Power rankings: Arkansas leads the pack
Barry Allen • 3/19/2021 in Baseball
Arkansas ranks as the league's best team heading into conference games
No.1 Arkansas (12-1)
The Razorbacks are the consensus No.1 team in the nation for the second straight week. Arkansas has seven come-from-behind wins, two extra-inning wins and two wins in one-run games. The Razorbacks have committed the fewest errors in the league and owns the second-best fielding percentage.
No. 2 Vanderbilt (12-2)
There is not much separation between the Vanderbilt and Arkansas at this point in the season. The Commodores boasts one of the top pitching staffs in the nation with Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter (one earned run, 68 strikeouts in 43 innings) leading the way.
No. 3 Mississippi State (13-3)
The theme for the Bulldogs this season has been the pitching staff and the high number of strikeouts. MSU ranks second I the league with 219 strikeouts. The Bulldogs are one of only three SEC teams with 200 or more strikeouts this season. Landon Sims has the most staggering numbers with 30 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.
No 4 Ole Miss (13-3)
The Rebels are one of three SEC teams to be ranked No.1 this season. The Rebels did get some good news this weekend when second baseman and leadoff hitter Peyton Chatagnier returned the lineup after missing 10 games with a hamstring injury. Chatagnier is hitting .435 (10-for-26) with five doubles and three RBIs. Third baseman Tim Elko (.351, 7 HR, 24 RBI) has been on the league’s hottest hitters. He is hitting .532 during his current 9-game hitting streak.
No. 5 Florida (13-4)
The preseason No. 1 team in the nation has had some hiccups this season. The Gators dropped a season-opening series to rival Miami and have losses to FAU and Jacksonville. The Gators are third in the league in hitting (.303) and have five starters - Jacob Young (.349), Kirby McMullen (.333), Colby Halter (.339), Nathan Hickey (.353) and Jordan Butler (.300) - hitting .300 or higher this season. UF has made a league-high 25 errors which have led to a league-leading 16 unearned runs.
No. 6 Texas A&M (14-4)
After a 1-3 start, A&M is 13-2 in its last 15 games, including a 10-game winning streak. Senior left fielder Will Frizzell ranks second in the SEC with seven home runs. The A&M pitching staff leads the SEC with 249 strikeouts.
No 7 LSU (14-3)
LSU leads the league with 33 home runs and has 11 different players with at least one home run this season. Sophomore infielder Cade Doughty leads the team and is tied for second in the SEC with seven home runs. All seven home runs have come in his last nine games.
No. 8 South Carolina (11-3)
The Gamecocks started the season with an 11-0 record before running into trouble at Texas this past weekend. South Carolina was swept in the three-game series in Austin and scored only six total runs in the series. Junior catcher Wes Clarke opened the season with eight home runs in his first six games, with three homers against Winthrop on Feb. 23. He has hit only one home run in his last eight games and that came in the series finale at Texas.
No. 9 Tennessee (14-3)
Tennessee has recorded sweeps in three of its four non-conference series. The Vols have sweeps against Georgia Southern, Georgia State and UNC Greensboro. Tennessee is tied for the most wins in the SEC and has the most wins of any team in the SEC East. The three losses came to Indiana State (2 losses) and midweek game at Charlotte (lost 9-0).
No. 10 Alabama (14-3)
Alabama All-American Connor Prielipp has missed the last three weekends and the Crimson Tide will be without their ace lefty for at least a couple of more weeks, according to head coach Brad Bohannon. Alabama only has 11 players on its roster with previous SEC experience. Third baseman Zane Denton is fifth in the league with six home runs.
No. 11 Georgia (13-3)
The Bulldogs are flying under the radar this season with a pitching staff that ranks third in the league in ERA (2.35) and opponent batting average (.190). Georgia has not allowed more than seven runs in a game this season. The offense is led by redshirt junior infielder Connor Tate, who has started all 16 games, and is batting .410 (25-for-61) with 11 runs scored, two home runs and 13 RBIs,
No. 12 Kentucky (11-2)
It’s easy to see the depth of this league when the team with the lowest ERA and fewest runs allowed are in the bottom quarter of the league rankings. Kentucky leads the SEC with 1.99 ERA (113 IP, 25 ER) through 13 games. The Wildcats have only played three non-conference series after the season-opening trip to North Carolina was canceled due to Covid-19. UK also dropped a home series to Ball State.
No. 13 Auburn (10-5)
The Tigers have the fewest wins among SEC Western Division teams and the second-fewest wins in the conference. AU has used four different starting pitching rotations in the four non-conference series. The Tigers have been affected by injuries and inconsistency on the mound. Senior right-hander Cody Greenhill missed the Boston College series and junior right-hander Richard Fitts missed the Little Rock series. Senior left-hander Jack Owen has yet to take the mound. The bullpen has had its issues as well. In the last two Sunday losses to Boston College and Little Rock, the AU bullpen has allowed 11 runs in the ninth inning. The Tigers rank third with 145 runs scored; those numbers are skewed a bit after a two-game sweep of Alabama A&M early this season, where the Tigers scored 55 total runs. AU has scored only 94 runs in the remaining 13 games.
No. 14 Missouri (7-10)
The Tigers are the only team in the league with a losing record. Missouri is last in the league with a.256 batting average and 7.24 ERA. The ERA is almost four runs per game worse than the 13th place team LSU, who owns a 3.85 ERA. The Tigers have allowed 10 or more runs five times. Missouri lost three of its four non-conference series, but enters SEC play with a series win over Illinois State.