Incoming freshmen pitchers Hawtin Buchanan and Josh Laxer appear to be big Ole Miss leans that will be in Oxford well before the Aug. 15 signing deadline.
The same can’t exactly be said for speedy Evangelical Christian (Tenn.) outfielder Will Jamison, who was selected in the 45th round by the Cleveland Indians.
On Thursday, Jamison explained how the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft was somewhat hectic for him and that it may go down to the wire for him to decide if he’ll turn pro or go to college.
“I was asked in the seventh by the Seattle Mariners (if I would accept) $200,000 plus school and I said no. I was waiting to hear back from the Nationals and they never said anything back, so I guess they were just waiting,” he said. “One of my advisers was saying they were probably going to take me in the 20th round but that didn’t happen so after the 20th round I wasn’t really expecting anything.
“The Cleveland Indians took me in the 45th and year I’m excited about it.”
Jamison said the Indians’ offer was similar to what the Mariners offered, although there is a chance he could earn a larger offer if he plays well during the summer.
“They are going to watch me this whole summer and depending on how I do their offer is about $300,000 plus school,” he said. “If I play better, hopefully there will be more money (offered).”
As of right now Jamison said he isn’t leaning one way or the other.
“(The Ole Miss coaches) expect me down (in Oxford) obviously, but I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “If by the summer I play good and I think that I should go then I will, but it’s going to be one of those things I’ll have to pray about and if God takes me there then He takes me there.
“If not, then I’ll just go to Ole Miss and that’s how it’s going to go.”
Despite the opportunity for a larger singing bonus, Jamison said he’s approaching this summer’s season as carefree.
“Right now this is probably the least pressure I’ve had playing in the summer because I know where I’m going to college so I can’t really (worry),” he said. “I’m just playing to have fun this summer because it’s not like I have to make any decisions. If I play good, then great. If I don’t, then I’ll go to Ole Miss, play better and get drafted again.
“That’s kind of how my thought process is.”
Meeting date set
San Jacinto junior college catcher Ryan Hornback is sort of in a similar situation as Jamison. Hornback was a 27th round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates and said he is having a meeting with the team’s area scout to begin negotiations.
Unlike Jamison, however, Hornback said he wants the process to move rather quickly so he can either begin his pro career or get a jump start on preparing to play in the SEC.
“I’m just waiting to see what they say, weighing out all my options and what’s best for me and my family,” he said. “I want to know by July 1 so if nothing works out I can come out there and get started. If nothing works out I’m ready to get there and get rolling in school, work out and get ready for the season to be the best that I can be.”
Hornback admits he’s in a win-win situation regardless of the path he chooses.
“It’s very exciting because it’s every little kid’s dream to be drafted when they start playing baseball but on the other hand if I don’t end up signing I still have a great college to come to and play in the SEC,” he said. “I have the best of both worlds in my hands right now.”
Hornback is considered a defensive minded catcher who hit .310 with a .409 on-base percentage, three home runs, 28 walks, 20 strikeouts and nine stolen bases in 14 attempts as a sophomore.
Hornback hit .347 as a freshman with a .431 OBP and a .453 slugging percentage.
In a short text message exchange Buchanan said the Nationals contacted their 19th-round selection Wednesday morning.
“They just asked what I was doing this summer and stuff baseball wise and to keep them posted,” Buchanan said.
The 6-foot-8 right-hander was in Oxford earlier this week for orientation and has continually said on Twitter that he “can’t wait to be in Oxford.” (June 10, 2011, Page 9A)