The SEC Baseball Tournament can sometimes be like the Wild West, as evidenced by top-seeded Florida dropping its opening-round match to LSU, which had fallen on hard times of late. It just showed that you have to take every opponent, especially when it is two-time defending conference tournament champion LSU, seriously.
All it takes it a hot arm or a few hot bats to take home the trophy at the end of the week. Luckily, for Florida and the other opening round losers, they have one more shot at bouncing back to take home the crown.
Each team has a key player or players that need to step up to take home the crown.
Anything can happen in this tournament, as evidenced by all four lower seeds winning their opening-round games for the second straight year.
Here is a list of the top-10 players in the SEC Baseball Tournament. All it takes it a hot week from one of these guys, and no one will be able to stop him from bringing his team glory.
The shortstop on your team is expected to make stops in the field, but you never expect him to be a huge threat from the plate.
But that is exactly what SEC First-Teamer Rutledge is.
He hit .356 with eight homers and 59 RBI for the Tide this season. He also nabbed 13 steals on the basepaths.
Similar to Rutledge, Gomez is expected to make the plays in the field for Vandy from the shortstop position, but he also comes equipped with a mean bat.
Gomez is the do-everything player for the Dores.
He bats .394, has hit a pair of homers and knocked in 28 RBI.
The SEC First-Team selection has kept Vandy at their usual position in contention for the league title.
The First-Team All-SEC selection is a big reason why the Gamecocks are so tough to beat this season.
Cooper himself has compiled a 10-1 record heading into the tournament.
His 3.08 ERA has been good enough to keep the Gamecocks in every game that he pitches.
He may not be the most overpowering pitcher that mows down batters, but he wins ballgames.
Tucker was an absolute monster in his freshman season, compiling some impressive numbers that made people wonder why he didn't just go straight to the pros out of high school.
But he is the epitome of what Florida is: young and extremely talented.
He didn't have as outstanding a season this year for Florida, but he didn't have to carry the team on his back, either.
He has hit .342, with nine homers and 40 RBI.
Any questions? Just look to his 11 RBI game against UCF with two grand slams and a three-run bomb.
Matt den Dekker does it all for the SEC's top-seeded Gators.
He is one of the few veteran leaders for the supremely talented and youthful Florida squad.
Along with his leadership skills, he leads the team in batting average at .342.
He can also knock it out of the park, as evidenced by his 12 home runs and 64 RBI.
Den Dekker also makes the highlight-reel play from the outfield when the Gators need it.
Basically, he does it all.
Gibbs has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season for the Tigers. But with their first-round win over Florida, they might be able to redeem their season.
This First-Team All-SEC selection is the biggest threat for the Tigers at the plate.
A tough out with his .408 batting average, he can also go deep (eight home runs) and bring home the goods with his 54 RBI.
He's a good catcher too, with a .984 fielding percentage to go along with gunning nine runners down.
Austin Maddox is to Florida this year what Tucker was last year. The only difference is that he has a lot more help than Tucker did last year.
The SEC Freshman of the Year is an absolute gem of a talent.
He hit .342, with 17 homers and 64 RBI to go along with a .644 slugging percentage.
Maddox is a very versatile player who was expected to play catcher coming to Florida but ended up playing third base instead. There really was no way he wasn't getting on the field this year.
Morris won the SEC Player of the Year, so you know that he will bring his best in this tournament.
He batted .392, with 20 home runs and 67 RBI, leading a very strong Auburn offense that averaged over nine runs a game.
He helped propel other First-Team All-SEC players Trent Mummey, Kevin Patterson, and Brian Fletcher.
With 17 doubles and five triples, Morris is a threat to beat you in any way from the plate.
Cox is the catalyst for a strong Razorback offense that has seven players with double-digit doubles and averages 7.5 runs per game.
Cox is batting .432 this season with eight homers and 47 RBI. Cox lives to play against conference opponents, as six of his home runs and 25 RBI came in conference. He also raised his already absurd batting average to .446 in SEC play.
When you bring out your best against the toughest competition, you know that he is the one to watch out for in the tournament.
As evidenced by this picture, it's not all about the bat with Cox, either.
The SEC Pitcher of the Year is the one guy in the SEC you don’t want to face if you’re an opposing batter. The 6-foot-5 lefty has recorded 134 strikeouts in 93.2 innings this season in helping Ole Miss stay competitive in the tough SEC.
Pomeranz moved to 8-2 on the year, going seven strong innings in Ole Miss’s 3-0 opening-round victory over South Carolina. It was the first time South Carolina was shut out in 154 games.
In the process, Pomeranz set the Ole Miss all-time strikeout record. He now has 339 for his career.
His 2.21 ERA is nothing to sneeze at either.
This guy is the real deal.