draft.
Keys appeared in 22 games in 2019, all in relief. He posted a 2-1 record with a 4.65 ERA in 31 innings. He struck out 49 and walked 27. Opponents hit .189 off him. Keys added three saves.
Keys joined Matt Wallner, who was taken Monday in the Competitive Balance Round A, as the only Golden Eagles taken in the 2019 draft.
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