Ole Miss Baseball has dived into the transfer portal to add a wide open weekend rotation competition for 2022.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi ace John Gaddis will be postponing medical school to play one final season at Ole Miss, as confirmed by The Ole Miss Spirit. The 6-foot, 190-pound left was 5-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.94 WHIP for the Islanders that season. The news was first reported by Chase Parham of RebelGrove.com.
The Rebels are expected to lose their top two starters, Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy, to the MLB draft in June. In addition, top prep signer Jackson Jobe, a right-handed from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, shot up draft boards. It’s a widely projected top 10 pick.
ESPN’s Keith Law recently mocked Jobe at # 8 in the Colorado Rockies. While he has a large number to sign, and sources indicate that he prefers to postpone his professional career and enroll with Ole Miss, his stock has soared that with the money that comes with it, he may not have much of a choice. He could move up to number 3 in the Detroit Tigers.
Law mocked right-handed Hoglund, who underwent surgery from Tommy John on May 18 to fix the UCL in his pitching elbow, with pick 15 at the Milwaukee Brewers. Nikhazy set the school record for a single game for strikeouts (16, a career high) in a second game win against Florida State at Oxford Regional on Saturday. Law let Nikhazy go to the Tampa Bay Rays at # 78. Nikhazy is now fourth on the school’s single-season strikeout chart (130) with Scott Bittle (2008).
“He hasn’t made that big a step forward in terms of speed so that’s going to limit him, and there are other guys who are that type, all of whom are kind of average, are pretty good at it, and usually can really pitch. “Pretty good athlete, several years of performance,” said Kiley McDaniel, ESPN draftsman, of Nikhazy in an interview with The Ole Miss Spirit. “He probably has the best résumé of these guys, but that will boil down to roughly speaking the difference between these guys in picks 50-90.
“It depends on which of these boys’ teams thinks they have the best adaptability between the ears and which of them has the specific characteristics in their playing field that suit their style. There is a possibility that he will go to the second round. I would expect third, maybe even fourth, as a kind of area that he’s in right now. “
The junior left-handed and fourth two-time All-American in program history is 10-2 with a 2.21 ERA. Nikhazy, in the SEC game, posted a 1.67 ERA and a 7-1 record over 59.1 innings with 85 strikeouts and 19 walks. He is the first Rebel since Chris Ellis in 2017 to win seven SEC games in a single season. He has had double-digit strikeouts in four of his last five games (seven total), and he has at least 11 out of five. Hoglund was 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA.
“He’s the guy most likely to keep his worth through a Tommy John,” McDaniel said of Hoglund. “When you have an SEC performance, this guy throws strikes, track record, all that stuff, these are all things you want. You’d almost think he’s the perfect guy to keep his worth through Tommy John.
“It’s almost like buying a two year old Honda Accord. What’s that worth in four years? Pretty much the same. Don’t put too many miles on it, but it’s basically the same car, while (LSU’s) Jaden Hill (who also had Tommy John) is more like that Lamborghini that says, “Uh, I don’t really know”. This car could be worth $ 400,000 or $ 20,000. Lets see what happens.'”
Early leaders for weekend spots are sophomore Dieek Diamond and Drew McDaniel. Diamond started the record in a 6-3 win over four-man SEMO on Friday. The top-seeded rebels are hosting the second postseason in a row. Diamond went 4.1 innings, allowing two hits and one run with five strikeouts and three walks. He is 3-4 with 5.09 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
As a newcomer, Diamond served as No. 3 on the team in the 2o20 season shortened by the pandemic, taking the ball for every series finale. He went at least 5.0 innings in each outing and finished 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA. Ole Miss hasn’t lost a game in which Diamond started. McDaniel has started 12 of the 18 games he has appeared in this season. He is 5-1 with 5.14 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. The Rebels will face him on the Oxford Regional Championship Sunday (weather permitting) against either Florida State or Southern Miss. Should they win, they would move up to their second super-region in as many post-seasons. Most recently they reached the College World Series in 2014, their first trip since the 1970s.
Gaddis, a left-handed man, worked 64 innings and hit 76 while walking 18. He allowed only four earned runs in his last 52.1 innings and walked at least seven innings in six of his last seven starts.