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Arkansas centerfielder Dominic Fletcher (24), center, celebrates his two run home run with Arkansas second baseman Casey Martin (15) and Arkansas right fielder Eric Cole (8), Saturday, May 5, 2018, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. Cole also scored on the play.

The Southeastern Conference begins its league schedule on Friday night. Here are three observations on the conference in 2019:

No deeper league

Once again, the handful of top 25 rankings show the Southeastern Conference is the deepest league in the country. Eleven of the league’s 14 teams are ranked in at least one poll, and 16-2 Alabama sits on the cusp. The league with the second-most ranked teams, the ACC, has five. The SEC put 10 teams in the NCAA tournament last year, a number it could match.

Young talent

There are a lot of talented upperclassmen in the SEC, but some young players have stood out so far this season. Many of the conference’s best teams are relying on freshmen or sophomores: JT Ginn at Mississippi State, Kendrick Calilao and Jud Fabian at Florida, Cole Henry and Landon Marceaux at LSU, Emerson Hancock at Georgia and Austin Martin at Vanderbilt, just to name a few. These players will influence the outcome of the conference later this year.

Power surge

Compared to the same time last year, the conference’s collective batting average is down a few ticks, but the power numbers have remained high. SEC teams entered league play last year hitting 1.09 home runs per game, and this season they are hitting 1.04 per game. South Carolina leads the conference and is second in the country with 32 homers. Eleven teams have hit at least 15 home runs.


Follow Wilson Alexander on Twitter, @whalexander_.