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Diamond Rebs ranked No. 22

BLOG: Baseball America released its preseason Top 25 poll today with the Diamond Rebels ranked No. 22 in the country.

Ole Miss is the seventh-ranked Southeastern Conference school included in the poll, behind No. 1 Florida, No. 3 South Carolina, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 8 LSU, No. 10 Vanderbilt and No. 11 Georgia.

The Rebels are also one of seven teams included in the preseason poll that were not ranked in the final 2011 poll.

Ole Miss begins full team practices on Friday and will open its regular season on Feb. 17 at No. 15 Texas Christian.

UPDATE: Baseball America also released capsules of all Top 25 teams. The writeups are pretty in-depth, so be sure to check it out.

Below is one part of the Rebels’ preview:

The Rebels’ offense will rely on a number of capable seasoned veterans and breakout candidates. The lineup’s best pure hitter is Yarbrough, who has a balanced swing from both sides and the ability to lace hard line drives all over the field. Mathis is another proven hitter for average, and Allen’s gap-to-gap approach should make him one of the SEC’s top offensive catchers. Mistone brings another talented gap hitter, while the pesky Newalu and the athletic Jamison could make a disruptive duo atop the lineup.

BA grades each team’s “tools” on a 50-80 scale (instead of the typical 20-80 scale scouts use).

Ole Miss grades out as follows: Hitting (60), power (60), speed (60), defense (60), starting pitching (50), bullpen (55), experience/intangibles (50) and “Baseball America OPF” (50).

BA also has a projected 2012 lineup: C Will Allen; 1B Matt Snyder; 2B Alex Yarbrough; 3B Andrew Mistone; SS Blake Newalu; LF Tanner Mathis; CF Will Jamison; RF Preston Overbey; DH Zach Kirksey; SP 1 Bobby Wahl; SP 2 R.J. Hively; SP 3 Mike Mayers; CL Brett Huber.

Their projected lineup looks pretty good for the most part. Heading into spring practice, Ole Miss has some options (which, I’d think is a good thing): Does (Preston) Overbey play 3B or RF? Where’s Austin Anderson factor in? Who gets the bulk of the playing time behind the plate? What about 1B/DH… does Snyder find his way back onto the field or is someone else taking over at first? That’s just a couple of the questions off the top of my head surrounding the team heading into the season. Again, it’s nice to have options.

Ole Miss will scrimmage on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. The Rebs will also practice on Sunday at Noon. (January 24, 2012)

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