February 11, 2016

Mizzou picked for last in SEC’s Eastern Division baseball poll

The Missouri Tigers baseball team was picked for 7th in the Eastern Division and finished with the fewest points in the SEC’s baseball coaches poll. The Arkansas Razorbacks are predicted to win the 2013 SEC baseball title. The Razorbacks, ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll, seek to capture their third SEC Championship and first since 2004.

The Tigers do have a couple of pieces to replace, specifically at catcher. Last year, senior Ben Turner caught nearly every inning for the Tigers and hit in the 3-hole for much of the season. He hit .284 with 28 RBI last season. Mizzou will also need to replace its starting shortstop, Eric Garcia (.271, 35 RBI, 2 HR, .372 OBP and Big 12 Tournament MOP), outfielder Blake Brown (.302, 40 RBI, 10 HR, .520 slugging) and third baseman Conner Mach (.291, 30 RBI, .393 OBP). Turner,Garcia and Brown were all drafted last season.

On the mound, the two most glaring losses for Mizzou are starter/reliever Jeff Emens, who led the team with a 2.71 ERA in 86.1 innings pitched last season while boasting a 4-1 record with three saves, and second-team All-Big 12 honoree Dusty Ross (3.00 ERA, 3 saves, 48.0 IP). The Tigers also lost Saturday starter Blake Holovach (5.08 ERA, 79.2 IP, 7-5) as he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

The Tigers open the season this weekend against Southern Miss. Thoughts and prayers go out to those in Hattiesburg,Miss., this weekend after a tornado ravaged the area last Sunday evening. The tornado went right through heavily-populated areas of Hattiesburg, including parts of the Southern Miss campus. Mizzou baseball asks fans tweeting about the games this weekend to please use the hashtag: #PrayForHattiesburg as the community continues to recover from the tragic events last Sunday.

In the Eastern Division, Vanderbilt was the favorite with 89 of a possible 91 points. Florida came in second with 67 points, with Kentucky and South Carolina tied at third with 59. Arkansas received 90 points in the West. LSU was second with 75, while Mississippi State finished third with 59. Points were compiled on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

I guess its all about Mizzou needing to earn respect. It’s not like the Tigers were at the bottom of the pile in the Big 12. They were the conference champions and qualified for regional play.

Eastern Division Team Pts.

1) Vanderbilt 89 (12)
2) Florida 67
3) Kentucky 59 (1)
     South Carolina 59 (1)
5) Georgia 41
6) Tennessee 29
7) Missouri 23

Western Division Team Pts.

1) Arkansas 90 (12)
2) LSU 75 (1)
3) Mississippi State 59 (1)
4) Ole Miss 54
5) Texas A&M 51
6) Alabama 26
7) Auburn 24