The Auburn Tigers are coming off of their best baseball season in over two decades and regardless of the fact that they're losing around eight key players, including the MLB's number one overall selection, Casey Mize, there's still plenty of optimism on the Plains because the Tigers return a ton of young talent.
Included in that group are a pair of North Alabama natives in right handed pitchers Tanner Burns, of Decatur High School, and Cody Greenhill, out of Russellville High School. The two slingers picked up Freshman All-American honors from Perfect Game/Rawlings on Friday.
Following a 7-4 season as a starter, with a team-best 3.01 ERA, good for sixth in the South Eastern Conference, Burns landed on the first-team.
Even though he missed nearly four weeks at the beginning of conference play with an illness, Greenhill led the team in earned run average during SEC play, posting a 2.42 ERA with a 6-3 record, five saves and 55 strikeouts.
Fellow freshman Edouard Julien and Seteven Williams also earned Freshman All-American honors.
Julien turned in one of the best freshman seasons from the plate in program history, crushing a team leading 17 home runs and 69 RBI, which broke former Auburn great and National Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas' freshman program record for RBI. Those 69 RBI were also good for the league lead and most among any other freshman in the countrry. Furthermore, his 17 homers were tied for the second most among freshman nationally, and the third most ever hit by an Auburn freshman.
Williams posted 12 home runs and 51 RBI in his debut season, marks tied for second and third best on the team. His 12 homers are the fourth most by an Auburn freshman in program history.
So there's no denying their future is bright at Auburn but they aren't the only young guys looking to make some noise next season.
Fellow Russellville grad Judd Ward also had a solid freshman year, playing in 37 games with a 2.50 batting average and 8 RBI.
Ford Luttrell, a Bob Jones High School grad, didn't play in 2018 but the freshman right handed pitcher struck out 90 batters in 52 innings as a senior in high school and is a name to watch out for next season.
The local flavor doesn't stop there. Joining the arsenal this coming season is Hartselle lefty Garrett Wade, who was named the 2018 Gatorade Alabama Baseball Player of the year after going 7-2 with a 1.03 ERA, and posting 109 strikeouts as a senior. He's one of the many big names heading to Auburn in the 2019 recrtuiting class, which Baseball America ranks the sixth best in the nation.