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Home > Baseball, Sport, Vanderbilt > Thoughts from Beyond the Bleachers – 4/4/13

Thoughts from Beyond the Bleachers – 4/4/13

April 4th, 2013


Not looking to do a full post today, but did want to note that, as the half-way mark of the season has passed, we’re starting to get more reliable projections of the NCAA brackets emerging. In this blog, I take a gander at those predictions revealed by Baseball America, SEBaseball and CBDaily.

I’ve also got a few quick thoughts about MTSU, a couple of records that could fall and a poll on which former Commodore will be next in the bigs. Click on through to read.

Major Site Predictions

While it’s always a little unclear to differentiate a mid-season prediction from an assessment based on a team’s first half curriculum vitae alone, the three major site predictions are on some scale of predicting to assessing. Baseball America seems most content to factor in how they think things will finish, while CBDaily seems strict in its reliance on current RPI numbers. SEBaseball appears to be somewhere in between.

All three websites ended up with nine SEC teams in. Let’s see how each pegged Vandy and some basic thoughts throughout. RPI is provided for each team in parens. Vanderbilt’s RPI is second as of April 4th.

Baseball America



VU National Seed




Nashville 2 Seed

Arizona State (15)

Austin Peay St (17)

Austin Peay St (17)

Nashville 3 Seed

Austin Peay St (17)

Ohio State (57)

Connecticut (56)

Nashville 4 Seed

Maine (190)

Bryant (109)

Tenn.Tech (203)

Paired Regional


1. Indiana (8)

2. Notre Dame (10)

3. Texas A&M (24)

4. Wisc-Milw (117)


1. Virginia Tech (7)

2. William&Mary (25)

3. Kentucky (31)

4. Pittsburgh (82)


1. Virginia (9)

2. Rutgers (26)

3. Alabama (33)

4. Maine (190)

Baseball America

Aaron Fitt and crew awarded Coach Corbin’s Dores with the number two national seed and would open with Maine, before getting the winner/loser of ASU and APSU.


  • Baseball America is rather confident, at this point, that Vanderbilt and Louisiana State are locks to earn regional hosts out of the SEC. All told, the SEC earned nine NCAA bids in the projection.
  • Vanderbilt’s schedule features four regional hosts (Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and South Carolina). Of those, Oregon was awarded the number seven national seed, making Vanderbilt’s series win in Eugene all the more important for the NCAA committee.
  • Vanderbilt’s schedule features eight NCAA teams (adding Central Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi State and Ole Miss to the four hosts). I thought Arkansas State looked like a tourney team when they visited, but they’ll need an auto-bid they are not in line for currently. Baseball America did suggest that Central Arkansas likely will not need an auto-bid if they finish strong, though their RPI of 40 will likely go down due to a drop in strength of schedule over the last six weeks of the year.
  • Despite a terrible RPI of 63, Baseball America is confident the Razorbacks will have their metrics pick up before the end of the year and granted the consensus top 15 team a regional host.

SouthEastern Baseball

Mark Etheridge has to be one of the most respected non-national baseball writers and he’s been doing projections for what seems like eons. He drops Vanderbilt to the number four national seed and would have them open with Bryant, before getting the winner/loser of APSU and Ohio State.


  • Austin Peay still gives me 2007 regional nightmares, so I wasn’t pleased to see both BA and SEBaseball pop them in the Nashville regional. Of course, APSU is not a number four seed this year and they do not have a Shawn Kelley to drag out and play spoiler with. They’re going to be a two or a three wherever they go and will be there on more than one golden right arm.
  • Vanderbilt’s schedule features three regional hosts (Ole Miss, Oregon and South Carolina). Of those, Oregon was awarded the number seven national seed.
  • Vanderbilt’s schedule features ten NCAA teams (adding Alabama, Belmont, Central Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State and Presbyterian to the three hosts). Notably, SEBaseball disagrees with Baseball America on Alabama (who BA expects to fade) and Florida (with the notation that, with a losing record, Florida would not be eligible for the bracket as of April 2nd).
  • Ohio State, the predicted third seed in the Nashville regional, was the fourth-to-last team in on SEBaseball’s S-curve.

College Baseball Daily

CBDaily’s bracket appears to be one that really relies on the metrics (evidenced by their leaving Arkansas out of the field due to their RPI and in spite of their lofty poll rankings). As a result, Vanderbilt’s ranking second in the RPI per Boydsworld and WarrenNolan, helps Tim Corbin draw the number two national seed and a first game against Tennessee Tech, before facing the winner/loser of APSU and UConn.


  • Austin Peay ends up with the trifecta, appearing in all three Nashville Regionals. This is in part due to the two local teams not having played during the regular season for the past couple of years, which makes it easier for the NCAA to pair the teams in a regional. APSU could also be shipped to Louisville for a regional, though they are more likely to stay in Nashville.
  • Vanderbilt’s schedule features three regional hosts (Mississippi State, Oregon and Ole Miss). Of those, none received a national seed, and MSU is most notable in that they’ve lost four consecutive weekend series, despite the lofty RPI.
  • Vanderbilt’s schedule features eleven NCAA teams (adding Alabama, Central Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State, Presbyterian and Tennessee Tech to the three hosts).
  • The strangest decision to include a team in the field is for Florida, which has a good RPI (22), but a current losing record (14-16), making them ineligible for the tournament if it started today. The decision seems particularly strange in that Arkansas is held out of the field based on an RPI that is certain to rise due to increased strength of schedule during SEC play, even if the Hawgs don’t continue their stout current winning percentage.
Before the Tuesday game against MTSU, Sunday starter Philip Pfeifer posted with Bat Boy Gabe Light. Both sported their trademark spectacles. Photo: Mitch Light.

Before the Tuesday game against MTSU, Sunday starter Philip Pfeifer posed with Bat Boy Gabe Light. Both sported their trademark spectacles. Photo: Mitch Light.

Vengeance Served Cold

Another 2013 home game meant another example of strange Nashville weather. This time it hailed just a few hours before game time. While Nashville springs have always featured some weather variance and a good bit of scattered rain, I’m not sure I can recall a spring with weather this crummy. That cold weather did not, however, stop the Dores from putting the heat on MTSU pitchers in a 12-3 drubbing.

Vanderbilt tallied 12 hits, 8 walks and 3 hit batsman in 8 innings of slugfest ball. Xavier Turner was the offensive star of the game, going 2-3 with 4 runs, 2 RBI, 2 BB and 2 SB. The big blow was provided by Vicente Conde though, via a long grand slam to left center in the third inning.

Record Watch

Conde’s grand slam followed Kyle Smith’s majestic blast on Sunday, and gave the Dores three grannies on the year (with Connor Harrell having hit one earlier in the season). Harrell (1-4, R, 3 RBI, HBP) contributed three more RBI, raising his season total to 37, or halfway to Warner Jones’ Commodores record of 74 RBI set in 2004 (h/t @JSAF17 for the statistic). While the Commodores have played 30 of 56 scheduled regular season games, Vanderbilt likely has no fewer than five and as many as 19 or 20 postseason games ahead of it, during which Harrell can make a run at the champ.

Also facing a threat is Brian Harris’ NCAA HBP record. After an early season run by Spencer Navin and other players around the country, it looks like NC Central infielder Troy Marrow is the only remaining contender. He’s been hit 20 times in 28 games. NC Central is not an auto bid team, so unless they win the MEAC tourney, they likely are about halfway through their season. Harris should be safe, but we’ll see.

Must Reads and Poll of the Week

Couple of bookmarks to add to your web browsers.  The first is a piece from the mother ship ( on Tim Corbin’s leadership. Bill Traughber did a great job with this, so give it a read: Corbin Makes Vandy a National Power.

Next, Chris Lee over at has been doing weekly Sabermetrics articles on the hitters and pitchers in the Commodore lineup. They provide some great statistical insight and can be viewed weekly at the Baseball Front Page. They are premium articles requiring a subscription (which subscription is well worth it in this author’s opinion).

Finally, the mother ship posted a listing of where the 29 former Commodores currently in the pro ranks are starting their respective seasons. In addition to the Rays’ David Price, Bucs’ Pedro Alvarez, Mets’ Mike Baxter, Os’ Ryan Flaherty and Braves’ Mike Minor, it will be interesting to see which of the next rung of Commodore greats will make their MLB debut in 2013.

While Jensen Lewis could be in line for a return to the bigs, his Iowa Cubs AAA teammate Casey Weathers could be the next Commodore to get an MLB jersey in the Hawk’s Hall of Fame. Similarly, Reds farmhands Nick Christiani (AAA) and Drew Hayes (AA) are potential big leaguers this year, while Mark Lamm (Braves AA) probably is another year or two away. But the best bet to see in the bigs this summer or fall is Sonny Gray, who will start his second full year with Oakland in AAA ball.

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