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Vanderbilt Baseball 2013: Preview Part 4

February 15th, 2013 Comments off

LOGOAfter previewing the position players and setting forth a projected opening day lineup, it’s time to step up on the mound and take a look at the 17 young men who make up the inaugural Scott Brown pitching staff at Vanderbilt.

This Part 4 will briefly set forth the role expected for each young man, as well as scouting his arsenal of pitches.

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Vanderbilt Baseball 2013: Preview Part 3

February 13th, 2013 Comments off

LOGOThe first two parts of the Season Preview are in, looking at the transition to the 2013 season and the new recruits, which leads us to an examination of the product Commodore fans can expect to see on the field this Spring. I was unfortunately not able to make it down for the Black and Gold series in the Fall, so my preview is largely based on performances last year and reports on player development.

This Part 3 of my annual baseball prospectus will go through the Vanderbilt roster with a look at each of the positions around the diamond.

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Vanderbilt Baseball 2013: Preview Part 2

February 12th, 2013 3 comments

LOGOWith Part 1 of the preview in the books, looking at the annual attrition, discussing what makes Vanderbilt a recruiting power and introducing the new coaches, it’s time to go through the group of young men that comprise Vanderbilt’s second consecutive #1 recruiting class. One year after the current Sophomore class was ranked first by Baseball America and second by Collegiate Baseball, the incoming Freshmen earned top honors from both publications.

This Part 2 of my annual baseball preview will introduce each of the new Commodores. Parts 3 and 4 will try to set forth how each of the players fit into the 2013 plan.

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Vanderbilt Baseball 2013: Preview Part 1

February 10th, 2013 Comments off

LOGOIt’s that time of year again. Tim Corbin has closed out another masterful performance at the annual baseball banquet, showing an incredible knowledge of his players that is part savant and part parent. Through his words, we learned a little bit more about what makes each of the spectacular young men who comprise the 2012/13 Vanderbilt baseball family. Also introduced were a pair of new coaches to join Coach Corbin and Volunteer Assistant Larry Day. Replacing new Oklahoma State Coach Josh Holliday and new Cubs Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson are Recruiting Coordinator Travis Jewett and Pitching Coach Scott Brown, formerly of Arizona State and St. Johns respectively.

This Part 1 of my annual baseball prospectus will take a look at draft and graduation attrition and introduce the new members of the coaching staff. It will also consider the factors that make Vanderbilt a recruiting power.

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Vandy Baseball Season Prospectus: Trust The Sweat

September 28th, 2012 2 comments

It’s that fantastic time of year again when the Fall ball thwack of the BBCOR bat can be heard over at Hawkins Field and you can walk down and smell the fresh cut grass… wait… belay that last part. In an summer that saw some outstanding performances, a high level recruiting class and a new recruiting coordinator, the biggest change on West End is the installation of artificial turf in both Dudley Field and the Hawk. Coach Tim Corbin took some time to meet with the press today and discussed a variety of topics including the new field.

Click through to watch the video and for some preliminary thoughts, including the announcement that Collegiate Baseball magazine named the incoming VandyBoys the top recruiting class nationally. I’ll also set forth what I hope the schedule will be for my annual preview of the Commodores Baseball squad. Read more…

Coach Hand is unashamed to do the worm

August 8th, 2012 Comments off

More importantly, though, is that he is our dancing fool. #AnchorDown

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Vandy Baseball: The Road to Omaha

June 1st, 2012 Comments off

Accompanying the VandyBoys strong finish were multiple appearances from Brian Miller’s rescue beaver, Chance. Photo courtesy of Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

So, I’m just a bad VandyBoys blogger. During the month-plus since my last post, the Vanderbilt baseball team has undergone a transformation in which a pitching staff matured and leaders emerged. Gone were the 1-7 and 7-15 starts and the Commodores finished with a flurry, including a 16-4 run down the stretch of the season.

All told, the Dores came up huge winning their last five games (two at LSU and a home sweep of the Rebel Black Bears) to ensure a record over .500 entering the SEC tournament at Hoover. They topped that off by getting to the tournament final undefeated, before being shut out by Mississippi State’s ridiculous pitching staff. It was a stellar run that included two victories over nemesis Florida, who had entered Hoover with a seven game winning streak over Coach Corbin’s boys. So what did we learn and see from this squad?

We saw TJ Pecoraro return early from Tommy John surgery and throw back to back complete games in the last two weekends of the season. We saw Connor Harrell emerge from a slump and start mashing the ball all over the park. We saw Tony Kemp run rampant on the basepaths and single-handedly cause a couple Ole Miss pitchers ulcers. We saw Sam Selman emerge into a legitimate lefty ace. We saw a stuffed animal (oops, sorry, a totally real Canadian beaver that Brian Miller found on the side of the road… completely not a gift from his mom) help inspire fear in the eyes of the Crimson Tide Rally Penguin and Florida’s silly pet goldfish. [You can follow Chance at @VU_RallyBeaver and Alabama’s mascot at @BamaRllyPenguin]

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The Rise of the Commodore

May 10th, 2012 Comments off

Not a whole lot of description needed as this Video tells the tale itself. Welcome to James Franklin’s Vanderbilt:

Vandy Baseball: Sixth Week Behind, Week Ahead

March 30th, 2012 Comments off

The Commodores finally got of the schnide on Saturday with their first SEC win on a walk off single by Conrad Gregor. Photo credit: Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

From the darkest of moments, the Vanderbilt season has seemingly turned a corner. Although it would be hard to imagine another Omaha run and the NCAA playoffs still seem like a long shot, the VandyBoys do appear to be having fun out there. After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Georgia on Friday, the Commodores erupted upon Conrad Gregor’s game winning single on Saturday night. Visiting Bulldog fans might have wondered what could have caused a near dog pile type celebration, but after seeing the frustration of a 7-15 record at the time and a season with so much promise in which so many things have gone wrong, the raucous victory lap was long overdue.

The Dores have a long way to go to get truly right, but it was a great first step and a pair of nail-biter victories over the Bulldogs were complimented by an easy midweek win over Tennessee Tech. More importantly, for the first time this season, Vanderbilt appears to be really having fun out there and is playing a more fundamentally sound version of baseball.

The Immediate Progression – Getting to .501

Eligibility for the SEC playoffs has been expanded to ten teams in 2012. Currently, only one team seems certain to be excluded. The Alabama Crimson Tide are 9-16 and just 1-5 in SEC play with an RPI of 135. While Vanderbilt is just a game better on the season (and, more troubling, has yet to win any of their seven road games – though six have been against NCAA’s elite Florida and Stanford squads), the Commodores schedule appears softer than the Tide from hereon out. So it seems that Vanderbilt will likely compete with Tennessee (15-10, 2-4) and an injury-plagued Mississippi State (17-9, 2-4) squad for the lower end of Hoover eligibility this year.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the VandyBoys could either click on full in SEC play – after all, the talent is there – or completely fall apart. My guess is that we end up somewhere in the middle of that road. The starting pitching has certainly come around, and if TJ Pecoraro can regain his feel for pitching and have enough endurance to start, Vanderbilt should feel confident in a Sunday win each week (especially with Drew VerHagen and Will Clinard sharing closing duties).

So what would Vanderbilt need to do to be eligible for post-season play?

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Vandy Baseball: Fourth and Fifth Week Behind, Week Ahead

March 23rd, 2012 Comments off

I’m getting quite behind in the columns due to just not having quite enough time to keep this up to date.  I’d be lying if the 7-14 start to the season didn’t have something to do with that.

Since I last posted, the VandyBoys had a rough go of it in Florida (as expected) and lost a heart breaker to Evansville on Tuesday.  With 33 games left on the regular season schedule, qualifying for NCAA post-season play is now looking more and more unlikely.

The Immediate Progression — Where the Season Goes From Here

To be eligible for a Regional, a team must be at least one game over .500 after the conference tournament in Hoover.  Sitting at seven games under, Vandy can’t feel comfortable entering Hoover unless they’re already at that point, necessitating something along the lines of a 21-12 finish to the regular season (permitting a 1-2 record at Hoover).

Ty Beede will be back in the Saturday starter role this weekend against Georgia. Vanderbilt needs him to come up big against All-SEC righty Michael Pallazone of the Bulldogs. Photo Credit: Mike Rapp, VandySports.com.

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