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Friday, August 22, 2014

BLOG: Four Rebels taken on Draft’s second day

BLOG — Ole Miss didn’t have any players drafted in the first two rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft on Thursday, but the names started rolling off the board on Friday.

Pitcher Chris Ellis was the first Ole Miss player taken when the Anaheim Angels snatched him up in the third round with the 88th overall pick. Outfielder Auston Bousfield (147 overall) went to the San Diego Padres in the fifth round while third baseman Austin Anderson (271 overall) went to the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth round. Reliever Josh Laxer followed nine picks later to the Detroit Tigers.

Ellis, Bousfield and Laxer are juniors and could return for another season, though they’ll have some time to mull it over. The deadline for underclassmen to sign is July 18. Ellis and Bousfield stand to receive the most lucrative bonuses if they sign based on slot values, which are highest for the No. 1 overall pick and descend in order from there. The allotment for Ellis’ slot is $612,800, according to Baseball America, while Bousfield’s is $333,100. Laxer’s is $143,900.

Ellis quickly morphed into Ole Miss’ ace this season. The right-hander is 10-1 with a 2.16 earned run average and has given up more than three earned runs just once in 16 starts. Ellis, who will get the ball in Game 1 of the super regional against Lousiana-Lafayette on Saturday, didn’t suffer a loss until the SEC Tournament.

Bousfield is the Rebels’ second-leading hitter with a .349 average. He’s driven in 48 runs while committing just two errors as the Rebels’ everyday center fielder. Anderson, playing his first full season at third base, is hitting .332 and owns a team-high .418 on-base percentage. Laxer is one of the Rebels’ top arms out of the bullpen, leading the team with five saves and striking out 37 batters in 30.2 innings of work.

The draft will wrap up with rounds 11-40 on Saturday. Other Rebels to keep an eye on include pitcher Christian Trent, outfielder Braxton Lee, catcher Will Allen, first baseman Sikes Orvis and pitcher Aaron Greenwood(June 6, 2014)

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