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Justin Bench, Kevin Graham selected Tuesday, join five other Rebels taken in MLB Draft

Justin Bench, Kevin Graham selected Tuesday, join five other Rebels taken in MLB Draft

OXFORD, Miss. — Two more Ole Miss players were selected in the 2022 MLB Draft, as Kevin Graham was chosen by Arizona and Justin Bench by San Francisco on Wednesday.

Kevin Graham

Senior left fielder Graham was drafted in the 14th round by the Diamondbacks. The four-year starter is best known for his consistency at the plate. In 2021, he reached base in 65 of Ole Miss’ 67, starting every game.

The O’Fallon, Missouri native also finished that season with the longest reached-base streak in college baseball at 60 games.

In 2022, Graham missed a month of baseball with a broken hand but proved, yet again, to be pivotal in the lineup as the Rebels showed a noteworthy improvement upon his return.

While Graham did not “qualify” to lead the team in average due to time missed because of his injury, his .335 batting average would have placed him in first place on the team in batting average.  His 11 home runs put him tied for third on the team.

Graham is so respected by opponents in the SEC that Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn quipped, “Thank God I don’t ever have to see Kevin Graham hit against us again. It seems like that guy is always up. I have nightmares about him, I’ll be honest with you.”

Justin Bench

Senior third baseman Bench became the seventh and final Rebel drafted in MLB’s 2022 Draft taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 17th round.

A player with the ability to play anywhere on the field defensively, Bench started all four years in Oxford, mostly at third base but with a few outfield starts sprinkled in when called upon.

The Floridian was named Second Team All-SEC in 2021 and was also on the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2019 and 2020.

In 2021, he led the nation with 29 hit-by-pitches and joked at the National Championship Celebration that he was disappointed he didn’t get hit by a pitch in Omaha.

Bench led the team in 2022 in a number of offensive categories for “every day” starters, including hit by pitch (17), batting average (.316), hits (81), at bats (256), doubles (17), and also shared — with Tim Elko and Jacob Gonzalez — the team-high starts and games played at 65.

2022 Rebels Drafted

Graham and Bench join five other Rebels drafted: Derek Diamond, Hayden Dunhurst, Dylan DeLucia, Brandon Johnson, and Tim Elko. 

(Feature image credit: Chris Muller, The Rebel Walk)

Chris Muller
Chris Muller

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.

About The Author

Chris Muller

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.

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