Southeastern Conference Preview

SEE ALSO: College Preview Index


Baseball Members (First Year): 
East—Florida (1933), Georgia (1933), Kentucky (1933), Missouri (2013), South Carolina (1992), Tennessee (1933), Vanderbilt (1933). 
West—Alabama (1933), Arkansas (1992), Auburn (1933), Louisiana State (1933), Mississippi (1933), Mississippi State (1933), Texas A&M (2013). 
Checking out: None.

Team to Beat: Florida 
The Gators have an abundance of talent on their roster, which features six Preseason All-Americans.

Best Pure Hitter: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
Best Raw Power: Greg Deichmann, Louisiana State
Best Strike-Zone Judgement: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
Best Athlete: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
Fastest Baserunner: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
Best Baserunner: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
Best Defensive Catcher: Mike Rivera, Florida
Catcher/Best Arm: Cooper Johnson, Mississippi
Best Defensive 1B: Evan White, Kentucky
Best Defensive 2B: Cole Freeman, Louisiana State
Best Defensive 3B: Jonathan India, Florida
Best Defensive SS: Dalton Guthrie, Florida
Infield/Best Arm: Colby Bortles, Mississippi
Best Defensive Outfielder: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
Best Outfield Arm: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
Best Fastball: Tanner Houck, Missouri
Best Breaking Ball: Alex Lange, Louisiana State
Best Changeup: Brigham Hill, Texas A&M
Best Control: Clarke Schmidt, South Carolina

Player of the Year: Jeren Kendall of, Vanderbilt Kendall is one of the most electric players in the country and impacts the game in a variety of ways with his power-speed combination.

Pitcher of the Year: Alex Faedo rhp, Florida Faedo ranked third in the country in strikeouts last year, and he should again pile up whiffs this spring with his devastating fastball-slider combination and improved changeup.

Freshman of the Year: Carlos Cortes inf/of, South Carolina Cortes was perhaps the best prep hitter in Florida last year. He’s still working to find a defensive home, but he’s ready to step into the lineup.

Top 25 Teams: Florida (3), Louisiana State (4), South Carolina (5), Vanderbilt (11)

Other Projected Regional Teams

Arkansas: The Razorbacks started 2016 strong, but tumbled to the SEC basement by the end of the season. The Razorbacks figure to bounce back with the help of better health, the 12th-ranked recruiting class and some sophomores stepping up, such as RHP Isaiah Campbell.

Mississippi: From a team that hosted a regional last year, the Rebels lost their catcher, shortstop, Friday starter and closer. Their top-ranked recruiting class will help offset those losses, but it may take the newcomers some time to adjust to the SEC.

Mississippi State: There have been significant changes in Starkville since the Bulldogs completed a worst-to-first turnaround last year. Head coach John Cohen was promoted to athletic director and 10 players were drafted and signed. So. OF Jake Mangum, a Preseason All-American, is set to lead the new-look Bulldogs.

Texas A&M: The Aggies rode a veteran roster to the SEC Tournament title and a national seed last year, but will have a younger roster this spring. Texas A&M will be strong on the mound again, led by Jr. RHPs Brigham Hill and Corbin Martin, but will need to find some new pieces for the lineup.

Notable Storylines: The coaching carousel was especially active in the SEC, and four schools enter 2017 with new coaches. In addition to Cohen’s promotion, Mitch Gaspard (Alabama), Gary Henderson (Kentucky) and Tim Jamieson (Missouri) all resigned last year. Replacing them are Steve Bieser (Missouri), Andy Cannizaro (Mississippi State), Greg Goff (Alabama) and Nick Mingione (Kentucky) . . . Auburn finished 12th in the SEC in ERA last season, but is poised to take a big step forward on the mound thanks to R-Jr. RHP Keegan Thompson returning from Tommy John surgery and highly touted Fr. RHP Davis Daniel coming to school.

2017 Top 20 Prospects 2018 Top 10 Prospects Top Freshmen
1. Alex Faedo rhp, Florida 1. Brady Singer rhp, Florida 1. Carlos Cortes, inf/of, South Carolina
2. Jeren Kendall of, Vanderbilt 2. Konnor Pilkington lhp, Mississippi State 2. Cooper Johnson, c, Mississippi
3. Kyle Wright rhp, Vanderbilt 3. Jackson Kowar rhp, Florida 3. Ryan Rolison, lhp, Mississippi
4. Alex Lange rhp, Louisiana State 4. Isaiah Campbell rhp, Arkansas 4. Austin Langworthy, of/lhp, Florida
5. Tanner Houck rhp, Missouri 5. Jonathan India 3b, Florida 5. Zach Linginfelter, rhp, Tennessee
6. Wil Crowe rhp, South Carolina 6. Adam Hill rhp, South Carolina 6. Will Ethridge, rhp, Mississippi
7. J.J. Schwarz c/1b, Florida 7. Chris Cullen c, South Carolina 7. Zack Hess, rhp, Louisiana State
8. Clarke Schmidt rhp, South Carolina 8. Casey Mize rhp, Auburn 8. Grae Kessinger, ss, Mississippi
9. Dalton Guthrie ss, Florida 9. Antoine Duplantis of, Louisiana State 9. Graham Ashcraft, rhp, Mississippi State
10. Corbin Martin rhp, Texas A&M 10. Alonzo Jones 2b/of, Vanderbilt 10. Dominic Fletcher, of, Arkansas
11. Mike Rivera c, Florida    
12. Jake Mangum of, Mississippi State    
13. Evan White 1b, Kentucky    
14. Tyler Johnson rhp, South Carolina    
15. Keegan Thompson rhp, Auburn    
16. Josh Anthony 3b, Auburn    
17. Zach Warren lhp, Tennessee    
18. Zach Pop rhp, Kentucky    
19. Brigham Hill rhp, Texas A&M    
20. Mike Papierski c, Louisiana State    

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