One hour left. One hour until our long national nightmare ends. Vanderbilt baseball is back.
Lineups have been released, so let’s talk about it.
On the Mound
Vanderbilt Jr. RHP Drake “Safari Planet” Fellows (7-4 3.94 ERA in ‘18)
UVA So. RHP Griff “Children’s Sitcom Bully” McGarry (0-2 in 8.15 ERA ‘18)
No surprise here. He was a weekend starter as a freshman, the Friday night starter as a sophomore, the no doubt ace as a junior, and he is deeply suspicious of the motives of this parrot:
1. So. DH Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis
2. So. 2B Austin “Bond Car” Martin
3. Jr. RF JJ “Say Hey” Bleday
4. Sr. LF Stephen “The Sentient Fire Hydrant” Scott
5. So. C Philip “Seymour” Clarke
6. So. CF Pat “The Natural” DeMarco
7. Sr. SS Ethan “Chili P” Paul
8. Sr. 1B Julian “Chinfante/Boom Stick” Infante
9. So. 3B Jayson “Light Tower Power” Gonzalez
Get your scorecards ready.— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) February 15, 2019
Your opening day lineup is here.#VandyBoys | #AnchorDown pic.twitter.com/AK6CxyKu77
Thoughts on the Lineup
First, though I suspect the position battle will go on all year, Corbs has settled on the senior Ethan Paul at the game’s most important defensive position. Of course will will miss the steady glove of Connor Kaiser, but the double play combination of Paul and Martin should match the range and add more athleticism. Some (okay, me) thought Martin would get the nod at SS, but Paul has been there since fall ball, so Corbs must have seen enough then.
Similarly, I expected Martin to lead off, but Cooper Davis is a fast, super talented kid. He didn’t see much time last year (only 11 ABs), but Corbs has had a ton of success with kids from cold weather climates in the past. If he could turn hockey players Massachusetts native Will Toffey and Wisconsin’s own Jeren Kendall into baseball stars, we can only conclude that Davis, who hails from Ontario, will break out in his sophomore year. It’s even colder in Ontario, so Corbs’ hockey magic will be all the stronger, right?
Starting Clarke at catcher is the absolute right call. Though I expect Ty Duvall and Stephen Scott to see some time behind the plate (with Clarke as DH), Clarke is the best offense and defense combination at the position.
Infante and Gonzalez will be the most powerful 8 and 9 hitters in all of baseball—including MLB. Have a little think on that one.
Though it had previously been reported/assumed that Patrick Raby would get the nod on Saturday, it looks like Kumar Rocker will get to go to White Castle on Sunday, bumping Mason Hickman to the mid-week spot.
Looking forward to being part of the @MLBNetwork broadcast of the @VandyBaseball vs. @UVABaseball tonight at 7 pm ET. Working with @StephenNelson & Dan O'Dowd. In case you're wondering, Mike Vasil starts for Virginia on Saturday and Kumar Rocker starts for Vanderbilt on Sunday. https://t.co/0rS2NDHwcu— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) February 15, 2019
See you in the comments.