Put me in, coach. I’m ready to watch the best baseball conference in the country. Yes, it’s time. SEC baseball is nearly upon us again. Opening Day is Friday. Vanderbilt and Arkansas were preseason picks to win the East and West, but Ole Miss received more  votes than anybody to win the tournament. Coming off a year of SEC domination, get ready for more of the same. Despite the loss of some SEC baseball legends like Tanner Allen, Will Bednar, and Vandy’s ace duo of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter, the cupboard is a long, long way from bare. Here are our top 10 SEC baseball stars to watch in the 2022 season.

10. Hunter Barco, P, Florida

Much of Florida’s 2021 struggles surrounded highly-touted pitchers struggling to find a role. The good news is that those struggles did not impact Barco. The tough lefty went 10-3 with a 4.01 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 83 innings pitched. If UF’s bullpen can give him better support than last season, Barco could well be among the SEC”s wins leaders.

9. Blade Tidwell, P, Tennessee

UT was one of the feel-good stories of SEC baseball in 2021 and Tidwell should keep things moving in that direction. The right-hander posted a 10-3 mark and a 3.74 ERA in helping return Tennessee to baseball glory.

8. Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

Like the Gators, Fabian is capable of an explosion in 2022. Fabian is perhaps the SEC’s dominant returning power bat, as demonstrated by his 20 homers in 2021. Yes, he did hit .249 and strike out 79 times, but if a ho-hum season saw Fabian among the SEC’s home run leaders, imagine what could happen if he gets hot.

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7. Dylan Crews, OF, LSU

The Tigers figure to be a team on the climb with new coach Jay Johnson. And Crews, who hit .362 in 2021 with 18 homers but also stole 12 bases, figures to be a force. If the Tigers can put together enough pitching to support Crews, they could well pop into the top of that highly competitive SEC West. Either way, Crews will be an absolute masher at the plate.

6. Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss

The Rebels’ shortstop was highly regarded entering 2021, but few were prepared for him to hit .355 with 12 homers and 55 RBI to help keep Ole Miss in the thick of the SEC battle. With just 34 strikeouts in 262 at-bats, Gonzalez is a tough man to strike out. Don’t sleep on him — or on the Rebels.

5. Enrique Bradfield, Jr., OF, Vanderbilt

Speed thrills and Bradfield showed the rest of the SEC what he could do last season, stealing 47 bases. Not only did Bradfield hit .336 , but with 45 walks to just 42 strikeouts, he consistently set the table for the big bats in the Vanderbilt lineup. With the ‘Dores suffering some significant losses, Bradfield may have to be even more aggressive in 2022, and the early guess is that he’ll be up for the task.

4. Robert Moore, 2B, Arkansas

Lost in the shuffle of MSU’s post-season run and big expectations around about two-thirds of the league is the fact that Arkansas was the team to beat for virtually the entire 2021 season.

Even without pitching ace Peyton Pallette, who was lost for the 2022 season due to injury, Arkansas will be in the hunt again, and Moore will be a key. The steady infielder hit .283 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs last year, and he’s always at his best in the clutch. Don’t sleep on Moore.

3. Landon Sims, P, Mississippi State

Last season’s SEC pitching narrative was supposed to be about Vandy’s duo of aces or maybe Florida’s deep rotation. Instead, Will Bednar stole the show late, but much of the reason he was in Omaha to steal it at all was Sims. As a freshman, his 5-0 record, 1.44 ERA, and 100 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings all attest to Sims being the heir apparent to the mantle of both Bednar and Arkansas relief ace Kevin Kopps. He’s lights out and only getting better.

2. Jacob Berry, IF, LSU

Nothing like a new face on the list and Berry, who joined coach Johnson in moving from Arizona to the Bayou, figures to be an instant hit as a Tiger. He hit .352 with 17 homers and 70 RBI as a freshman at Arizona in 2021, and the power-hitting corner infielder/DH drew All-American accolades last year. This year could be even better.

1. Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State

If the Bulldogs hope to repeat, they’ll need to be strong up the middle and that starts with Tanner behind the plate. Not only is he adept at handling MSU’s pitching staff, Tanner hit .287 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs last season. He’ll be in the middle of another big season for State.