Rebels check in at #13. The pitching staff is rated the best in the nation (tied with UNC, who is the preseason #1, with a 70) and with good reason. The pitching we have is an embarrassment of riches.
The question is obviously hitting--as evidenced by the rating of 50. The projected starters accounted for five total home runs last season. The good news is that the Turner kid sounds like a beast at the plate, as well as a defensive upgrade behind the plate from Allen who just doesn't have the arm. I still say watch out for Austin Knight, too.
The team also received a rating of 70 in speed, which could be a huge asset if the bats are struggling.
In summary, Baseball America realizes what I think we all do: The pitching is outstanding. If the hitting is there, the sky is the limit.
Other info that you may or may not care about, but I do so I'm mentioning it:
-Eight conference mates are ranked in the top 25, including five of the top-10....so yeah, "S-E-C! S-E-C!" and all that shit.
-All three Mississippi teams are ranked (State at five and USM at 23). Being a USM fan too, I think that is pretty cool--aside from State.
-And on that note, State is like "LOL overranked." Their starting pitching is highly questionable and they return one starter that hit better than .275. I'm not saying they won't be good (or even very good), but with an unproven starting lineup and questions about the rotation, I don't understand a top-five ranking.
-Looking at the numbers in each team's report, the decrease in home runs in incredible. I've been wondering if the BBCOR bats went too far.
Going to be a really fun spring.