Five Ole Miss Rebels selected on day two of 2022 MLB Draft
Ole Miss baseball players Derek Diamond, Hayden Dunhurst, Dylan DeLucia, Brandon Johnson, and Tim Elko were all drafted on day two of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Here’s a look at each of these Rebels and what they have meant to the Ole Miss program.
Junior right-handed pitcher Derek Diamond was selected in the 6th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
STEEL CITY BOUND!
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) July 18, 2022
Previously, the Ramona, California native was selected in the 40th Round of the 2019 MLB Draft by Arizona.
Diamond started games in all three of his seasons at Ole Miss. He went 2-0 in 2020, 3-5 in 2021 and 4-4 in 2022 and started 2022 as the Rebels’ Friday night ace.
Finishing in the top three in innings pitched in both 2021 and 2022, Diamond’s role was elevated in 2021 after the injury to Gunnar Hoglund. Diamond was named to the 2020 SEC Academic Honor Roll for his success in the classroom.
Ole Miss’ junior catcher Hayden Dunhurst has been selected in the sixth round at No. 175 by Kansas City. In 2019, the Carriere, Mississippi native was selected in the 37th Round of the MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies.
A starter at the catcher position since day one of the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Dunhurst’s list of accolades is long and memorable.
The list includes: Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball), SEC Freshman of the Week (Week 5), and Buster Posey Award Watch List in 2020; USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, All-SEC Second Team, SEC All-Defensive Team, All-Newcomer Team and Preseason All-SEC Second Team in 2021. He also received the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award at catcher in 2021.
In the COVID-shortened 2021 season, Dunhurst hit .269 with one double and five home runs with 15 RBI. In 2021, he hit .280, including 11 doubles, seven home runs, and 43 RBI. During the Rebels’ National Championship-winning season, Dunhurst hit .231 with with eight doubles, six home runs and 30 RBI.
A fan-favorite moment for Hayden occurred in the 2021 SEC Tournament when Dunhurst literally went head over heals into the Arkansas dugout going after a foul ball. Ball secured. Out.
You've seen the arm… BUT HOW ABOUT THE WHOLE BODY?!
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 29, 2021
Junior-college transfer and right-handed pitcher Dylan DeLucia was selected in the 6th round by Cleveland with the No. 181 pick.
In his only year at Ole Miss, DeLucia emerged as the late-season staff ace. He notched a complete game in game one of the Mississippi State series, allowing just two runs on two hits.
That feat was supplanted only by an all-time College World Series performance complete game, four-hit shutout in the bracket final versus Arkansas.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) June 23, 2022
That win sent Ole Miss to the championship bracket against Oklahoma, en route to the eventual National Championship.
Based upon his two CWS wins (first one coming against Auburn), the Floridian earned CWS Most Outstanding Player honors. This season, DeLucia threw a team high 95.1 innings, recorded a team high 105 strikeouts and notched a 3.68 ERA.
The slot value for his pick comes in at $284,000, and it isn’t clear whether DeLucia will head to pro ball or come back for another year with the Rebels.
Senior closer Brandon Johnson was selected by the Kansas City Royals in 9th Round. Before coming to Ole Miss, Johnson pitched two years at Columbia State Community College where he was twice named National Pitcher of the Week.
In 2021, the Alabama native made 18 relief appearances, finishing with one win and one save. In 2022, Johnson recorded 71 strikeouts and 12 saves with his memorable moment coming as he struck out the side versus Oklahoma in the 9th inning to secure the 2022 National Championship for Ole Miss.
JOB DONE. pic.twitter.com/eGVfvkG2aY
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) June 26, 2022
One of the most adored Rebels of all-time, Captain Tim Elko, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 10th Round of the 2022 Major League Baseball draft.
In his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Elko played behind All-American Tyler Keenan at third base, transitioning to the outfield for the 2019 campaign. The Florida native hit .714 in the 2019 Oxford Regional, best in Regionals in the SEC. The 2020 COVID year saw a “break-out” year, albeit shortened, including a towering home run that hit the top of the batters eye at Swayze.
Tim’s 2021 story is well chronicled. He was that National Hitter of the Month for March, 2021, but then tears his ACL on April 5 in a non-conference game. He opted to postpone surgery, and then came back to win Most Outstanding Player at the 2020 Oxford Regional — where he tallied two grand slams and an additional home run for good measure.
With a game three Super Regional loss to Arizona in 2021, the story of Tim Elko and Ole Miss felt somewhat satisfying, but yet incomplete. Fortunately for Rebel fans, Tim felt the same way.
July 13, 2021 at 3:48 p.m. a single tweet sent a wave of positivity through the fan base.
— Tim Elko (@TimElko) July 13, 2021
There were so many moments in the 2021 season where Elko’s leadership and faith were pivotal. A few of them include: a rise to No. 1 to start the season, then losses to Tennessee and Alabama at home, and a players-only meeting.
Then came a phone call to his sister after a series loss to Mississippi State, and a prayer out to God that was answered with a single word, “Believe”. That word went up on the white board in the locker room.
Then, there was the sweep of Missouri that precipitated a six-word warning from Elko to an Ole Miss video camera — “Don’t Let The Rebs Get Hot!” That was followed by a first-ever sweep of LSU in Baton Rouge, and a nerve-wracking Memorial Day Monday where many “experts” didn’t have the Rebels in the field.
When they made the tourney as the last team in, then came a trip to Miami –complete with tropical storm — for Regionals. While at the Coral Gables Regional, the Rebs avenged the prior year’s Super Regional loss to Arizona, defeated Miami’s ace, polished Arizona off again, that last time coming in the Regional final.
Then, the Rebels traveled to face In-state rival Southern Miss in a HOT Hattiesburg. Ole Miss pitchers allowed zero runs as the Rebs swept the Golden Eagles as the Captain caught the pop foul behind first to secure the trip to Omaha.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) June 11, 2022
And in Omaha, Rebel fans showed up in droves to see the Captain and his team. So much so that it became clear the town should be called “Oxford North.”
The meaningful moments continued. Elko homered. The team showed quiet confidence all week. And. yes, the final out saw Tim drop to his knees to give glory to God. The Rebels were National Champions.
After the game, an always-humble Elko would say: “The story of our season is going to be told for years and years and years to come. This is the best Ole Miss Baseball team in history, and it feels so good. It’s an honor to be part of it.”
Elko’s Career Highlights:
- 2022 CWS All-Tournament Team
- 2022 Coral Gables Regiona MVP
- Single-Season Home Run Record (2022); 24 home runs on season, 46 for career
- 2022 NCBWA All-American Third Team
- 2022 NCBWA Second-Team Preseason All-America
- 2022 Second-Team Preseason All-SEC
- 2022 Perfect Game Third Team Preseason All-America
- 2021 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- 2021 ABCA All-South Region (First Base)
- 2021 NCBWA National Hitter of the Month (March)
- 2021 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week (Week 3)
- 2021 Bragan Slugger of the Week (Week 3)
- 2021 SEC Player of the Week (Week 3)
- 2021 Preseason All-American (NCBWA)
- 2021 Preseason All-SEC Second Team
- 2021 Baseball America Breakout Candidate
- 2020 Northwoods League Rawlings Big Stick Award (First Base)
- 2020 Northwoods League All-Star
- 2020 SEC Community Service Team
- 2020, 2021, 2022 Team Captain
- 2018, 2019, 2020 SEC Academic Honor Roll
Thank you to our Rebels
We congratulate Derek, Hayden, Dylan, Brandon, and Tim on being drafted. We wish these remarkable Rebels all the best and thank them for everything they did during their time in Oxford.
Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 25 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.