If you're looking for the top major league prospects in the college baseball regionals, you could focus your attention on two SEC teams. According to MLB.com, three of the top four draft-eligible prospects for next week's Major League Baseball first-year draft hail from defending College World Series champion Vanderbilt University and Louisiana State University.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt
Listed as the No. 2 overall draft-eligible prospect, Dansby Swanson stands 6'0" and weighs 190 pounds. While he could fill out as he gets older, the 21-year-old is believed to have the quickness and arm strength to remain a shortstop most of his career.
Even if he is one day moved to third base, his bat, glove and arm seem to be good enough that a team wouldn't have an issue playing him there long term.
The Colorado Rockies originally drafted him in the 38th round of the 2012 draft, but he elected to attend college instead. He's developed into a force at the plate, and his leadership qualities are lauded.
Swanson's batting average has improved every year with the Vanderbilt Commodores and topped out at .350 this past season. In a recent mock draft, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com tabbed Swanson as the top pick to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The buzz surrounding Swanson in this top spot does have some legs, and it would be foolish to dismiss it. It would also be wrong to consider it a slam dunk at this point, with the Arizona Diamondbacks still exploring several options, including bringing Georgia high school catcher Tyler Stephenson in for a workout.
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
Swanson's teammate is hard-throwing right-hander Carson Fulmer. Though he stands only 5'11", Fulmer can run his fastball up to the plate in the 93-97 mph range. His pitching arsenal also features dynamic breaking balls and a solid changeup.
He may ultimately be turned into a closer because of his size and the effort he expends in his delivery, but for now, he's a dominant starter who was 11-2 with an ERA of 1.97 with 136 strikeouts in just 100.2 innings pitched for the Commodores this season.
If Fulmer is converted into a closer, he could draw some opposite-arm comparisons to former Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and New York Mets great Billy Wagner.
In Mayo's mock, he has Fulmer landing with the Chicago Cubs at No. 9. Fulmer, Swanson and the Commodores dominated Lipscomb 9-1 in the opening game of the regionals. Here's a look at Fulmer throwing flames, per Vanderbilt Baseball on Twitter:
Vandy will play the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday night.
Alex Bregman, SS, LSU
Originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round back in 2012, Alex Bregman has seen his stock climb considerably over the last three years.
It's ironic or typical that the Red Sox would be interested in Bregman considering he has drawn comparisons to Boston's star second baseman Dustin Pedroia. At 6'0", 190 pounds, Bregman has good size and is aggressive at the plate.
He may have more top-end power potential than Pedroia if he continues to fill out and develop.
Like Swanson, Bregman exudes attractive leadership qualities that will undoubtedly endear him to major league front-office personnel and scouts. Just before the start of the regionals, Bregman tweeted this message to fans as his LSU Tigers prepare for a run that he hopes will land the team in the College World Series:
Like other hot prospects playing what could be their final collegiate games, Bregman will do his best to go out a winner. Bregman and the Tigers blew out Lehigh 10-3 in the opener. The Tigers will face the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks on Saturday night.