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Position Previews: Outfield

Two out of the three spots seem set, and there is a real possibility all three outfielders will have CF range.

College World Series - Vanderbilt v Michigan - Game Two
Sophomore OF Isaiah Thomas, poised to kick Walker Grisanti in the grundle.
Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

With Malcolm Turner resigning in shame, let us pause to thank the great lord Vocokyteps that it is only 10 days before the start of baseball season.

Go get you a poster signed tomorrow, by the way.

Today, we focus on the Outfield. OO!

*Click here for the Catcher Preview, First Base Preview, Shortstop Preview, Second Base Preview, and Third Base Preview.

As I said last week in the Third Base preview, everything depends on where Corbs decides to play Austin Martin—and Martin, himself, is not 100% sure where that will be.

Though we lost RF JJ “Bledinger” Bleday, CF Pat “Runs-DMC” DeMarco, and LF Stephen “The Human Fire Hydrant” Scott to the MLB Draft (...and we salute them for it), we shockingly have a lot of returning talent and incoming depth at OF. As such, rather that discuss the relative merits of each individual prospective outfielder, I will present you with a few options:

Option #1: The All Center Fielder Outfield of Death

LF: #3 Jr. Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis (.331/.441/.421)

CF: #16 Jr. Austin “A-Mart/Bond Car” Martin (.392/.486/.604)

RF: #8 So. Isaiah “No, not that Isaiah Thomas” Thomas (.368/.405/.684)

LSU has been doing this for years—recruiting rangy center fielders for all three outfield spots, and effectively killing all doubles. They sacrifice some power potential for this strategy, but you have to admit, you hate facing that outfield defense. In 2020, Vanderbilt has the option—if it chooses to stick A-Mart in center—of effectively forcing other teams to hit it on the ground or over the fence only, as all other balls gonna get got.

Here’s why I would at least strongly consider this option:

  1. We’re not going to replace the power we lost from last year’s lineup this year.
  2. We have the best pitching rotation in college baseball—in fact, our 2, 3, and 4 starters will be better than any other team in baseball’s weekend starters... and that’s not even factoring in Kumar’s weekly trips to White Castle.
  3. We will have the best bullpen in baseball.

With those three things in mind, why not commit to a pitching, defense, and Vanderbunt strategy in 2020?! Hell, why not set your lineup with The Barrel-Maker leading off, IT in the 2 hole, A-Mart batting 3rd, and then unleash the triple steal each time they load ‘em up?

Fr. Parker “Can’t Lose” Noland can handle 3rd defensively, and the difference between his bat, and the bats of other potential outfield candidates is pretty much negligible.

We can literally relive the 2012 SEC Tourney game against the Jorts in Hooverville every game!

Shoot this into my veins, please and thank you!!!

Option #2: The “I’m Keeping A-Mart at Third, and You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise” Sophomore Strategy

LF: #6 So. IF “Little Man” Tate Kolwyck (.667/.750/1.333), or #11 So. Matt “Colonel Crank” Hogan (.000/.200/.000)

CF: #3 Jr. Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis (.331/.441/.421)

RF: #8 So. Isaiah “No, not that Isaiah Thomas” Thomas (.368/.405/.684)

Colonel Crank did go 2 for 6 with 3 RBI in 2 games vs. Okie State, and has CF range. As such, you can pretty much copy and paste everything I wrote above, but, you know, not get as excited about it.

Beyond that, he has constructed a series of tunnels for he and his fellow American soldiers to get involved in all sorts of monkeyshines under the nose of their Nazi captors. Hogan!!!

Option #3: The “I’m Keeping A-Mart at Third, You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise, but I’m All-In on Upside” Freshman Strategy

LF: #18 Fr. Will “Duff Man” Duff (N/A), #19 Fr. Troy “The Snowman” LaNeve (N/A), or #34 Fr. 1B/LHP Spencer “The Gift” Jones (N/A)

CF: #3 Jr. Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis (.331/.441/.421)

RF: #8 So. Isaiah “No, not that Isaiah Thomas” Thomas (.368/.405/.684)

Let’s be honest: I only like this strategy due to the solid nickname potential of both Duff and LaNeve. Tell me you don’t want to yell, “Duff Man says a lot of things!” when he takes a hit away.

Further, “LaNeve” is Italian for “The Snow,” and I will straight up punch the stadium D.J. in the throat if his walk-up music is not “Informer.”

You know me daddy me Snow me, I’m gone blame. A leaky boom boom down.

If they go with a freshman, it’s likely the Duff Man, as he appeared against Michigan and Okie State in Fall Ball (going 1 for 4 with 2 runs scored), while The Snowman did not.

The Snowman did show out in practice, recently, though:

As for Dr. Jones, his power is extremely intriguing, and he’s not as slow as you would expect a 6’7” giant to be (he has been clocked at 6.76 seconds on the 60 yard dash). He would be the highest upside play. Still, I find it much more likely that he sees time at 1B or DH than in the OF.

Option #4: The “I’m Keeping A-Mart at Third, You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise, but I Want Some Power” Veteran Utility Man Strategy

LF: #42 So. UTL Justyn-Henry Malloy (.067/.364/.067) or #12 So. C/1B/DH/UTL Dominic Keegan (.227/.320/.273)

CF: #3 Jr. Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis (.331/.441/.421)

RF: #8 So. Isaiah “No, not that Isaiah Thomas” Thomas (.368/.405/.684)

To be honest, this is the least palatable strategy for me, as I’d rather put their power bats at DH or corner IF. You would lose speed with both. Still, it could happen, so I’m listing it.

So what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.