Keeping track of some of your favorite college players after they’ve graduated can be difficult, but even more so with baseball. With so many draft picks each year, and countless leagues to play in, it can be years before you hear about a certain player again.
To help with that we decided to compile a list of the best former SEC prospects making their way through the minors. Grab those peanuts and crackerjacks, pull up a seat, and enjoy.
#1 Nick Senzel (3B)
The #2 overall pick in 2016, the former Tennessee standout was the top pure hitter in that draft class and he’s proved it in the minor leagues. He should be able to consistently hit for .300 in the big leagues. The Reds have toyed around with a position change for Senzel during spring training by playing him at shortstop.
Ultimately, he will start the season in the minor league, but he will surely see big league action in 2018. The Reds can control his contract for an additional year if Senzel stays in the minors for three weeks so I’m sure that was a major reason for the move. Reds fans should definitely be excited about their future with Senzel.
#2 Kyle Wright (RHP)
The 2017 1st round draft pick out of Vanderbilt faces a tough battle to crack the Braves rotation. He will most likely be a late September call up due to the high number of pitching prospects the Braves currently have. But all indications are that Wright has a bright future.
Hall of Famer Bobby Cox gives his nod of approval, so you know things are legit. Wright had a good spring but was assigned to the minor leagues so that he can be on a regular pitching rotation. The Braves desperately need a clear ace for their future so hopefully, Wright can quickly slide into that role.
#3 Alex Faedo (RHP)
The Tigers first round pick in 2016 was a somewhat surprising one. Faedo had a solid college career at Florida but suffered injuries that put a question mark on his name. The 6’5 225 pounder has some really impressive pitches in his arsenal. His fastball sits in the mid 90’s which is more than serviceable. His slider is filthy. It has a late break that causes it to completely fall off the table. It looks more like a 12-6 curveball if it weren’t for the velocity.
It appears the Tigers might have stolen one in 2016 because this kid is legit. If he can avoid injuries he should be a dominant rotation guy for years to come. He will start the year off in the minors but should be on a fast track to start next spring in big league camp.
#4 AJ Puk (LHP)
The Athletics best overall prospect was shut down in spring due to biceps tightness. The 6’7 lefty was notable this spring but wasn’t deemed ready for the big league. His MRI showed no damage, so everything appears good. If Puk stays healthy and continues pitching like he has then we will no doubt, see him in the pros in 2018. The potential number one overall pick in 2016, also from UF, has flown through the minors, therefore, it shouldn’t be much longer before he’s in the pros.
#5 Dane Dunning (RHP)
I probably should have named this the Florida edition. All three players are on the Top 100 prospects list, which is incredibly impressive for one college team. The fact that all three are pitchers is even more insane. No wonder Florida won the National Championship in 2016. Dunning was used primarily as a swingman at Florida which might be why he was overlooked. In the minors, however, he has been impressive. In two full seasons, he has posted a sub 3.00 ERA both times. He is a strike thrower that has effective stuff. He projects as a mid to frontline starter.
#6 Anthony Alford (OF)
Alford is an interesting choice for this list. He technically didn’t play baseball in the SEC. He was a dual-sport star that began his career at Southern Miss before transferring to play DB at Ole Miss. Injuries caused him to think otherwise and he eventually chose baseball full time. Since then he’s become the 3rd best prospect in the Blue Jays organization. His blend of raw strength and athleticism gives him a high ceiling. The little amount of time it’s taken him to move up the ladder is impressive and adds a bit of excitement to how good he can be.
#7 Walker Buehler (RHP)
Ok really, I should have just named this Florida vs Vandy. The Dodgers top prospect is still trying to regain his form following Tommy John Surgery. He is expected to see the field for LA this season though. The righty is sorely needed in the Dodger’s heavily left-handed rotation. He has looked sharp in limited action and should provide the Dodgers with yet another pitching option in 2018.
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