With college baseball season under a month away, can the Ole Miss Rebels continue the momentum they established in 2022’s national championship run?
The Rebels enter this season at No. 4 in D1Baseball’s Top 25, so the potential for another special season is certainly there. Even so, here are five bold predictions for Ole Miss’ 2023 campaign.
1. Hunter Elliott solidifies himself as an elite SEC arm.
Hunter Elliott emerged as a freshman sensation in the Rebels’ 2022 national championship run. He will now likely be called on to anchor Ole Miss’ weekend rotation with the departure of Dylan DeLucia. Can he do that? If his trend from last season continues, the indication is “yes, and then some.”
2. Jacob Gonzalez becomes the anchor of the offense.
Gonzalez hit .273 a season ago, but his draft stock is incredibly high for his future after this season. With that being said, don’t be surprised if the Rebels shortstop bats around .300 in 2023 and continues to make plays in the infield that cements himself as an elite pick in the MLB Draft.
3. Kemp Alderman surpasses 20 home runs.
Alderman’s power is undeniably there, but now that Tim Elko is no longer in Oxford, it’s time for Alderman to fill that home run void. He only hit 11 home runs a season ago, but a big jump could happen this spring.
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4. Ole Miss challenges for the SEC West crown.
Last year’s regular season wasn’t Ole Miss’ finest, but the momentum established in the postseason should help carry over into a promising run in 2023. So much so, in fact, that the Rebels could be in the hunt for a divisional championship at the end of the year.
5. Rebels make another deep postseason run, possibly reaching Omaha.
Repeating as a national champion (especially with some notable talent gone off of last year’s team) is a challenging feat, but Ole Miss has established itself as one of the premier brands in college baseball, even with some recruiting disadvantages in terms of scholarship numbers. Don’t be surprised if Ole Miss pushes into another Super Regional and perhaps reaches Omaha once again.
You can follow John Macon on Twitter at @JMakeGillespie.
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