SEC Baseball: 14 takeaways from early part of 2023 season

With the 2023 SEC baseball season now a few weeks underway, let’s take a look at each team, and give a takeaway for each based on what we have seen so far this season, starting with the SEC’s last remaining unbeaten, Alabama.

14 takeaways from early part of 2023 SEC baseball season

Alabama – Colby Shelton continuing to impress at third base 

One of the biggest question marks for an experienced Alabama baseball roster entering the spring was at third base, where previous starter Zane Denton transferred to Tennessee. Alabama has not skipped a beat at the position so far this season however with the emergence of freshman Colby Shelton, who is currently hitting for a .405 AVG with nine HR and 20 RBI across 12 games.

Arkansas – Hunter Hollan making key impact

An offseason transfer addition for the Razorbacks from the JUCO ranks, Hunter Hollan has been one of Arkansas’ top starters so far this spring, helping solidify a rotation that lost right-hander Jaxon Wiggins prior to the season beginning. Across his first three starts, the left-hander has certainly impressed, owning a 2.30 ERA with a 14:6 K:BB ratio across 15.2 IP.

Auburn – Ike Irish is a SEC Freshman of the Year candidate

Similar to Shelton previously, Auburn has a clear SEC Freshman of the Year candidate emerging as well in catcher Ike Irish. Across 12 games, Irish has been one of the Tigers top hitters this season by owning a .489 AVG with nine RBI.

Florida – Jac Caglianone is the early favorite for 2023 SEC Player of the Year

On the topic of early award favorites, Florida two-way sophomore Jac Caglianone might just be the early favorite for the 2023 SEC Baseball Player of the Year. Across 14 games, Caglianone is currently hitting for a .351 AVG with 10 HR and 20 RBI, while also owning a 2.08 ERA with a 23:6 K:BB ratio across 17.1 IP on the mound.

Georgia – Is Liam Sullivan a sleeper for SEC Pitcher of the Year?

After posting a 4.62 ERA a year ago, Liam Sullivan has been arguably Georgia’s top starter so far this season, even potentially emerging as an early SEC Pitcher of the Year contender. Across 15.1 IP, Sullivan currently owns a 0.59 ERA with a 21:5 K:BB ratio.

Kentucky – Zack Lee enjoying strong start for Wildcats

The run of impressive starts to the year for SEC pitchers continues here with Kentucky, where Zack Lee is off to a noteworthy start to the 2023 season. Across 17 IP for the Wildcats, Lee owns a 1.06 ERA with a 22:3 K:BB ratio.

LSU – Tigers are legit national title contender

If there was any doubt that LSU wasn’t the preseason No. 1 team in college baseball entering the year, then that doubt should be gone now. Currently sitting at 11-1, the top-ranked Tigers have been as impressive as any team across the country so far, and are certainly cemented as a legit national title contender, if not the early favorite.

Mississippi State – Could Jurrangelo Cijntje be a SEC Freshman of the Year candidate?

Another potential name to watch for in the aforementioned SEC Freshman of the Year competition could come from Cijntje, who is enjoying a strong start to the 2023 season in Starkville. Cijntje, a switch-pitcher, currently owns a 0.00 ERA with a 12:3 K:BB ratio across 9 IP.

Missouri – Transfer Hank Zeisler making key impact

After transferring from UNLV, Hank Zeisler has been one of SEC baseball’s most impactful transfer additions so far this season. Across 12 games, Zeisler is one of Missouri’s top hitters, currently batting for a .270 AVG with five HR and 17 RBI.

Ole Miss – Rebels lineup is one of the SEC’s best

While this was likely already known entering the year, it’s still impressive to see just how good Ole Miss’ lineup has been so far this season. The defending national champions currently own a team .352 AVG across 13 games, and of their everyday starters, seven are batting at-least .300+ so far this season.

South Carolina – Could Noah Hall be a sleeper for SEC Pitcher of the Year?

Similar to Georgia’s Liam Sullivan previously, could South Carolina’s Noah Hall also be a potential sleeper contender for the SEC Pitcher of the Year? Hall has enjoyed an impressive start to the year for the Gamecocks, owning a 1.86 ERA with a 21:2 K:BB ratio across 19.1 IP.

Tennessee – Volunteers weekend rotation as good as advertised 

We already knew this going into the year, right? The weekend trio of Chase Dollander, Chase Burns, and Drew Beam is certainly living up to the preseason hype so far, as all three currently hold an ERA under 3.00 while leading a Tennessee pitching staff that currently owns a 2.21 team ERA, with the trio in particular having also combined for a 69:11 K:BB ratio across 48.3 IP.

Texas A&M – Freshman left-hander Justin Lamkin impressing in bullpen

One of Texas A&M’s biggest takeaways comes in the bullpen, where the Aggies have gotten strong play from freshman left-hander Justin Lamkin. Across six games, one of which he started, Lamkin owns a 0.75 ERA with a 16:4 K:BB ratio and one save across 12 IP.

Vanderbilt – Freshman RJ Austin making key impact

Concluding here with Vanderbilt, the Commodores also have a freshman who has made a key impact in RJ Austin. Across 14 games, Austin has been one of Vanderbilt’s top hitters, owning a .293 AVG with two HR and 11 RBI.