It wasn’t long ago that we were watching Sonny Gray and David Price pitching for our boys in black and gold. In the past, the Vanderbilt Commodores have been loaded with talent trickling into the professional level, particularly the major leagues. In recent years up through yesterday, we watched our former Commodores succeed at the highest level, and enjoyed every moment of it.
2 years and 19 miles separated them...education and a ball unified them...congrats you two. #midstatevanderbiltboysleavingtheirlegacy14/54=0— Tim Corbin (@TimCorbin) April 7, 2015
This year, we’re watching the future Sonny Gray and David Price. We’re watching home runs from Dansby and Rhett, Zander doubles and Reynolds wrap ups. This year, we’re watching our Dores in our favorite place, whereas next year and years to come, we’ll be watching them on a big league stage.
Vandy in the Majors
In 2014, 11 former Commodores reached the major leagues. That is an all-time high for Vanderbilt athletics. Among those are the following:
LHP David Price, Detroit Tigers
INF Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates
LHP Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
OF Mike Baxter*, Chicago Cubs
INF Ryan Flaherty, Baltimore Orioles
RHP Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
RHP Josh Zeid*, Detroit Tigers
RHP Nick Christiani, Cincinnati Reds
RHP Taylor Hill, Washington Nationals
C Curt Casali, Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Drew Verhagen*, Detroit Tigers
(* These players transferred to another school before getting drafted.)
David Shows His Price
David Price was the Detroit Tigers Opening Day starter and pitched what could have been the best pitching performance so far this season. Price pitched 8.2 innings allowing only five hits and striking out five as he came close to an Opening Day complete game shutout. The shutout remained in tact when reliever Joseph Nathan picked up his first save of the season with the final strikeout.
Sonny Gray wasn’t to be outdone, however. Gray pitched 8 innings, allowing only one hit. And that one hit? It wasn’t hit until the 8th inning.
That’s right. Our beloved Sonny Gray kept the Rangers no-hit through 7 innings before allowing their only hit of the ballgame. A hit which, of course, came after ESPN notified the entire baseball world that there’s a no-hitter going on.
The one-hit shutout was completed, however, when Evan Scribner came in to relieve Gray.
Flaherty’s Opening Day Hit
Ryan Flaherty came into Opening Day ready to get his first hit, and it was a doozy. The Orioles were already leading the Rays 5-2 going into the 9th, but Flaherty thought it would be nice for some Opening Day Fireworks.
He hit a solo home run with 0 on and 0 out to open the frame. Way to get that first hit off your chest, Ryan!
The Commodores are coming off a 2014 National Championship and working towards a repeat in 2015, seeing returning players like Dansby Swanson and Rhett Wiseman making waves and stealing bases.
If the former Commodores' are seeing so much success right now having never won a National Championship, what does that say about this current team and their individual futures?
Honestly, not much. There are plenty of Little League World Series Champions who never continue to play professional ball or even college ball. A lot of collegiate championship winners go on to become professionals in their field of study instead of baseball.
As a team, the 2014 (and 2015) Commodores are championship-caliber. Individually? Their draft stock depends on their performance game-by-game.
That being said, I expect the 2015 MLB Draft should see more Commodores than we're used to, and I fully expect that trend to continue in the coming years.