20 Jun

eye on …

A lot of eyes will be on Kemp Alderman today and Wednesday. The Ole Miss alum from Decatur is in Phoenix for the MLB Draft Combine, and the outfielder was identified before workouts even began as a player to watch by MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis. “I think he’s going to put on quite a show at the combine,” Callis said Monday in a TV interview on MLB Network. “I think he’ll establish once again while he’s there that he hits the ball as hard as anybody in this draft.” The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Alderman put up a .376 average, 19 homers, 61 RBIs, a .440 on-base average and a .709 slug this past season at Ole Miss. He won the Ferriss Trophy as the best college player in the state. “He hits as hard and as far anybody I’ve ever seen,” Rebels coach Mike Bianco said at the Ferriss ceremony last month. Alderman hit 25 homers over three seasons at Newton County Academy, where he was team MVP his last three years. He went undrafted out of high school and played sparingly as a freshman at UM in 2021. “To his credit, he went to work,” Bianco said. “He kept getting better and better.” He hit .286 with 11 homers on the 2022 national title team and then erupted for one of the best seasons in school history in 2023. Alderman, the No. 62 draft prospect on MLB Pipeline’s latest rankings, is one of eight Mississippi college products invited to the combine, in just its third year. Also on the list: shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, the highest-rated draft prospect in the state, catcher Calvin Harris and pitcher Jack Dougherty from Ole Miss; Southern Miss pitcher Tanner Hall and outfielder Matthew Etzel; and Mississippi State outfielder Colton Ledbetter and pitcher Cade Smith. Batting practice, infield/outfield drills and bullpen sessions begin today; MLB Network will televise portions of the workouts.

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