MLB Draft Grades: SEC – Mississippi State With A Dominant Draft, Florida Struggles

The SEC made MLB draft history when they had four of the first six players selected in the most recent draft, but how did individual programs fare – let’s score each of the 14 SEC teams from 0 to 10.

Mississippi State – 8.7
The Bulldogs had one of the best drafts in the country and in the SEC from a collegiate standpoint, as Mississippi State saw two first-round draft picks and three in the first two rounds. First rounders Justin Foscue and Jordan Westburg weren’t drafted out of high school, and the Bulldogs turned them into elite prospects in just three years. Meanwhile they kept JT Ginn as a second rounder despite recent Tommy John surgery. Their biggest concern is making sure high schooler Blaze Jordan doesn’t sign with the Boston Red Sox and gives the Bulldogs access to one of the best high school bats in the country. Great program, great draft. 

Arkansas – 5.1
The Razorbacks got an early surprise when their elite prospect – outfielder Heston Kjerstad – went second overall, but then they watched their other projected first rounder Casey Martin drop all the way into the middle of the third round, so it was a bit of a strange draft for the Razorbacks, and it’s tough to judge the program much off this shortened draft. 

LSU – 4.3
LSU had two draft prospects, both who were considered fringe first-rounders, but both slipped at least ten spots, with pitcher Cole Henry going 55th overall, and outfielder Danny Cabrera went 62nd. Nothing too much of note for the Tigers – both Henry and Cabrera will likely go pro, but their draft-day slips don’t reflect very well on LSU. 

Texas A&M – 5.0
I listed the Aggies as a loser in yesterday’s draft analysis article – as I believe they are going to lose more prospects then they anticipated. Asa Lacy went fourth overall, which reflects well, but projected third rounders Zach DeLoach and Christian Roa skyrocketed over thirty picks higher than their expected value. It’s a great long-term look for the program, if Texas A&M converts on the recruiting front, but the Aggies will be a little weaker than they anticipated in 2021. 

Ole Miss – 8.3
If Mississippi State boasted one of the best drafts in the country, at least Ole Miss wasn’t far behind. The Rebels saw both of their picks go in that perfect zone of above slot value, without going so high that they become a much higher risk of turning pro. Shortstop Anthony Servideo and third baseman Tyler Keenan went in the third and fourth rounds respectively. No top-tier talent, but the Rebels did a solid job turning these prospects into draft commodities, without seriously endangering their short-term hopes as a program. 

Auburn – 5.2
Relatively neutral stuff here from Auburn. Projected first rounder Tanner Burns slipped a little bit but snuck into the back end at pick #36, while hurler Bailey Horn somewhat unexpectedly heard his name called in the fifth round. They probably would have liked to see Burns go a little closer to his slot value, but Horn’s selection was an unexpected addition, so tough to judge this one. 

Alabama – 6.5
The Crimson Tide had one legitimate draft prospect in outfielder Tyler Gentry, and he went right about where he was supposed to, early in the third round. Alabama finished last in the SEC West last season, so this is about as good as it gets on the diamond for the Tide. 

Vanderbilt – 7.8
Vandy had a top-five pick in Austin Martin, arguably the best player in the draft, but then projected second rounder Jake Eder dropped all the way into the fourth round. Right-hander Ty Brown jumped into the third round, and hurler Mason Hickman rounded out the Commodores’ stable of picks. Lots of volume and a first rounder, so it’s hard to critique one of the best programs in the country too much. 

Georgia – 6.1
The Bulldogs came into the draft with two projected first-round hurlers, and while Emerson Hancock went sixth overall, Cole Wilcox tumbled down into the third round. Up and down draft, although the bonus is Wilcox may opt to stay another year with Georgia – he has three years of eligibility left and should be a first rounder in another year. 

Tennessee – 6.4

The Volunteers came away from the draft with three picks, headlined by eleventh overall pick Garret Crochet. Meanwhile, outfielder Alerick Soularie made one of those jumps that’s scary for a college program, from a projected early fourth rounder into the middle of the second round, where the signing bonuses became extremely enticing. Dangerous territory for the Volunteers, but overall three draft picks is a solid showing in the draft. 

Missouri – 4.6
The Tigers did very little in this draft, with only one significant draft prospect that fell 34 spots further than expected. Missouri is a middle-of-the-road SEC team, and they had a very middle-of-the-road type of draft. 

Florida – 1.0
Florida is one of the best programs in the country and won a national championship in 2017, appearing in the College World Series in 2018. Despite a tough year last year, it’s not customary for Florida to have elite talent on their roster. They only had two projected draft picks coming into last week’s draft, but then the Gators saw neither player selected, putting an exclamation point on a low point in the Florida baseball program.  

South Carolina – 6.0
Carmen Mlodzinski gave South Carolina a first round pick, but that was pretty much all the Gamecocks got in this year’s draft. About what was expected from a struggling SEC program. 

Kentucky – 4.0
Kentucky is one of the worst teams in the SEC, and they really had nothing to lose or gain from this draft with no top-level prospects. No draft picks and nothing much else to comment on here from the Wildcats.

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