#RebsBSB Season Preview: Outfield

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OXFORD, Miss. - In the second leg of our Ole Miss Baseball Season preview, we take a look at the Ole Miss outfield.

The Rebels return all three of their primary starters in the outfield and one of two reserve players that got spot starts in the corner outfield positions. Most notably senior Will Golsan and junior Ryan Olenek return to occupy center and right field respectively. Golsan started all 57 games for the Rebels, 53 of which came in right field, three in center and a lone start at third base. Olenek started 53 games and was the team's primary center fielder a year ago. 

Thomas Dillard began the season as the team's primary left fielder, but was platooning with rising sophomore Bryan Seamster and an occasional appearance from the now departed Kyle Watson.

Here's an idea of what the outfield might look like on opening day.

Left Field: Thomas Dillard
As mentioned above, Dillard started 45 games for the Rebels last season, 35 came in left field and he DH'd 10 times. He began the year as the everyday right fielder, but struggled at the plate to begin his college career and was platooned with Seamster. Dillard hit .206 and drove in 12 runs in 2017 but struggled with putting the ball in play at times. His plate discipline was good, drawing 25 walks and he has the ability to switch hit, belting home runs on either side of the plate last year. Dillard came out of high school as a power hitter with a long swing and most of his struggles were natural of a freshman getting acclimated to SEC pitching. I would expect Dillard to have a much improved season at the plate and be one of the Rebels' core run producers in the middle of the lineup.

What was lost in all of the noise surrounding Dillard at the plate was that he developed into a pretty good left fielder. Sure, it took some adjusting early in the season in terms of tracking balls, angles at balls hit in the gap and playing them off the wall. Dillard played the position well for the majority of the year and was charged with only two errors. That's not particularly easy to do considering his natural position is catcher. Assuming he takes a step forward at the plate like most anticipate, he will be a really important piece to the Ole Miss lineup this season.

Center Field: Will Golsan
Olenek occupied this position last year, but most signs point to Golsan being the primary center fielder during his final season in Oxford. Golsan led the team in hits last season with 69, hit .322 in SEC play and tallied a .407 slugging percentage with 20 multi-hit games. He had multiple hits in 35 percent of the Rebels' games last year. Golsan has been the epitome of consistency during his career with the Rebels. He's played third base, second base, first base and all three outfield spots during his time and played them pretty well.

Golsan has done whatever the coaching staff has asked of him while being a steady producer at the plate. He's made 163 starts and played in 172 games in three years and has a solid chance at finishing his time in Oxford as a career .300 hitter with 250 hits. Golsan is by no means slow, but also isn't the speediest outfielder. His ability to track balls off the bat and take efficient angles has made him a good defensive outfielder.

He'll be one of the team's most consistent producers at the plate and a veteran leader in his final collegiate season.

Right field: Ryan Olenek
He was the everyday center fielder last season, so you may be wondering why make a switch? Olenek is a bit of a swiss army knife for the Rebels and a valuable one at that. He's a natural shortstop out of high school and ended up taking the starting job in right field in his freshman season because Mike Bianco couldn't afford to take his bat out of the lineup. Last year he occupied center field and played one game at third base. Olenek is a tremendous athlete that can be placed all over the diamond. With the Rebels needing to replace two key spots in the infield with the departure of Colby Bortles and Tate Blackman, Olenek's services could be needed there.

Olenek was a tremendous center fielder for Ole Miss last year and if he is in the outfield, Bianco can move he and Golsan pretty much wherever because of their versatility. Olenek hit five home runs, drove in 53 runs and led the team in doubles with 17 as well as stolen bases with 10. He struck out just 29 times in 214 plate appearances and hits well to contact. Olenek will likely find himself in the top-to-middle of the Rebels order and is expected to be a consistent hitter this season.

Others in the mix: Bryan Seamster, Michael Spears, Jacob Adams, Tim Rowe. As previously mentioned, Seamster saw some starts in left field platooning with Dillard last year mostly as a match-up move given he's a left-handed bat. Seamster's got pretty good speed and has the ability to play either corner outfield spot. With the loss of Kyle Watson -- an athlete fielder that Bianco could insert anywhere in the outfield -- Seamster could serve as a similar utility piece with the chance to assume an even bigger role if he hits well.

Spears and Adams are newcomers with enough pop in the bat to be able to contribute immediately. Adams is an interesting prospect being a junior college transfer. He put up big numbers at Crowder Community College and did a lot of different things. He can steal a base and hits well to the gaps. Spears is a true freshman that had a big enough fall to give him a chance to be a contributor this season.

Tim Rowe will likely be the team's opening-day DH, but at least has a little experience playing right field. Spears and Adams could also contend for time at DH as well as the corner outfield slots.

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

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    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

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    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

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