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SEC Baseball Team Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

SEC Baseball Team Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide are entering the 2020 season hoping to build upon their improvements from 2019. The Tide are predicted to finish seventh in a powerful SEC West. Third year coach Brad Bohannon has put together the pieces to potentially make a push to contend in the nation’s toughest division.

2019 Record: 30-26 (7-23)

2019 Postseason: None

Perfect Game Recruiting Class: 18th

2020 Prediction: 7th in the West

2019 Season

Bohannon made progress in his second season at Alabama. He improved the win total by three from the 2018 27-29 record and is looking to continue that trend in 2020. 2019 was marked by dominant out of conference performances.

Alabama absolutely won the games they should in the non conference. They entered SEC play at 16-2 and riding a 12 game winning streak. They were 23-3 overall in the non conference including a big midweek win in a non SEC matchup against then No.12 Auburn. They lost one midweek all year.

SEC play was an entirely different story. Alabama failed to win a series against SEC West opponents and suffered four different sweeps. Their lone conference series win came against a bad South Carolina team at home.

2020 Schedule

SEC Baseball Team Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama outscored Samford 25-4 in two games last season. (Photo by rolltide.com).
Notable Non Conference Games

March 3, April 21: Samford 41-19, 72 RPI

March 24: Southern Mississippi 40-21, 45 RPI

April 7, May 5: Jacksonville State 39-23, 89 RPI

There’s not a lot of excitement in the non conference for Alabama in 2020. They played Samford in two  midweek games a season ago and won. The Bulldogs dominated their conference last year but came up short of the NCAA Tournament after not winning their conference tournament.

Southern Miss is always a difficult matchup. Year in and year out the Golden Eagles are atop of their conference and consistently make the playoffs. They won the C-USA baseball tournament and went 2-2 in the Baton Rouge Regional. They fell in the elimination game to LSU.

Jacksonville State is another team not to be overlooked. They made quite the run to close out 2019 winning their final 12 games to make the NCAA Tournament. They also went 2-2 in the Oxford regional and lost their elimination game to Ole Miss.

SEC East Opponents

March 13-15: Missouri

April 3-5: @ Kentucky

April 10-12: Tennessee

April 24-26: @ No.2 Vanderbilt

Not Playing: No.4 Florida, No.5 Georgia, South Carolina

Alabama got an excellent draw for their East opponents this season. They were bound to get one of the top 5 teams and landed with a very tough No.2 Vanderbilt series on the road. But the rest of the schedule sets up for the Crimson Tide to really do some damage with their conference record.

Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee are all expected to be in the bottom of the SEC East this season. Not only that, they get two of those series at home. If the Tide can win two of those three series they’ll set themselves up to potentially get out of the cellar in the West. They need to take advantage of missing on Florida and Georgia.

2020 Roster

Potential Starters

LHP Connor PrielippFreshman

LHP Antoine Jean: Freshman

RHP Connor Shamblin: 2-1, 6.26 ERA

RHP Tyler Ras: 1-3, 4.14 ERA

SEC Baseball Team Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide
Connor Prielipp was the highest ranked recruit in the Alabama recruiting class. (Photo by lacrossetribune.com).

Connor Prielipp is the blue chip prospect of the 2019 draft class. The Wisconsin native is highly regarded and the 83rd ranked recruit. He was drafted in the 38th round by the Boston Red Sox but ultimately chose to go the college route.

His biggest pitch is his fastball which has the ability to hit 93-95 mph. The coaching staff expects him to step right into the Friday night ace roll in the rotation. Jean has the ability to be right behind him. His fastball doesn’t touch quite the velocity of Prielipp but he brings a very good changeup.

The returning contestants are Shamblin and Ras. Ras showed sparks of his ability last year and will need to make a big step for the Tide in 2020. Shamblin is in the same boat but has reportedly shown a lot of improvement in Fall practice at controlling his command.

Offensive Weapons

Outfielder Tyler Gentry is far and away the most potent offensive weapon returning for the Crimson Tide. The junior leads in nearly every category for returning players from 2019. He slashed .310/.378/.552 with 13 long balls and 42 RBIs.

He is joined in the outfield by TJ Reeves who is expected to build upon an average 2019 season. He had an impressive summer and has continued that success in the fall. He’s improved his patience at the plate which should really help his production.

Catcher Sam Praytor will be back in the lineup after missing the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery. The coaching staff is expecting him to be one of the better catchers in the SEC after an excellent offseason.

Outlook

Alabama is in a good spot to make some progress this season. Bohannon has assembled a roster that is ready to compete in the SEC. They have a soft out of conference schedule and need to take advantage and win those games.

The East slate is very favorable for a team trying to climb their way up the SEC ladder. Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee are winnable series. After winning just one series a year ago, the opportunities are there for Alabama to put together a solid 2020 season.

 

 

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