The NCAA baseball Super Regionals are now set. Vanderbilt will play Mississippi State this weekend, and we’ll find out today whether the Commodores will be hosting or traveling to Starkville. Mississippi State’s stadium currently undergoing renovations would seem to rule that out, but you never really know when the NCAA is involved...
If you want to know why Vanderbilt baseball could be particularly scary in 2019, consider this: for the first time since 2010, Vanderbilt did not have a single player drafted in the first two rounds of the MLB Draft. We’ll probably see a couple drafted today -- notably pitchers Patrick Raby and Reid Schaller, and probably shortstop Connor Kaiser -- but there’s surprisingly little talent leaving the program after 2018.
That said, Vanderbilt likely lost a few commits to the draft last night. LHP Ryan Weathers went 7th to the Padres, RHP Ethan Hankins went 35th to the Indians, SS Xavier Edwards went 38th to the Padres, and C Will Banfield went 69th to the Marlins. On the other hand, top recruit Kumar Rocker is still on the board. We’ll have to pay some attention today to see if anybody picks him, but Vanderbilt might be out of the woods unless someone can go significantly over slot from the third round on.
Recent Vanderbilt graduate Theo Humphrey qualified for the U.S. Open yesterday. The Open will be held from June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York.
And, we’re now 88 days away from the season opener against Middle Tennessee State. #88 on the roster is redshirt freshman LB Michael Owusu. Owusu is listed at 6’5” and 228 pounds, and he’s got the kind of length that Derek Mason likes... but let’s hope he’s bulked up a bit since last year.
Tweet of the Day
I've had a hunch about Kumar Rocker getting to Vandy since about November. Not out of the woods yet, but it's going to be tough for anyone to sign him at this point, I would think— Teddy Cahill (@tedcahill) June 5, 2018
Off the West End
Actually, it’s sort of great that a college baseball team from Tennessee that is not the University of Tennessee is playing in the super regionals. It also sets up the Brown brothers matchup in the supers: Watson Brown spent the last few years of his coaching career at Tennessee Tech, while Mack Brown was, of course, Texas’s coach. And both were in the offensive backfield for the 1970 Vanderbilt football team.
Auburn signed Bruce Pearl to a five-year contract extension, which should tell you about how much fallout there was from that FBI investigation.
Raphielle Johnson at NBC Sports has an SEC conference reset post-NBA Draft withdrawal deadline. He picks Vanderbilt to finish 9th -- which, if we’re being honest, sounds about right (but 9th in the SEC next year might actually be good enough for a NCAA Tournament bid.) Oddly, though, Simi Shittu barely gets a mention due to his ACL.