(Editor's note: The following was first published on d1baseball.com. The original includes capsule previews of every ACC team, top prospects and team by team breakdowns. Use code Save23 for a discounted subscription.)
D1Baseball.com previews the 2023 SEC baseball season. They project the SEC’s final standings, regional teams, Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
Projected order of finish/projected regional teams
*Teams are listed in order of projected finish. Bold indicates 2022 regional teams.
Player of the Year: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Dylan Crews is the best overall hitter and power producer in college baseball. He has a calm and professional presence in the box, and it almost always seems like you must make the perfect pitch to get him out.
Crews has a strong case to be the top pick in the MLB draft come next June. Crews has such a big-league approach at the plate, and he made a massive statement in last week’s scrimmage with a laser beam home run to kick off the exhibition against the Cajuns.
Pitcher of the Year: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Chase Dollander is the best pitcher in the country. Dollander’s combination of elite stuff and elite track record is unmatched in college baseball. He has advanced feel to attack the zone with a mid-to-upper-90s fastball, a wipeout plus slider, an above-average curveball and above-average changeup.
In his two inning start against Memphis in Jackson in early November staff ace Dollander easily sat 95-96 and touched 97 with his fastball while featuring a mid-80s slider as his primary secondary pitch. He did hit a few barrels in the first inning, allowing a run, but settled down, found his plus slider and finished strong. Dollander can also spin a better than average, upper-70s curveball (2700+ rpm) and pull the string with an above average changeup.
Freshman of the Year: Grayson Saunier, RHP, Ole Miss
Grayson Saunier, the latest blue-chip arm to arrive in Oxford, following in the footsteps of Gunnar Hoglund, Ryan Rolison, Bobby Wahl and Lance Lynn. Like those four, Saunier should make a huge impact as a freshman, likely as a weekend starter.
With an ideal pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and the ability to drive the fastball downhill from a high slot, Saunier looks the part, and I saw good stuff from him in the Pizza Bowl even though he was tired and not his best — he still sat 91-93 with big, sharp two-plane break on his 79-83 slider. But he was better than that for most of the fall.