SEC College 2014 Baseball Draft Preview, Part 2

USA TODAY Sports

Part two of the SEC preview takes a look at the West half of the division and the names of draft interest associated with those baseball programs. Happy College Baseball Season!

SEC West

1. LSU

They lost a couple big names from last years 50 win team, but LSU looks like the top dog to beat again in the West. Aaron Nola and Alex Bregman should be All-American types again.

MLB Draft Prospects

Aaron Nola – 6’1″, 185 – RHP (29) – 2013 Stats: 12 – 1 record, 1.57 ERA, .188 AVG, 1.29 BB/9, 8.71 K/9, 4 HR, 126 IP; (2.37 FIP)

Former Blue Jays 2nd Rounder in 2011; Could go higher this time in June; Excellent control as evidenced by Cliff Lee-esque walk rate; Throws a low 90′s two seamer with an above average power curve and changeup that flashes plus; Reminds me of Jeremy Hellickson

Mark Laird – 6’1″, 175 – CF (247) – 2013 Stats: .307/.371/.344 with 0 HR, 23 BB, 31 K, 6-for-11 in SB, in 248 at bats

Draft eligible sophomore; Great athlete that was standout football player in high school too; Has contact oriented approach and works count well; Average power upside; Above average running speed and defender in center

Others To Watch: Christian Ibarra – 2B/3B

2. Mississippi State

Mississippi State made the best playoff run in team history in 2013 as they made it all the way to the CWS finals where fell short of the National Title to UCLA. Key hitter Hunter Renfroe departs on offense but the pitching staff looks to be strong again and the Bulldogs should be one of the "top dogs" again in the SEC West.

MLB Draft Prospects

Jacob Lindgren – 5’11″, 205 – LHP (161) - 2013 Stats: 4 – 3 record, 4.18 ERA, 2.89 BB/9, 10.5 K/9, 2 HR allowed, in 56 IP; (2.68 FIP)

Pitched much better than ERA indicated; Fastball sits low 90′s but has touched 95 MPH; Slider is an outpitch; Likely Friday night starter in 2014; Looks like more of a reliever in pro ball.

Brandon Woodruff – 6’2″, 230 – RHP (165) - 2013 Stats: 4.32 ERA, .246 AVG, 9 BB, 15 K, in 18.2 IP

Former unsigned 5th rounder out of high school has talent to make big leap in 2014; Fastball has touched mid 90′s and shows promising breaking ball.

Others: Jonathan Holder – RHP

3. Texas A&M

A middle of the pack club in their SEC debut, I think the Aggies could be a sleeper contender in the West this year with 7 starters returning to the lineup. Key arms like Daniel Mengden and Parker Ray return as well to the pitching staff.

MLB Draft Prospects

Daniel Mengden – 6’1″, 210 – RHP (71) – 2013 Stats: 8 – 4 record, 2.11 ERA, .201 AVG, 1.95 BB/9, 7.64 K/9, 7 HR allowed, 110.2 IP; (3.25 FIP)

Two way player; played for Team USA in 2013; Better prospect on the mound with heavy low 90′s sinker that has touched mid 90′s and average secondaries; Great strike thrower although sinker command can get spotty at times.

Gandy Stubblefield – 6’3″, 205 - RHP (274)2013 Stats: Pitched just 1 inning

Injuries have marred the promising righty’s first two seasons; Named number one closer over Summer in Texas League; Fastball has touched 94-95 MPH; Will likely be in mix for late inning relief role.

Others To Watch: Parker Ray – RHP, Corey Ray – RHP, , Mitchell Nau – C

4. Arkansas

The Razorbacks were one of the more hyped preseason teams in 2013 but a below average offensive unit held them back somewhat from meeting those lofty expectations. Top hitter Brian Anderson returns but the entire weekend rotation is gone so I think the Razorbacks will take a step back in 2014. Chris Oliver could be an X-factor in the rotation.

MLB Draft Prospects

Brian Anderson – 6’3, 195 – 2B/3B (96)2013 Stats: .325/.448/.488 with 4 HR, 41 BB, 33 K, 6-for-7 in SB, in 209 at bats

Reminds me of former LSU second baseman JaCoby Jones; Great athlete with inconsistent track record with wood bats and position questions; Hit just .227 in the Cape over the Summer; Works count well; Plus throwing arm; May fit better in outfield.

Others: Chris Oliver – RHP

5. Alabama

Alabama returns seven starters on an offense that was below average by SEC standards in 2013. If that group sees a couple breakout performers and the talented rotation lives up to expectations, the Tide could make some noise this year.

MLB Draft Prospects

(None ranked in Matt Garrioch’s Top 300)

However, righthander Spencer Turnbull looks like a name to watch. He’s a burly 6’3, 230 pound righthander who sits low 90′s with his fastball and will anchor the Crimson Tide rotation.

6. Ole Miss

Ole Miss lost several key arms like Bobby Wahl and Mike Mayers, along with catcher Stuart Turner on offense. I expect them to take a step back in 2014. A breakout year from Chris Ellis could help improve the team’s outlook.

MLB Draft Prospects

Chris Ellis – 6′5", 205 – RHP (53) – 2013 Stats: 5.57 ERA, .348 AVG, 4.71 BB/9, 6.86 K/9, in 21 IP; (5.49 FIP)

Two seamer that has touched 94-95 MPH gets great tail from what I saw; Still has some physical projection; Command needs to become more consistent, especially of secondary pitches; Performed well on the Cape; A breakout Junior campaign could put him in first round discussion.

Senquez Golson - 5’9″, 195 – CF (115) - 2013 Stats: DNP Chose to sit out 2013 to concentrate full time on football but expected to return to baseball team in 2014; Toolsy, athletic type that has intriguing upside if baseball skills catch up.

Hawtin Buchanan – 6′9", 250 – RHP (140) - 2013 Stats: 6.75 ERA, 6 BB, 10 K, in 8 IP

Big kid that throws hard but consistent command is an issue; May fit better in relief

Sikes Orvis – 6’2″, 225 – 1B (249) – 2013 Stats: .237/.325/.320 with 3 HR, 19 BB, 31 K, in 169 at bats

Disappointing sophomore campaign; Big power potential; Has reportedly put on some good muscle and performed well in the Fall; Breakout Junior year with much improved power totals could make him intriguing prospect.

Josh Laxer – 6’2″, 210 – RHP (289) – 2013 Stats: 3.21 ERA, .238 AVG, 4.17 BB/9, 4.61 K, 1 HR allowed, 42 IP; (4.18 FIP)

Former Nationals draftee in 2011; Throws low 90′s sinker with average secondaries; Should make jump to weekend rotation this season;

7. Auburn

The Tigers have been projected by the SEC coaches to bring up the rear, which I agree with. New head coach Sunny Galloway brought in a 13th ranked recruiting class bringing future promise to a team that appears to be going through a rebuilding phase.

MLB Draft Prospects

Rock Rucker – 6’5″, 220 – RF (257) – 2013 Stats: Only appeared in 2 games

Draft eligible sophomore; Bats and throws left; Athletic with above average speed and power potential; Rated 3rd best prospect in Florida League by BA; Should be in mix for starting outfelder role.

Others: Jay Gonzalez, OF

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