With only six teams remaining and three days left at the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament, scouts and fans from all walks of life will likely flock to Hoover, Alabama on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see the diamond talent on display.
Heck, when the weather is as beautiful as it was on Thursday according to ABC's James Spann, who wouldn't want to take a weekend trip to Alabama and catch some baseball?
James Spann @spann
SEC Baseball tournament here this weekend “@CraigMattoxSEC: The Hoover Met from the skies over Hoover, Alabama. http://t.co/0uPLb9wAiM”5/24/2013, 12:01:51 AM
Alabama and LSU will take each other on in the first of two games on Friday, while Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Vanderbilt are the other four teams remaining in action—all vying for the tournament championship on Sunday.
Team wins are what the tournament is all about, but to some fans, scouting talent that might make it to the next level is equally important.
If that's the case for you, here's a look at three players to watch over the final three days of action at the SEC tournament. You won't be disappointed and might even see these guys on national TV in the near future.
Vanderbilt CF Connor Harrell
Harrell has started over 220 games for the Commodores in his collegiate career, a remarkable number considering the amount of guys that move on to Major League Baseball before their eligibility is over.
Harrell is making full use of his eligibility, and Vandy is eternally grateful.
Despite the setback against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt is still in a good position. It's time to put on the winning mindset from here on out, but as Anchor of Gold's Christian D'Andrea posted on Twitter, Vandy's long-term World Series chances hinge on his ability to get hot:
Christian D'Andrea @TrainIsland
Best underlying theme of Vandy postseason: whether Connor Harrell can get hot. When he's on, few are more dangerous in the SEC at the plate.5/22/2013, 9:44:06 PM
Harrell has a career .289 batting average in college, and has upped that mark with a .319 campaign this season. He also has 11 home runs and 61 RBI, making opposing pitchers aware of when he's coming to the plate in run-scoring situations.
He also has zero errors over the past two seasons, proving his worth as a defensive outfielder, too.
He's been on base five times in the past two games, though the RBI chances have been limited because coaches are picking their spots to challenge him in the Vandy lineup. Hopefully he gets a pitch or two to hit in the next couple of games, because he's an intriguing talent to watch.
Arkansas CF Matt Vinson
Vinson made headlines last year for a home run-saving catch that made its way into all the major network highlight shows, but he's a capable hitter who's helping the Razorbacks make some noise this season.
With six hits through the first two games of play, Vinson is crushing opposing pitching from the No. 2 spot in the Arkansas order. He's increased his season batting average up to .310 in the process, and is a key player for the Razorbacks' heart of the order (3-4-5) in scoring situations.
As the Arkansas News' Robbie Neiswanger reported on Twitter, Vinson has been one of Arkansas' most reliable players this season:
Robbie Neiswanger @NWARobbie
OF Matt Vinson became lineup regular this time last year. He has been one of Arkansas' most reliable players since - http://t.co/41vV0jGZ0Z5/16/2013, 2:21:21 PM
Vinson also has 50 doubles this season for the Hogs, and can use his speed in spots where the team needs him to steal a base (7-of-8 this year) or lay down a bunt and beat out the throw to first (which he did in the tournament already).
Overall, Vinson keeps getting better. It will be interesting to see how he rises to the occasion the rest of the way.
Texas A&M 3B Hunter Melton
Melton only played in 26 games for the Aggies this season, but his .505 slugging percentage should tell you something about his worth to the team—the freshman has power and is ready to use it.
He belted a three-run homer as the Aggies took down Florida and added another solo shot as the Aggies beat Vanderbilt in the upset of the tournament so far.
Kendall Rogers @KendallRogersD1
And right on cue, Hunter Melton destroys a Kendall Graveman pitch to LF for an RBI single. That guy is simply unreal right now. 2-1 #Aggies.5/24/2013, 2:04:59 AM
Again, Melton is a freshman, seeing time in the tournament because his bat has been valuable to the Aggies so far in reaching new heights after an up-and-down regular season.
Melton also led Texas A&M in home runs despite playing roughly half of the games that the starters did during the regular season, meaning he's on pace to have a big sophomore year and certainly be a player to watch for the rest of his time in College Station.
There's players on every team to watch, but these three are getting fans out of their seats in Hoover. Gear up for an exciting finish to the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament.
Follow Ethan Grant on Twitter: Follow @DowntownEG
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