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Perfect Game Names Vanderbilt Baseball #1 Recruiting Class

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...for the eleventy billionth time.

NATD Awards At The Hermitage Hotel
I typed “Tim Corbin” into a Getty search and got this. I regret nothing.
Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for NATD Awards

As outside is currently liquid magma, why not stop by Anchor of Gold for a few updates on the Diamond Dores?

First, with the deadline for drafted players to sign MLB deals passing earlier this week, you can actually pay attention to recruiting class rankings now! The 2018 incoming freshman class has been rated #1 in the nation by Perfect Game, with 17 commits headed to the Hawk, including 5 in the top 100. (Click here to see the whole class, including the ones who got away, and where they signed.)

Headlining the incoming class is perhaps the best pitching prospect ever to sign with the Dores (based on scouting rankings, at least)—RHP Kumar Rocker (no relation to John). Rocker is a flame-throwing death-destroyer who eats souls for breakfast, along with whole grain toast and fresh fruit. While he was drafted by the Rockies, he burned his draft card in protest, Muhammad Ali style (citation needed), and will have a good shot of cracking the weekend rotation this spring. Most scouts have him as the top or 2nd best pitching prospect (Mississippi State RHP Carter Stewart is often ranked #1) making it to the college ranks. Joining Rocker on the mound are fellow RHPs and top 100 recruits Austin Becker of Big Walnut High School in Sunbury, Ohio, and Ethan Smith of Mt. Juliet, TN. We are heretofore only referring to Becker as “Big Walnut,” and I will hear no opposing views on this one. *The only name-based pun conceivable was “Texas Ted Danson,” and while that is undeniably delightful, it’s no “Big Walnut.”

On the offensive side, man mountain John Malcom should push Chinfante for playing time at 1st, and Justyn-Henry Malloy, who is currently on a heater in summer league play (and is my pick to be the Austin Martin of this class, as he just has that it factor), should be in the mix at third base.

The SEC is well-represented, as usual, with 11 schools ranked in the top 25. Nipping at Vandy’s heels is LSU, which ranks 2nd (14 commits, and 4 in the top 100) despite top target Bryce Turang signing with the Brewers at the last minute. Joining them in the top 5 is Clanga, which ranks 4th on the backs RHPs Carter Stewart and JT Ginn, who turned down the Braves and Dodgers, respectively.

Proving that rankings are far from infallible, the Chuggers rank 7th. *Let me editorialize a bit and say this is bullshit. Though they are bringing in 21 freshmen, only 1 ranks amongst the top 100. Also, the Wigsphere is bound to fall on at least three of them before fall ball.

Surprisingly low on the ranks is Florida at 13th, who is only bringing in 9 freshmen, with 2 ranked in the top 100 recruits. Florida wasn’t hit as hard by the draft as was Vanderbilt, but with an already smaller class committed, the 5 lost to the draft will likely be felt much harder.

Transferring Out of the Program

Now comes the part I hate: saying goodbye to those who have been forced out due to the roster crunch.

As reported earlier by Adam Sparks of The Tennessean, first baseman and giant human being Tyler “The Wise” Solomon is transferring to Florida Southwestern State College, which is a real place, and not something a Russian bot came up with. With Chinfante returning and Malcom on the way in, there was likely no real shot at playing time for the wise one, so he’s headed to a junior college to be eligible for the draft next year.

In addition, @VuHawkTalk tweeted out a goodbye to Garrett Blaylock, though I can find no news of a transfer or otherwise confirming Blaylock leaving the program on the internets (so take this with a grain of salt).

Will update if/when this is confirmed.