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Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #5: Answers to your Questions

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

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Baseball Championship
[Insert baseball themed soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs here]
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Question from Nova-Dore:

D1 Baseball has 4 SEC teams (Ole Miss, Vandy, Tenn, and Florida) and one Big 12 team (Arky) in the top 8. Which of these teams don’t you expect to still be top 8 at the end of the season and host a Super Regional?

This is an excellent question. It’s impossible to say any of them are mortal locks one week into conference play, but I’ll do it anyway:

Mortal Locks for a National Seed (probably): Vanderbilt and the Chuggers (vomits while typing this, but you asked me to be honest).

Quite Likely to grab a National Seed: Ole Piss.

Chance at a National Seed, but I probably a #1 Seed: Arky.

Probably a #1 seed: Ugga.

Will likely have to battle for even a #1 seed: The Jorts.

I do think at least 4 of the 5 will be #1 seeds. I don’t think Florida’s all that good this year. I’ll also add Ugga to the SEC teams with a really good chance at being a #1 seed, and even possibly a National Seed, as their pitching staff is back after a one year hiatus. LSU will be able to mash, but not pitch (wake me if you’ve heard that before), but that may well be enough for a #1 seed if everything clicks. It did not look like everything is going to click for the Tigahs when they played aTm this weekend. I could also see LSU falling off a damned cliff in conference play, as they’re going to have to out-slug everyone. Like the Phillies current roster construction, they may well actually out-slug everyone, though.

Oh, and Clanganfreude is alive and well with MSU at 1-2 in conference and 12-9 overall thus far. Oof.


Question from chasrad:

My only criticism of the GOAT in the past was that he stayed with pitchers in trouble too long (IMO).

This appeared to change in 2021 and this year he is almost Captain Hook. To what would you attribute this change (if you agree)? A change in attitude? The ability to throw wave after wave of talented arms at the opposition moreso than in the past?

This really changed once Sonny Gray was drafted in 2011, but yes, Corbs has been much more cognizant of slowly ramping up a pitcher’s innings/pitches at the beginning of the season in the past few years. Most of it is likely attributable to Brownie and the Pitching Lab (tm) going all analytical on everybody’s asses, but it’s also a function of having a roster that’s always overloaded with MLB starting pitching prospects. The ability to piggyback starting pitchers with other SEC caliber starting pitchers is a really good advantage to have, as not only do you keep your starters fresher deeper into the season, but pitchers like Pat Reilly, Hunter Owen, and Christian Little will all have their arms built up if/when we need them to start and give us 5-6 innings in the postseason.

In other words...


Question from HeavyDore:

I love the 8-9 Tate/Young end of the batting order. But at some point, I believe Young deserves/proved he needs to be higher in the order. How much longer does Carter Young stays at the 9 and if he does move, where do you think he bats?

Excellent question, as it has been on my mind a lot recently. The best developments this season have been McBain turning into a true SEC Friday Night Ace, Carter Holton and Davis Diaz being more than ready for this level of competition, and Carter Young’s recent return to the Mighty Carter Young who MLB scouts had pegged as a 1st round SS this time last year.

Young was injured late last season, and though he fought back in postseason play, he wasn’t remotely able to do what he is capable of when healthy. Not only that, it got into his head, and he began the 2022 season in a slump.

Freshman year (18 games): .328/.373/.377 with 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 12 RBI, and 1-1 steals.

Sophomore year (61 games): .252/.341/.559 with 15 2B, 5 3B, 16 HR, 52 RBI, and 9-10 steals.

Junior year (19 games): .313/.439/.597 with 4 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 14 RBI and 2-3 steals.

In other words, right now, he’s hitting for average like he did as a freshman and slugging like he did last year. Is that good? Is that something you would want at the top of the lineup? Are these rhetorical questions getting annoying?

Though his current year numbers are quite good, they’re phenomenal in the past two weeks. Let’s look at his hitting stats on a week by week basis this year:

Week One (OSU): 0-6.

Week Two (Evansville and Army): 3-11 with 2 3B and 4 RBI.

Week Three (Central Arkansas and Hawaii): 5-20 with 1 2B 2 HR and 3 RBI.

Week Four (Wagner): 4-10 with 1 2B, 1 3B, and 4 RBI.

Week Five (Michigan and Missourah—spits): 8-16 with 2 2B, 1 HR, and 3 RBI.

To answer your question, Mighty Carter Young should bat in the #2 spot behind Enrique Shockwave. That would bump Diaz to 6th. Ah, that’s too much typing... Here’s what I would do:

Against RHP:

Bradfield

Young

Jones

Keegan

Casas

Diaz

LaNeve (DH)

Tater

Vaz (2nd leadoff hitter)

Against LHP:

Bradfield

Young

Jones

Keegan

Casas

Diaz

Tater

Bulger (or whomever the DH is when Keegan is catching)

Vaz (2nd leadoff hitter)

I would also be fine with keeping Diaz at #2 and moving Young to 6th. Keep everything else the same.

*Note: Since writing this, Young went 2-4 with a 2 run HR against Belmont on Tuesday.


Question from ShoogyMgShoogs:

So last week’s question that missed the mail bag was gonna be “Does Jack Anderson need more high leverage innings?” which I guess still applies even after a not so great outing.

I’ll say maybe on this one. I think Prancetown Transfer Jack Anderson (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 4 & 2/3 IP) is a good bullpen piece for us, but not as good as Maldo, Reilly, Little, and even Schultz would be at the fireman/closer role. It’s a good problem to have.


Question from Your Uncle Mike:

With his recent power production, has Shockwave turned into Willie Mayes Hayes from Major League II?

This is my biggest fear, but thankfully, he dropped a few bunts down and used his wheels against Michigan and Missourah (spits). Shockwave needs to be a high OBP guy who gets into the heads of pitchers. An occasional leadoff dinger is fine, but his job is to wreak havoc on the base paths and take up long term residency in the pitcher’s head.

As stated early in the season, when it seemed like Bradfield was falling in love with his own power hitting improvement, Corbs should have taken the lesson from the coach of Major League and make Enrique do pushups every time he hits one in the air.


Question from VandyFan1:

Weekly Christian Little check in please?

He threw an inning and a third against Michigan and gave up 2 runs. He relieved Carter Holton after 7 IP on Saturday and looked phenomenal, striking out 4 and yielding no baserunners. He’s 0-0 with a 2.89 ERA on the season, and it looks like, at the moment, Corbs and Brownie prefer him as a late inning reliever. Might this all change if Futrell eventually becomes the Sunday starter? Yes.


Question from KnockinOnHeavensDore:

Which of our freshman has shown the most potential to be major league prospects [sic]?

It’s Carter “Southpaw Sonny Gray/Rev. Holton Heat” Holton (4-0, 2.10 ERA), and it’s not particularly close. The only reason he wasn’t given 1st round money in last year’s draft is he’s 5’11” and MLB scouts are height-cist (not a word, but I’m coining it right here and now). Nearly all MLB scouts right now wish they had used their 1st or 2nd rounder (but went way over slot here) to sign Holton. They will get their chance in 2024 after his junior year, when the price will be through the damned roof.

The other freshman who looks like a 2024 1st rounder is Davis “Diaz de los Muertos” Diaz, who could have a college career trajectory similar to Austin Martin, especially if the power shows up in year 2 and 3.

Devin Futrell also looks like a 2024 high round selection, but will have to break into the starting rotation, cement himself there, and dominate as a sophomore and junior to make it into the 1st round. He will also likely have to up his velocity by a few ticks, as he’s more of a low-90s guy right now. If Brownie and the Pitching Lab (tm) can get him to sit in the mid 90s on his heater by his junior year, with the control and feel for pitching he has already exhibited, that’s a 1st round profile, as well.

Though they will find it tough to crack into the lineup this year (and the catcher looks like he’s a redshirt right now), I would also keep your eye on SS/2B Rob Gordon, SS/2B Jonathan Vastine, and C Anthony Migliaccio (as you know what it means when Corbs gives a freshman catcher #5) as future pro prospects. OF/UTL Matthew Polk and RHP Bryce Cunningham should be on MLB scouts radars now, as well.


Question from Jeturn:

Did I hear the Whistler in Memorial after the baseball game was over?????

I never stop hearing him. He haunts my dreams. Also, probably. At least one of the whistlers is at every major Vandy sporting event trying to annoy the ever-loving hell out of me.


Question from Duke Stoner:

Time Machine

It’s June 28, 2021 around 11pm and I am enjoying a Makers Mark having just watched Jack Leiter go 6.0 IP against Mississippi St w 3 hits and 2 ER. Vanderbilt won rather easily 8-2 in the College World Series final Gm 1.

Since NCSt had to forfeit their second game, my team is well rested and we have Kumar Rocker on the mound tomorrow night to close out another National Championship.

Question : How the hell did we lose 2 games by scores of 2 - 13 & 0-9 ?

You have chosen violence.