Five Rebels Selected in 2017 MLB Draft
June 14, 2017
OXFORD, Miss. – Five Rebels heard their names called on the final day of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. David Parkinson (12th round, eighth pick – Philadelphia Phillies), Tate Blackman (13th round, 12th pick – Chicago White Sox), Colby Bortles (22nd round, 20th pick – Detroit Tigers), Brady Feigl (35th round, 10th pick – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and Kyle Watson (37th round, 13th pick – Pittsburgh Pirates) were all drafted Thursday afternoon.
For the 14th consecutive year, at least four Rebels were selected in the MLB Draft. Under head coach Mike Bianco (17 seasons), 99 Diamond Rebels have been drafted. Throughout Ole Miss history, 166 Rebels have been chosen since the first MLB Draft in 1965.
Parkinson has spent the past two seasons in a Rebel uniform after transferring from Florence-Darlington Technical School. He began his Ole Miss career in the bullpen but earned a spot in the weekend rotation midway through the 2016 season. Over 36 appearances, including 23 starts, Parkinson holds an 11-6 record to go along with a 3.10 ERA. The Henrico, Virginia, native has pitched 145.0 innings, recording 125 strikeouts while on the mound.
This season, Parkinson was the only Rebel to start in the rotation all 14 weekends. He logged 77.0 innings and tallied 76 strikeouts, both team highs. The southpaw also went 6-3 with a 3.39 ERA. Parkinson earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors March 13, pitching a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings versus Furman (March 10). Against a team hitting .317 heading into the weekend, he struck out a career-high nine hitters and did not issue a walk during his longest outing as a Rebel. Moreover, he had a no hitter intact until a leadoff single in the eighth inning. Parkinson faced the minimum as the Furman baserunner was wiped off the base path on a groundball double play. One week later, he outdueled first round draft pick Kyle Wright by tossing 6.0 shutout innings to help Ole Miss claim a 1-0 victory.
Blackman has been a fixture in the Ole Miss infield over the past three years, playing in 156 games. The Altamonte Springs, Florida, native is a .287 career hitter and hit over .300 in 2016 and 2017. He has racked up 159 hits and scored 112 runs, including 48 extra-base hits (30 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs). Last season, Blackman started all 62 games at second base and earned second team All-SEC accolades as a sophomore. He boasted a .322 batting average with 74 hits, 48 runs and 38 RBI.
In 2017, Blackman started 55 games and served as one of two team captains. He hit at a .302 clip as the Rebels’ leadoff hitter for most of the season. The second baseman led the Rebels in runs (46), triples (4), walks (34), slugging percentage (.525) and on base percentage (.420), while ranking second in hits (61), home runs (9) and stolen bases (9). His four triples were tied for third-most in the SEC, and he ranked 13th in slugging percentage among conference hitters. Blackman flexed his muscles at the plate, smashing a team-high 23 extra-base hits. He provided a walk-off home run against Alabama (April 9) before belting two homers to lead the Rebels to a win at No. 8 LSU (April 14).
One of only two seniors on the 2017 roster and the only Rebel left from the 2014 College World Series team, Bortles finished his outstanding Ole Miss career by earning second team All-SEC honors. Starting 55 games, the third baseman led the Rebels with 10 home runs and 42 RBI. A .269 hitter, Bortles also paced the team in multi-RBI games (12). He hit even better in SEC play with a .275 batting average. Bortles also led the SEC in sacrifice flies (7), which ranked 22nd in the country. His final at-bat at Swayze Field was one he will likely never forget, blasting a home run the cleared the left field fence in a series-clinching win over Texas A&M (May 14).
A two-time team captain, the Oviedo, Florida, native played in 213 games throughout his career and started 184 of them. With career 153 RBI, he ranks 10th all-time in Ole Miss history. He provided constant power at the plate and spent the majority of the last three years as the team’s starting third baseman. Over four seasons, Bortles produced 184 hits, 103 runs, 43 doubles, two triples and 27 home runs. Bortles played in 40 games as a freshman during the Rebels’ run to Omaha in 2014, including three games in the College World Series; the slugger hit a key home run in the regional championship game versus Washington. He took over the reins of the hot corner as a sophomore when he hit .281 with seven home runs and 47 RBI. In 2016, Bortles produced a team-high 21 doubles which ranked second in the SEC and was the fifth-most in a single season in Ole Miss history.
Feigl has been an important piece to the Ole Miss pitching staff since bouncing back from Tommy John surgery in 2015. Over the past two seasons, he has made 43 appearances primarily out of the bullpen. The Chesterfield, Missouri, native has averaged nearly one strikeout per inning with 93 through 93.2 frames. As a redshirt-freshman in 2016, Feigl went 4-0 with a 3.76 in 26 relief appearances to become a Freshman All-American.
This season, Feigl pitched 53.0 innings over 17 outings, including six starts. He spent time in the weekend rotation at the start of the year before landing in the bullpen. In just his fourth career start, Feigl tossed 8.0 shutout innings versus Furman (March 11), allowing only three hits and one walk to go along with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Feigl did not surrender an earned run in seven of his 11 relief appearances. He collected the first save of his career by pitching the final 3.0 innings at No. 16 Southern Miss (April 11).
Watson has played in 157 games throughout the past three seasons and has been a versatile asset for the Rebels. The Southaven, Mississippi, native has started in 73 contests and has seen action at six different positions on the field (all three outfield positions, second base, third base, shortstop). Watson made an immediate impact as a freshman, stealing 13 bases and scoring 34 runs. As a sophomore, the speedster also showed some power at the dish by hitting two homers during the 2016 NCAA Oxford Regional; he was named to the all-tournament team for his play.
In 2017, Watson primarily came off the bench as he played in 50 contests and made 18 starts. He tallied 11 runs to go along with four doubles and a home run. Watson also went 4-for-5 on the base path to improve to 22-for-27 in steals over his Ole Miss career. His solo blast versus Georgia State (March 7) ended up being the difference as Ole Miss claimed a 1-0 win at Swayze Field.
Bortles is the lone draftee without any NCAA eligibility left, meaning the four others can choose to either return to Ole Miss or sign with the club that drafted them.
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