Where Tennessee Ranks In Baseball America’s ‘Never Too Early’ Rankings

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The deadline for MLB Draft picks to sign with professional teams has passed and while the transfer portal isn’t closed most of the offseason roster movement is over.

With students returning to campus in the coming weeks, Baseball America released its “Never Too Early 2023 Top 25” rankings.

After spending the majority of the 2022 seasons ranked first nationally, Tennessee fell to Notre Dame in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Baseball America expects big things out of the Vols again in 2023, ranking them No. 2 nationally behind only LSU.

Nine Southeastern Conference teams inhabit the top 25 including No. 4 Florida, No. 7 Arkansas, No. 8 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Ole Miss, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 17 Auburn and No. 25 Mississippi State.

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The SEC is the nation’s top baseball conference with four teams making the College World Series a season ago. All four of those teams landed in Baseball America’s top 25 but not at either of the top two spots.

LSU went 17-13 in SEC play in Jay Johnson’s first season as head before falling to Southern Miss in the Hattiesburg Region Final.

The Tigers return an abundance of talent from last season’s team and added an abundance of talent through the transfer portal including Christian Little (Vanderbilt), Paul Skenes (Air Force) and Tommy White (North Carolina State). The last two were Tennessee targets and two of the top players in the transfer portal.

Tony Vitello and his staff added a number of top targets in the transfer portal including First Team All-Big 12 shortstop Maui Ahuna (Kansas). Tennessee also added third baseman Zane Denton (Alabama), outfielder Griffin Merritt (Cincinnati) and pitcher Andrew Lindsey (Charlotte).

Tennessee combines its transfer portal success with an abundance of returning talent including top pitchers Chase Dollander, Chase Burns, Drew Beam and Camden Sewell.

Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.