Mississippi State advanced to the College World Series for the second straight year. The Bulldogs have a chance to reach the hollowed ground of Omaha for the third straight season next year. Should Mississippi State earn a berth in the final eight it will be the first time in school history that the Diamond Dawgs reach the promised land of college baseball three straight seasons.
The Bulldogs should be back in the mix in the SEC West once again thanks in large part to the heart of the order returning to Dudy Noble Field. Tanner Allen, Justin Foscue, Josh Hatcher, Rowdey Jordan and Jordan Westburg are all expected to be key contributors in the Bulldog offense.
Mississippi State has Friday night figure out with JT Ginn returning for his sophomore year after an All-American campaign as a freshman. The Bulldogs have some young arms who are expected to take a step forward and help handled the weekend pitching duties.
Mississippi State will have to navigate through a difficult conference schedule against the SEC West. Arkansas and Auburn both reached Omaha this season and both should be in a position to contend for some big things in 2020.
The Razorbacks will have figure out the weekend pitching, but the Arkansas offense should be among the league's best. Coach Dave Van Horn's team will lose just three regular hitters from their 2019 lineup. If anything, Arkansas might have been ahead of schedule this year. The Razorbacks will certainly be a contender in 2020.
Auburn will return 7 of 8 everyday defenders with only Will Holland moving on to pro baseball. The Tigers will also see a weekend rotation featuring veterans Tanner Burns and Jack Owen. Auburn regular reliever Elliot Anderson will need to be replaced, but Butch Thompson's team has arms.
LSU will have several spots in the order to fill including both middle infield slots and a pair of outfield positions. Antoine Duplantis is gone as are reliable relievers Zach Hess and Todd Peterson. It will be a new look Tiger team, but Daniel Cabrera looks to be the centerpiece of the program.
Texas A&M was among the least threatening line-ups in the league and the Aggies' top player, Braden Shewmake is headed off to join the Atlanta Braves. Sophomore starter Asa Lacy will move to Friday night replacing John Doxakis giving the Aggies a bona fide major leaguer in the series opening game each and every week.
Ole Miss is also looking at a transition year with a completely retooled outfield, a new backstop and some musical chairs in the infield. The Rebels should have a couple of pieces of their weekend rotation settled, but have a lot of question marks heading into 2020.
Alabama finished last in the west in 2019 and 2020 does not look like a rebound season. The Crimson Tide will have to replace a pair of weekend starters and veteran hitters Joe Breaux and Keith Holcombe. Freshman Tyler Gentry led the team in hitting. Gentry and Drew Williamson are sound building blocks for the future.
On today's show, I break down who's coming back and who's moving on in the SEC's Western Division.