*Series Note: I will do baseball player report cards in the order of their number (from lowest, #2 Vaz, to highest, #99 Gonzo) over the next few months. Did I agree to this to mess with Tom for never finishing the basketball report cards? Yes. Did I expect him to then finish said basketball report cards, thus dooming me to do 43 of these? Also yes. Am I doing this because I suspect I will need to continually remind myself that baseball exists and will return during Vanderbilt feetball season? You make the call!
#6 Jr. 2B Tate “Tater” Kolwyck
.290/.371/.507 with 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, and 2-2 Stolen Bases in 43 games played (138 AB).
For the first month of the season, the Tater played All-SEC caliber ball on both offense and defense, as well as providing the power bat we had long been told he possessed. If anything, not only did we not miss Harry Ray, Tater seemed like an upgrade at the position.
Then, well, this happened on an innocuous swing in a March 23rd midweek game against the David Lipscomb University Improperly Pluralized Bisons:
Here’s video of the play where Tate Kolwyck hurt his hand as captured by our SEC Network+ crew pic.twitter.com/ZWR1SNNp1G— Max Herz (@MaxHerzTalks) March 24, 2021
I wrote the following in the Current Player Draft Primer a few months back:
Though not as rough as Coop’s 2021, the Tater also felt snake bit for most of the year. He opened the year like a house on fire, with 5 HR, 5 2B, 1 3B, and 17 RBI in his first 19 games before breaking a hamate bone in his hand in a mid-week game against The Bisons. As happens with everyone who breaks that particular bone, though Tater was able to return, he was sapped of his power. He would only hit 1 more HR the rest of the season.
The good news is that you can rebuild your grip strength in the offseason. I fully expect the Tater to return to his early 2021 season form both in terms of his power bat and excellent defense at 2nd base in 2022.
Until the hamate bone injury, Tater was poised to Ace his 2021 season report card. Interestingly enough, after his injury sapped his power, Tater changed his approach and became more of a contact hitter—raising his average from .262 pre-injury to .290 post injury. Still, if you extrapolate those pre-injury power numbers to a full season, we’re talking about someone who hits in the neighborhood of 15 HR and 15 2B. That’s an All-SEC type resume. All in all, it was a solid season for the junior second baseman, but imagine what it could have been had he not injured his hand.