Key baseball signee plans to be a Rebel

The baseball draft is just hours away, and we were able to catch up with one of Ole Miss' cornerstone signees for the '07/'08 class.

"I am just assuming I am going to Ole Miss," added Missouri's 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year, Kyle Barbeck. "If I were to go in the top 3 rounds, it would be different. But I do not think I am, so I do not have to worry about making a decision. My coach told me to expect me to go anywhere from the 9th to the 11th round, but I do not even expect to go that high. But I guess anything can happen."

The 6' 0", 210 pound left handed pitcher was one of Baseball America's Top 100 preseason prospects for the class of '08. It comes as no surprise that several MLB clubs have called to feel him out.

"I have heard from the Phillies, Cardinals, Twins, Royals, and a couple of other teams like the Angels. They have called me a couple of times lately. They just wanted to know how I felt about going in the draft. I basically told them what I told you."

Barbeck has his heart set on Ole Miss.

"Yea, I am pretty pumped about Ole Miss. Even if I were projected to go higher, I would still want to focus on Ole Miss because I will only get better their."

The Missouri native picked the Rebels after taking official visits and receiving scholarship offers from some of the country's elite programs in Arizona, Arizona State, Missouri, and Wichita State.

"It was pretty fun watching them beat Missouri (laugh). I was having fun with everyone from around here. But then we got beat by Miami and I got real quiet. But one thing that I like about Ole Miss is that they have always treated me like family from day one. Coach Rob was texting me from the dugout right after they got beat by Miami. He told me to get ready to try and earn a weekend spot."

Ole Miss will most likely lose three of their top pitchers in the draft today in Lance Lynn, Cody Satterwhite, and Scott Bittle. Does that change the focus for the incoming freshman?

"Yes it does. It just makes me work that much harder because their are some spots open, and they have shown they will pitch their freshmen on the weekends. That was another big part of my decision. I studied what they have done in the past, and it seems like every three years, they put in a few freshmen and they retain the weekend spots throughout their careers. I want to be one of those guys, so yes, it does change my focus. I am working around the clock to come into Ole Miss peaking. I am going to do everything in my power to earn a weekend slot."

Last season Kyle was 8-0 with a 1.41 ERA for the State Champion Blue Springs Wildcats and followed that with a 9-0 record and 0.85 ERA for the AAU State Champion Blue Springs Rod's Sports A's, who went 60-11 before falling in the Mid-South Regional in Paducah, Ky.

How did he fare this year?

"We went 19-5 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. That was tough after winning it all last year. I went 7-2 with a 1.52 ERA. I pitched in 60 innings and threw 95 K's and 13 walks. I did not do as good as I wanted to but I still did pretty good. I beat our cross town rivals that had 2 D1 hitters."

Barbeck did see some improvements on the mound this year.

"I was undefeated my junior season, so it is tough to beat that. I wish I could have done it again this year, but I learned how to pitch with adversity because there was so much pressure on me. I also learned how to pitch inside more. I do a good job of keeping it down, but I know in college I will have to consistently keep it down and work the inside plate or you will get shelled."

Which pitch improved the most this year?

"My change up. I am throwing it around 70-72 MPH right now and my location is really good. My fastball is consistently around 90 MPH, so it is throwing them off pretty good."

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