Baseball America

2013 Southeastern Conference Preview


See also: For in-depth reports on Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Louisiana State and Mississippi, see our Top 25 scouting reports


SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH
  Conference Overall
EAST W L W L
*Vanderbilt (2) 16 14 35 28
South Carolina (7) 18 11 49 20
Kentucky (11) 18 12 45 18
Florida (17) 18 12 47 20
Georgia 14 15 31 26
Tennessee 8 22 24 31
Missouri (Big 12) 33 28
WEST W L W L
Arkansas (3) 16 14 46 22
Mississippi State (5) 16 14 40 24
Louisiana State (10) 19 11 47 18
Mississippi (13) 14 16 37 26
Texas A&M (Big 12) 43 18
Auburn 13 17 31 28
Alabama 9 21 21 34
*2012 conference champion

Teams in bold are 2012 NCAA tournament participants. Teams are listed in predicted order of finish. Records listed are from 2012 season.Projected NCAA Teams (10): Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Louisiana State, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Auburn.Conference Schedule: 30 games, begins March 15.Conference Tournament: 12 teams, May 21-26 at Hoover, Ala.Player of the Year: Austin Cousino, of, Kentucky.Pitcher of the Year: Ryne Stanek, rhp, Arkansas.

 

TOP PROSPECTS, 2013 DRAFT
1. Ryne Stanek, rhp, Arkansas
2. Jonathon Crawford, rhp, Florida
3. Bobby Wahl, rhp, Mississippi
4. Ryan Eades, rhp, Louisiana State
5. JaCoby Jones, of, Louisiana State
6. Colby Suggs, rhp, Arkansas
7. Kevin Ziomek, lhp, Vanderbilt
8. Karsten Whitson, rhp, Florida
9. Mike Mayers, rhp, Mississippi
10. Corey Littrell, lhp, Kentucky
11. Conrad Gregor, 1b, Vanderbilt
12. Hunter Renfroe, of, Mississippi State
13. Daniel Gibson, lhp, Florida
14. Barrett Astin, rhp, Arkansas
15. Ryan Tella, of, Auburn
16. Keenan Kish, rhp, Florida
17. T.J. Pecoraro, rhp, Vanderbilt
18. Adam Frazier, ss, Mississippi State
19. Tony Kemp, 2b, Vanderbilt
20. Randall Fant, lhp, Arkansas

 

TOP PROSPECTS, 2014 DRAFT
1. Tyler Beede, rhp, Vanderbilt
2. Austin Cousino, of, Kentucky
3. A.J. Reed, lhp/1b, Kentucky
4. Daniel Mengden, rhp, Texas A&M
5. Hunter Cole, of, Georgia
6. Hawtin Buchanan, rhp, Mississippi
7. Jacob Lindren, lhp, Mississippi State
8. Brandon Woodruff, rhp, Mississippi State
9. Joey Pankake, ss/rhp, South Carolina
10. Grayson Greiner, c, South Carolina

 

TOP NEWCOMERS
1. Walker Buehler, rhp, Vanderbilt (HS—Lexington, Ky.)

2.Alex Bregman, ss, Louisiana State (HS—Albuquerque, N.M.)3.Carson Fulmer, rhp, Vanderbilt (HS—Winter Haven, Fla.)4.Alec Rash, rhp, Missouri (HS—Adel, Iowa)5.Mikey White, ss, Alabama (HS—Hoover, Ala.)6.Max Schrock, 2b, South Carolina (HS—Raleigh, N.C.)7.Sam Gillikin, of, Auburn (HS—Hoover, Ala.)8.A.J. Simcox, ss, Tennessee (HS—Knoxville, Tenn.)9.Dansby Swanson, ss, Vanderbilt (HS—Marietta, Ga.)10.A.J. Minter, lhp, Texas A&M (HS—Bullard, Texas)

 

BEST TOOLS

Best Pure Hitter—Raph Rhymes, Louisiana State. Best Raw Power—Mason Katz, LSU. Best Strike-Zone Judgment—Adam Frazier, Mississippi State. Best Athlete—JaCoby Jones, LSU. Fastest Runner—Tanner English, South Carolina. Best Baserunner—Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt.

Best Defensive C—Spencer Navin, Vanderbilt. Catcher/Best Arm—Grayson Greiner, South Carolina. Best Defensive 1B—Wes Rea, Mississippi State. Best Defensive 2B—Casey Turgeon, Florida. Best Defensive 3B—Curt Powell, Georgia. Best Defensive SS—Kyle Farmer, Georgia. Infielder/Best Arm—Joey Pankake, South Carolina. Best Defensive OF—Austin Cousino, Kentucky. Outfielder/Best Arm—Hunter Renfroe, Mississippi State.

Best Fastball—Jonathon Crawford, Florida. Best Breaking Ball—Crawford. Best Changeup—Barrett Astin, Arkansas. Best Control—Aaron Nola, LSU.

QUICK HITS 

Missouri and Texas A&M join the Southeastern Conference for baseball, and the Tigers decided to make the jump with junior-college players, penciling in four in their everyday lineup and another at closer. They are hoping 6-foot-5, 228-pound Sr. RHP Eric Anderson can bounce back from a pair of arm surgeries to contribute a veteran presence; he had shoulder surgery in 2010 that sidelined him for half of 2011, then had Tommy John surgery in May 2012. Jr. LHP Rob Zastryzny (5-4, 4.22) joins Anderson as veteran rotation anchors, and juco transfer Keeton Steele could anchor the back of the bullpen in addition to bringing strong defense and a promising lefthanded bat to the everyday first base job.

• The Aggies, in their own words, have a “different look” this season considering they don’t have a premium draft pick on the mound, after having a pitcher picked in the first three rounds every year since 2009. Sr. RHP Kyle Martin (6-5, 3.20, 7 SV) takes advantage of the vacuum in the rotation and moves to the Friday starter role, also moving his arm slot from sidearm to a more conventional three-quarters slot. So. RHPs Daniel Mengden (3-4, 3.83), who also could still catch some, and Gandy Stubblefield (3.86 ERA in 21 IP) have the physicality and raw stuff to start a new top-three-rounds streak next season, however. Sr. SS Mikey Reynolds (.306/.417/.403, 21 SB) and Jr. OF Krey Bratsen (.226/.316/.286, 21 SB) provide premium speed in what should be a characteristically athletic lineup.

Alabama missed regionals last year (snapping a streak of four straight) and had its first losing season since 1994, the last season of the Barry Shollenberger regime. Mitch Gaspard enters his fourth season with an overhaul beginning in earnest, with alumni Dax Norris and Andy Phillips landing a stout recruiting class that includes all four up-the-middle starters. JC transfer C Wade Wass, the team’s 2013 top prospect, was an unsigned eighth-rounder in 2012. Fr. SS Mikey White, whose father played football for the Crimson Tide, is a better prospect down the line and will man the keystone with Fr. 2B Kyle Overstreet, while Fr. OF Georgie Salem (cousin of ex-Tide CF Emeel) takes over in center.

Auburn is one of the SEC’s “small-market” teams, being in a state with no lottery-based scholarships (unlike Florida, Georgia or Louisiana), with a bottom-third enrollment and other limitations. The Tigers have earned only one regional bid since 2005 (in 2010), haven’t won a conference title since 1978 and haven’t been to the College World Series since Tim Hudson led them there in 1997. This doesn’t appear to be an Omaha team, but Auburn has a regional-caliber club with the return of its top hitter, OF Ryan Tella (.360/.448/.508), as part of a veteran lineup that adds top Fr. OF Sam Gillikin and Jr. 3B Damek Tomscha, a three-time draftee who helped Iowa Western to an NJCAA title last season. The rotation will rely heavily on a trio of sophomores in RHPs Rocky McCord, who threw just 17 innings last spring, and Trey Cochran Gill and LHP Daniel Koger (4-5, 3.19).

• Georgia builds around the left side of its infield with solid Srs. SS Kyle Farmer (.302/.337/.453) and 3B Curt Powell (.355/.434/.448), both steady defenders who grind out at-bats. The Bulldogs need a breakout from talented So. OF Hunter Cole (.276/.375/.448), who has huge raw power and moves to center field this season. They’re planning to rely heavily on newcomers in the rotation, starting with athletic RHP/OF Sean McLaughlin and fellow Fr. RHP David Gonzalez and possibly JC transfer LHP Kenneth Anderson. So. LHP Luke Crumley (3-2, 3.86) looks to move into the rotation from the bullpen.

Tennessee also is turning to newcomers in Dave Serrano’s second year in the league, with four freshmen and three JC transfers in the projected lineup and three more freshmen expected to log significant innings as starters. The key frosh appears to be SS A.J. Simcox, a former batboy whose father Larry was an assistant coach with the Vols in their last CWS trip in 2005. LHP/OF Vincent Jackson also figures to factor in significantly, though he’s slated to DH initially and may not crack the weekend rotation.

College | #2013 #2013 draft #Season Preview

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