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2021 Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #8: Answers to Your Questions

Letters... we get letters... we get stacks and stacks of letters...

St Patrick’s Day 2021
Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Question from Jeff Allinder:

I was watching a game recently and the announcers were talking about Carter being “almost as good” defensively as Dans...or something like that. Which prompted me to wonder, “How does CY compare to Dans offensively in their FR/SO seasons?” At the time I went to look, CY fares very well offensively, and his defense has been pretty amazing from this guy’s perspective.

I’d love an answer from you to a general question like, “At this stage of his career, how does Carter Young compare to Dansby (or add Connor or Vince if that’s fun)?”

I confess that I’ve become friends with Phil and pay particular attention to CY, but he’s having a great year and I’m not sure we realize how good he really is! :)

Anyway, just a thought...

Mighty Carter Young is in the running for best offensive performer of the 2021 Diamond Dores, and that’s saying something. Young has cooled off of late, but the same is true for pretty much every Dore after the Ugga series. As for the Dansby the Mansby comp, it’s important to remember that Dansby was injured his freshman year, and pretty much lost that entire year.

Still, let’s do some side by side action:

Freshman Year

Carter Young (18 games played; 18 starts)

.328/.373/.377 with 3 2B 0 3B 0 HR 12 RBI and 1-1 swiping bags.

Dansby Swanson (11 games played; 4 starts)

.188/.435/.250 with 1 2B 0 3B 0 HR 1 RBI and 1-2 swiping bags.

Sophomore Year

Carter Young (30 games played; 30 starts)

.309/.378/.618 with 11 2B 3 3B 7 HR 29 RBI and 4-4 swiping bags.

Dansby Swanson (72 games played; 72 starts)

.333/.411/.475 with 27 2B 2 3B 3 HR 34 RBI and 22-27 swiping bags.

It’s fair to say Mighty Carter Young has far exceeded Dansby the Mansby Swanson in power output at this point in his development, but Dansby always had a better eye at the plate, and was more willing to make things happen with his legs. Beyond that, Young’s power output—and overall batting ability, to be honest—has been a pleasant surprise, as coming into his freshman year, he was sold in pretty much the same terms as Connor Kaiser. In other words, I was expecting a gold glover with a work-in-progress bat. It took Kaiser until his junior year to truly figure out college pitching. It took Mighty Carter Young no time at all.

Of course, the former Dore comp I see at the plate for Carter is Ethan “Chili P” Paul. They have similar swings, to me. Young’s defense is far superior to Paul’s—not that Paul was poor defensively; it’s more that Carter Young has Dansby Swanson, if not Connor Kaiser type range—and as such, he’s got a chance at being a first rounder in 2022. He’ll have to prove he can carry an entire team on his back, Dansby the Mansby style, if he wants to be picked at the top of that round. Right now, though, I could see him going around picks #15-30.

Question from RocketCityVandy:

Is there a GoFundMe we can donate to to get our players healthy faster? Maybe a time travel event where we can get Trek-level meds in here for them?

More seriously, how’s the injury report looking, and with the players out that we have, what’s the outlook against THEM this weekend?

Let me start with an update on some injured players by Tim Corbin (hat tip to The Huslter The Hustler student sports writers for really being on top of things this year):

Beyond that, I.T. returned in the mid-week game and hit a triple. His bat was woefully needed in the last series, as Corbs can again make a call to Run Support whenever he needs some juice in the lineup. Get Coop back, and our “Three Centerfielder Outfield of Death (tm)” is back in full force. That not only helps the lineup, but kills all opposing doubles, and hence, helps our pitching staff immensely.

I’d still urge some caution about the Tater, as hamate bone injuries are known to sap grip strength—and thus, power—for a while, even after you return. I would hope Corbs will keep him on the bench until he’s back to full strength, as I’d rather have him come Tourney time than rushed back now.

No update on Hliboki Bartokomous, yet, but he was at least on the bench against EKU. I still fear the worst with that one.

Outlook is improving.

Question from Johnny ‘10:

Do we roll with Ethan Smith on Sunday, or does Reilly get another start?

Is Schultz still battling for that spot or is he a middle-inning reliever (I could see him taking over Hliboki’s roll if he shook hands with he who should not be named)?

Bradfield hit the freshman wall. How long until he’s back to form?

Has Vandy officially submitted a bid to host regionals/superregionals?

Four questions, eh? Greedy greedy.

1) I do think you’re correct that it’s either Smith or Reilly this Sunday. In fact, it could quite easily be a piggyback of both, like Corbs initially intended to do with Reilly/Hliboki last week. That’s my guess, at least. I would think Reilly gets the Tampa Rays “Opener” role—i.e. once through the lineup—and then Smith comes in for the next 4 innings or so. It could easily be reversed. Personally, with Hliboki Bartokomous grabbing his forearm last week, I would be trying to stretch out Smith as the Sunday starter from here on out.

2) Schultz is now your mid-week starter. Did a fine job against the EKU Fried Chicken Mavens, too. As I said on the tweeters:


3) I do agree that Enrique Shockwave is currently slumping. With the injuries in the outfield, and his superb defense, the answer is to do nothing. Of course, if Coop comes back this weekend (it’s possible), you could put him back at the leadoff spot and move Shockwave to a less demanding spot in the order. Either way, I’d let him work his way out of it. His defense and speed need to be out there.

4) Yes. They did so immediately.

Question from Shoogymgshoogs:

With Schultz getting the midweek start, what role does Little serve going forward? Do we see him in relief on weekdays or weekends or try him Sundays?

This mid-week game against EKU should have answered that. Schultz is the mid-week starter going forward (so as to stretch out his arm by allowing him to go deeper in games against lesser competition, to help build his confidence for when we’ll need him in the postseason, and to beat Louisville to BRING ME MAH BARREL!). Little could either piggyback Schultz on mid-week starts (2-3 innings after Schultz is pulled), or just move into the pen for the rest of the year. I’d move him into the pen and move Ethan Smith back into the rotation (or use Smith as a piggyback starter with Reilly on Sundays).

Question from Lsmsrbls:

We were promised an SEC Storied watch party. Should we keep Vandy Rolls on our DVRs until then?

First, I’d like to remind you this is a BASEBALL mail bag. With that out of the way... Tom promised that, I believe.

I would certainly have put up a game thread for that, but forgot when it was, forgot to set my DVR, and overall played catch-up on pretty much everything this week—work wise and otherwise. My week pretty much mirrored that of the Diamond Dores against Ugga.

This week is Chugger Hate Week. I’m locked in.

Question from Parlagi:

Question, since we’re 30 games into the season, who are you most shocked is in (or tied for) 8th place in their conference: Florida, UCLA, Miami, or Clemson?

It’s the Jorts, hands down. They were the pre-season #1 team in the land, on the back of returning their entire 2020 starting rotation and having a supposed top half of the first round talent in CF Jud “Fabulous” Fabian. Fabian looks more and more like one of those tools over production guys, as his 2021 Jorts season is a 1980s Steve Balboni-an 11 dingers, while just batting .228.

The fact that they’re 6-6 in conference play thus far just hammers home how much of a meat grinder the SEC conference schedule is.

Or just how hard it is to play baseball as a never-nude.

p.s. For more on baseball cards and Steve Balboni’s other-worldly Teamster forearms, watch the entire Randy and Jason Sklar’s comedy web series Back on Topps (now on youtube). You will not regret it.