Vanderbilt has been picked to finish fourth in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference, according to the league’s 12 coaches.
The Commodores shared the 2011 regular-season championship with South Carolina and Florida. All three teams advanced to the College World Series in June, but Vanderbilt lost 11 players to the MLB Draft and must rebuild its starting rotation as well as much of its bullpen.
The Commodores received 40 points in the balloting, finished ahead of Kentucky and Tennessee, but behind third-place Georgia, defending two-time national champ South Carolina and Florida, which was picked to win its third straight SEC title. The Gators, national champion runner-ups last year, are ranked No. 1 in all four of the national preseason polls.
Arkansas was projected to win the SEC West title.
Vanderbilt, ranked as high as 10th in preseason polls, opens its season with a three-game series at Stanford starting Friday. The Cardinal are ranked No. 2 in the country by Baseball America and fourth by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.