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2021 Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #15: Answers to Your Questions

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

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-USPS Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Question from Shoogymgshoogs:

What do you do with our rotation in Omaha. Obviously Rocker, Leiter are 1, 2. But who goes in a potential game 3. With the off days to do we go back to Rocker immediately or use a 3rd starter? Does it depend if we stay in the winners bracket?

Write Rocker and Leiter in Sharpie for Game One and Two respectively. After that, your guess is as good as mine. Corbs went with Fr. RHP Patrick “Life Of” Reilly in Game Three of Regionals, and claimed he was going to go with Reilly if Supers went to Three, as well. In short, that’s what I expect him to do in Omaha. Note that Reilly starts are more like openers, as he is not someone you should expect to stay in after two passes through the lineup. As such, he could be piggy-backed with Schultz or Little.

What would I do? I’d give the ball to Fr. RHP Christian “The Answer” Little on Game Three, regardless of whether we’re trying to complete the sweep or fighting for our lives in an elimination game. He showed me something against Ole Piss in Hoover, and I’d bet he will pitch up to the level of competition and importance of the game. If we’re up 2-0, I’d want the kid to intimidate the competition and help drive the final nail into their coffin. If we’re at 1-1, I’d want the kid to give us 5-6 innings and keep the bullpen fresh in Game Four. This is not a lack of confidence in Reilly (who was really good against Atlanta once he got rid of his first inning jitters), I just think Little’s got more to give, and seems like the type of kid who will step up in the big moments.


Question from DoreJam:

Are we supposed to drink after mentions of the whistler, unlimited scholarships, teen girls on the internet, parlagi school mascots, or something else? The rules are clear in basketball regarding baseline benches (drink) or Ben Simmons (drink), but less so in baseball. I want to Omaha properly, please help (and thank you).

Yes. Or no. Your call. I’m not the boss of you. Parlagi is. Ask him.


Question from Volundore:

With the elimination of Arkansas (and knowing nothing about Arizona), how substantial a favorite is Vanderbilt in Bracket 1?

Of the Us T, UVA/DBU, CLANGA/DOMER (understanding half of those slashes will no longer be options by the time you answer this), who is the best/worst matchup in a potential championship series?

Let’s just say Arky going down made us the prohibitive favorite. Pac 12 teams Stansbury and Zona—and to a lesser extend, ACC team NC State—can hit the cover off the ball, but not a one of them has a pitcher that scares me. The best is Stansbury’s Beck, but we won’t see him, as he’ll throw Game One against NC State. Probably the best pitchers after that are NC State’s tandem of lefty relievers, Jr. Evan “Maine” Justice and Fr. Chris “Houseman” Villaman.

That’s enough of an excuse to post this again, right?

As for the other side of the bracket, though they’re not getting as much love from baseball’s literati, I have to think Clanga is the best of the bunch. They’re the most complete team in that side of the bracket, at least. THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED rely almost exclusively on the home run for their offense, and let’s just say that doesn’t tend to work out all that well in Omaha. I’d say UVA’s the best match-up, as they’re the worst of those four teams. Think of them a little like Michigan of last year, though, as they’re extremely well coached, and will not think of themselves as the underdog no matter what we say. Texas also exists.


Question from Killerfurball:

If you were in charge what changes would you make to the batting order for Omaha and why?

Secondary question: Don’t you just hate to see it with these SEC eliminations?

Am I going to be able to wave a magic wand and return Mighty Carter Young’s shoulder and Tater Kolwyck’s bruised hand to full strength? If so, I’d go:

  1. Shockwave (CF)
  2. Mighty Carter Young (SS)
  3. Dom (1B)
  4. LaNeve’s the Yard (DH)
  5. I.T. (RF)
  6. Chi Chi (C)
  7. Noland (3B)
  8. Tater (2B)
  9. Vaz (LF)

If Tater’s not able to play, move Noland to 2B (same spot in the lineup), move Vaz up to 8th, and bat Gonzo (3B) 9th.

And yes, you hate to see it.


Question from Parlagi:

As a former pitcher, what is your favorite (non-Eephus) pitch to see someone break out?

Also, please rant about Arkansas’ misuse of Kopps.

I’m not a “former pitcher” in the sense of a Kyle Peterson. I was more the 3rd starter and occasional bullpen guy on my high school team (was mostly a 2nd baseman and leadoff hitter). Still, you’ve seen my favorite non-Eephus pitch many a time this year, as Jack Leiter’s 4-Seam Maddux Special come-backer on lefties is just a thing of beauty. Maddux was buckling knees at 86mph. Leiter’s doing the same at 96-99mph. Just unreal.

Oh, and as a former occasional junk-baller, my favorite pitches to throw were the spike knuckle curve and a looping slurve. I have 100% confidence that college hitters would have just rocked the slurve, but high school kids bailed as it slowly went from looking like it was going to hit them in the head to safely floating toward the outside black on the knees. Let’s just say I wouldn’t let them forget they flinched.

I told you I got HBP a lot, right?


Question from Chasrad:

Will Tate be back at second base for the start of the CWS? Do you think Maldo can transition to starter next year if he returns (he is draft eligible)?

Seeing as Maldo just turned 21, yes, he should be eligible for the 2021 MLB Draft (other sophs eligible include Jack Leiter and Chi Chi Rodriguez). However, he’s currently not on the MLB top 200 Draft Prospects list (whereas Rocker, Leiter, I.T., Keegan, and Chi Chi are), so we might have a pretty good shot of keeping him for another year. Yes, I could see him transitioning to being a starter, though I could also see him staying at closer. Remember, there’s a good chance we get Jones, Doolin, and Hliboki back next year, and all should compete for a spot in the rotation. Frankly, I’m shocked he’s not on the Top 200, but remember, he only threw 6 and 23 IP last year, so MLB teams might not feel they have enough of a book on him to invest an early pick.

As for Tater, he’s my wild card. If his bruised hand is fully healed, he should start at 2B, as he is a gold glove caliber defender and makes our double play combo all but bulletproof. No news just yet, though he is practicing.


Question from WestEndMayhem:

Haha Arkansas lost?

Yes. Their “Let Kopps throw nearly all the innings” strategy finally blew up in their faces—though how his arm, individually, did not turn into a jelly, is beyond me.


Question from DoreJam:

Any advance word on whether hot mom will be traveling to Omaha and, if so, whether she can score (tickets behind home plate, of course).

My readers, ladies and gentlemen.