Week 9 SEC Baseball Power Rankings: Resetting the bottom of the league
SEC Week 9 was crazy — heck, Tennessee lost twice. But at the end of the day, the top of the SEC was relatively unchanged. But the bottom does get a shuffle. Here’s where they stand, halfway through the SEC baseball season.
14. Kentucky (21-15, 5-10)
Losing a series at Mizzou drops the Wildcats to the bottom of the league — well, that and South Carolina’s big week. Yes, Kentucky did win a series against Georgia. But unless the Wildcats have another surprising turn on deck, the rest of the season looks pretty bleak.
13. South Carolina (18-17, 6-9)
Yes, the Gamecocks won their series against Ole Miss, moving up a notch in the East pecking order. But their .221 batting average in league play has to improve or it might be a short sojourn out of the SEC basement.
12. Missouri (21-12, 5-10)
The Tigers are far ahead of last season’s pace, but they would do well to improve on their 15 home runs in SEC play, which is 13th in the league. Meanwhile, Tigers pitchers are 12th in the league in walks and ERA in conference games.
11. Ole Miss (21-14, 5-10)
The Rebels have arrived at the bottom of the league with Mizzou and UK. So why put them even this high? Well, there’s still reason for optimism. The Rebels’ 28 homers in league games ranks 3rd in the league. And Ole Miss’ pitchers are surely better than their 6.58 ERA in league play. Right? Right???
10. Florida (22-14, 6-9)
The Gators lost their series to Vanderbilt and have struggled mightily with pitching — see 6.87 ERA in league play, which is 13th. Yes, they can hit the long ball, but they need a ton of them to get around this pitching staff.
9. Mississippi State (21-16, 6-9)
With the Bulldogs winning their series again Auburn, it’s worth wondering if it’s Ole Miss that might be nailed to the bottom of the league with the Bulldogs making things more interesting. Let’s see where they stand after their series in Oxford this weekend.
8. Texas A&M (22-13, 8-7)
The Aggies took down Georgia and have a league-high .297 average in conference games, as well as tying with UT for the most runs scored (115). Will they have enough pitching? If so, they could range up to the top 3-4. If not, they won’t make the NCAA Tournament.
7. Vanderbilt (25-10, 7-8)
Vandy did outlast Florida in their weekend series to gain 3rd place in the East. The Commodores aren’t awful in any phase of the game, but they don’t have dominant pitching and the offense tends to have to manufacture runs, which doesn’t always work. Still, could they get hot late end up in Omaha? Definitely … but they better get a move on.
6. LSU (23-12, 7-8)
The Tigers were swept by Arkansas, but we’re still fairly optimistic about their season. LSU is 3rd in the SEC in ERA in conference play, which is huge given that the Tigers’ big bats will come around. Sure, they’re a game back of the 2nd place logjam in the West, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see LSU overtake that field in the second half of the season.
5. Alabama (23-14, 8-7)
Alabama doesn’t drop, even though they lost their series with Tennessee. Hey, they actually beat Tennessee once, which nobody else has done in league play. They’re tied for 2nd in the West, and a competitive series in Knoxville is a good thing, ultimate results aside.
4. Auburn (24-12, 8-7)
The No. 23 Tigers would have moved up to 3rd had they won their series with Mississippi State, but they didn’t. That said, 2nd place in the West (and 4th in the league for that matter) remains wide open. And as long as Sonny DiChiara gives hope to all of us with dad bods, the Tigers have to get the tie-breaker.
3. Georgia (26-10, 9-6)
The No. 18 Bulldogs had a bad week, losing their series to Texas A&M and clearly showing the absence of Jonathan Cannon with his hopefully minor arm injury. They would take a slide … but Auburn lost their series, as did Alabama, LSU and Florida. So leave the Bulldogs here, but recognize that the pitching has to step it up or they’ll take a slide.
2. Arkansas (28-7, 11-4)
A sweep of LSU was impressive (and opened up a 3-game lead on the rest of the division). But more impressive was that Arkansas’ pitching completely threw the Tigers off stride. Arkansas is hitting just .252 in league play, but a pitching staff that is 2nd in ERA in league games (3.47) and first in saves (7) shows that the No. 4 Hogs are winning close games … which is certainly a good skill to hone ahead of a potential run to Omaha.
1. Tennessee (33-3, 14-1)
Yes, even on a week when they lost twice, the Vols remain numero uno — in our poll and in the country. The only really distressing news of the week was the injury that knocked Chase Dollander out of his start against Alabama. Let’s see how he is … but Blake Tidwell continues to get back into form, so there’s no real reason to think UT does anything but come up aces either way.