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Oxford’s Grae Kessinger selected in second round of MLB Draft

A former Oxford Charger and another Kessinger from Ole Miss has been picked in the Major League Baseball draft.

Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger became the first Rebel selected in the MLB draft late Monday night. The Houston Astros took Kessinger in the second round with the No. 68 overall pick. The former Oxford Charger was drafted out of high school in 2016 in the 26th round and 774th overall pick by the San Diego Padres but decided to go to Ole Miss instead.

Kessinger becomes the 174th MLB Draft pick in Ole Miss history and No. 107 in the Mike Bianco era.  Kessinger joins a very short list of Oxford Chargers to be drafted, most notably Brad Freeman was taken in the fourth round of the 1994 draft. Kessinger was also taken in later rounds out of Oxford High School.

It’s no surprise that Kessinger was the first Rebel selected in the draft that began on Monday night. The First Team All-SEC and Third Team All-American selection hit .332 with an on-base percentage of .472 on top of being one of the best defensive shortstops in the nation.

Obviously, with the draft taking place Monday night, Kessinger has not signed anything yet and is free to come back to school if he so chooses. At this time, that seems like a long shot. His No. 68 overall selection comes with a slotted signing bonus of $953,100.

Fun for Grae Kessinger, he’ll join an organization with one of the best rosters in the league and widely considered as one of the top organizations as a whole in the MLB right now. The Astros won the World Series in 2016 and currently hold the second best record in the American League.

Good news for Ole Miss in the recruiting front, none of their top commits were drafted in the first two rounds, making all of them significantly more likely to enroll in school. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t one of the top-60 or so available players. Teams draft both on potential and signability – the odds they will actually get a player to avoid going to college and sign with the organization.

A big name on that front is Jerrion Ealy. A football and baseball player, Ealy was at one point ranked in the top-20 players by the MLB Pipeline. As the draft approached, he fell out of the top-50 on the MLB Pipeline. This is not because he got worse as a player in the last two months, just that there’s a growing feeling he will attend Ole Miss instead. Not being drafted on the opening night sure aids that feeling.

The 40-round draft continues Tuesday beginning at noon, and expect a lot more Rebels to be taken in the coming rounds. Some names to keep an eye on for day-two are Thomas Dillard, Will Ethridge and Cooper Johnson, as well as high school commits Connor Walsh, Hayden Dunhurst and Jerrion Ealy.