Good news everybody! Baseball season is less than a month away - and when it arrives, folks in Nashville will have the chance to watch the top-ranked team in the nation on February 13th.
D1Baseball.com - the new home of knowledge-dropping pundits Kendall Rogers and Aaron Fitt - has pegged the Commodores as the top-ranked team in the country for 2015. They'll have plenty of competition on their side of the conference alone. SEC East rival Florida is one spot behind the 'Dores at #2 and South Carolina is slotted at #5. In all, eight Southeastern Conference teams made the publication's preseason top 25.
Rogers has especially high hopes for Vandy's starting rotation this season, and for good reason. The Commodores will have a pair of All-Americans eating up innings and chewing up batters in 2015. Here's what he had to say about the trio of Carson Fulmer, Walker Buehler, and Tyler Ferguson:
Starting Pitching: 75. There’s good, and there’s great. Vanderbilt’s starting rotation will be excellent, with the only thing keeping them from a perfect 80 score being Ferguson’s ability to be more consistent with his control in that No. 3 role. Ferguson has a sturdy frame and big-time stuff, sitting 93-95 mph with his fastball along with a power curveball. However, he has command issues at times. On the flip side, RHPs Fulmer and Buehler are as good as it gets and very likely first-rounders. Fulmer has an aggressive, unorthodox approach with his delivery, and sits anywhere from the mid-to-upper 90s with his fastball. Fulmer also possesses an above-average slider, and his changeup continues to develop. Buehler has the most potential of the three. With a long, lean, frame, Buehler sits 92-95 mph with his fastball, has a plus curveball and the changeup is an above-average pitch.
The 'Dores won't be as talented on the other side of the ball after losing players like Vince Conde, John Norwood, and the suspended Xavier Turner in 2014. However, veterans Dansby Swanson, Zander Wiel, Bryan Reynolds, and Rhett Wiseman will team up with a talented cache of underclassmen to put runs on the board this spring. They'll give Tim Corbin plenty of options (and approximately 200 sacrifice bunts) this spring.
Vanderbilt's season starts February 13th with a three-game homestand against Santa Clara. The Broncos went 26-30 last season.