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Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #7: Answers to Your Questions

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

Riots at Leipzig demonstration Photo by Sebastian Willnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Question from kgj513:

Where do I start....

1. This team seems to lack some serious identity, leadership, and competitive fire on the field. Who, if anybody, can fill this role?

2. Why does Jack Bulger continue to get regular at bats when he isn’t behind the plate? 1 home run and the lowest average on the team amongst regular doesn’t tell me this needs to keep happening.

3. Is there a reason why Christian Little doesn’t seem to get much consideration for the Sunday starter role? Reilly is never going to be able to pitch more than 4 innings at a time because he is so inefficient. No reason why Little shouldn’t be given a crack at it, even if he is inconsistent at times as well.

4. Is there a player more annoying than Drew Gilbert in college baseball right now?

5. Why does the rest of the world seem to be totally okay with Tony Vitello acting like a total bum 100% of the time?

1) Well, the hope on that front was that veterans Dom Keegan, Tate Kolwyck, and Carter Young would be the team leaders. I would imagine Chris McElvain and Nick Maldonado would be the guys on the pitching side of things. Of those guys, only Tater, McBain, and Maldo have shown me any fire on the field this year. Dom seems to be a quiet leader type, but yeah... we need some guys who will be more vocal after the last two weeks.

2) My main guess is that Corbs is trying to develop Bulger more at the plate, as he’s likely to be the starting catcher next year. At a certain point, production beats development, so yeah, I’d much rather have Silent Cal Hewett continue his deadly streak at either LF or DH when Dom is behind the plate (and if it’s Hewett in LF, I’d rather DH Vaz or any of the young guys with some thunder in their bats). I’d DH Casas or Dom when Bulger is behind the plate.

3) Reilly should be our Sunday starter right now. He should give you 5 or 6 IP, and might go deeper, as his control has been improving since he got to campus. The strangest thing to me is that Little’s only ever getting 1 IP relief opportunities. I would have bet he’d be the piggy-back guy to Reilly ( plan for 5 IP for Reilly, 4 IP for Little). Did Maldo’s injury change this plan (i.e. do they think Little might be our most effective closer or setup man this year)? Maybe. I think he’s got a starter’s arsenal and talent, but he’s also extremely effective out of the pen. It’s still a bit of a mystery.

4) Luke Smith is no longer suiting up for Louisville, so... sure. Though it’s also tough to distinguish who’s the most annoying Chugger, as they have taken on the personality of world class douchebag coach Tony “The Calf” Vitello.

5) Have you paid attention to the world? Full of assholes.

Question from KnockinOnHeavensDore:

1) Best and worst case scenario for this season as of right now. (Realistically)

2) Which is at a greater level right now, your hatred of the Chuggers or your concern for this team? Will it make it feel better if the Chuggers get punished for their bats? I’m bitter and in denial

1) Best case is we start to heat up this weekend at Auburn, Holton figures everything out, Reilly is able to go 6 IP consistently, Carter Young finds his game again, and we’re a National Seed once again. Worst case scenario (realistically), is we’re one of the 2016 through 2018 teams, finish as a high 2 seed, and lose a regional hosted by... let’s say Virginia. I do think we have a lot of 2018 Vanderbilt energy, though, with Diaz in the role of freshman A-Mart, and Jones as Bleday’s sophomore year. At least it doesn’t appear we will have to face Clanga in Supers and go extras every damned game.

2) My hatred of the Chuggers was greater that my level of concern over Derek Mason’s 2020 team, so that ought to tell you all you need to know about that.

Question from Dore31:

We’re now 2-7 in our 3 most competitive series (Ok St, South Carolina, THEM). Is that the best measure for this team’s overall quality and where does continuing to play like this put us for seeding? 2 or even a 3 seed?

If the Diamond Dores exclusively play like we did against those three teams, we would be out of the tourney. We haven’t played like that every game, of course. I think we’re a borderline #1 seed/high #2 seed right now, and that should get Corbs to reaming out the veterans. See the lineup against Austin Peay for confirmation. There’s a better than average chance this team figures everything out by the postseason. They certainly have the talent and depth to do so.

Question from Your Uncle Mike:

The previous two weekend series: I just can’t even, can you?

No. I cannot even.

Question from Vandyfan1:

I might have missed this in an earlier mailbag, but where has Patrick Reilly been? Seemed like he pitched a really solid game.

He’s been in the pen, mostly, serving as a piggy-back guy to other starters earlier in the season. He’s 2-1 with a 1.21 ERA in 29 & 23 IP thus far (2 starts).

If you check out the “Stats” part of his roster page, you’ll see he’s pitched once per week, and has done so every weekend this year. His highest innings were 5 & 2/3 IP against the South Cackalacky Game Penises (after Holton had his worst start of his life), and he’s mostly thrown 4 IP per game. His low on the season was 2 & 23 IP against Missourah (spits), but by the time we went to him, the game, and series, was effectively wrapped up, so Corbs decided to give the young guns some time on the mound.

Expect Sunday’s performance against the Chuggers to put the final stamp on his role as Sunday Starter moving forward. He has been excellent the past two weeks.

Question from Chasrad:

Do you see Futrell as a weekend starter by the end of the season?

He’s on the Walker Buehler plan. It appears Corbs wants Futrell to be our midweek guy all year, so as to keep the bullpen arms fresh for the weekend. He’s a freshman, and it’s probably a good idea to let him build his confidence and test out different pitches against inferior opponents this year. Here’s the thing... you need 4, if not 5, quality starters during the postseason to have any chance to reach (and have success in) Omaha. I’m fine with it. He still gets to pitch against Michigan and Louisville.

Question(s) from Your Uncle Mike & PhilipVU94:

Right or wrong way to do it: A team (THEM or Clanga) that is in your face, loud, obnoxious and an “out of control” coach or a team that plays it cool, respects the game, and uses the game to teach life lessons with a coach that shows control?


Corollary: How many Vanderbilt fans changed opinions on this between the 2013 football season and the present?

I’m not against confidence, emotion, or even Beowulf level boasting. That said, what the Chuggers are right now are just assholes. Like 35 Luke Smiths in a puke orange bag, coached by Luke Smith with a stubble-beard. Oh, and they’re also cheating (and they did not have an email from the conference Commissioner printed out to show the umpires). Hopefully, that answers both questions.

Question from Shoogymgshoogs:

UT (with juiced bats) is clearly the top of the SEC. How do you see the rest of the SEC standings ending up. Does our record of SEC wins in a season go down?

Let me break it down into Tiers.

Tier One (Championship Contenders)

The Chuggers (vomits)

Tier Two (Likely #1 Seeds in the NCAA Tourney)

Arky, Ugga, Vanderbilt, and Ole Piss.

Tier Three (Likely in the Tourney)

Auburn War Tigers, LSU, aTm, and two of the following 4: Jorts, Clanga, Ramajama, and maybe the Game Penises.

Tier Four (Not in the postseason)

Kentucky, Missourah (spits), and the two of the aforementioned 4 above who fall down.

*Note that we’re just 3 weeks into SEC play, so this is all conjecture after Tier Two.

Question from Jerry_Palms_Sphincter:

Is it possible for bats to also be tested for high concentrations of shittiness?

Slow clap.

Question from Parlagi:

Boy that new logo sure is a flaming sack of crap, isn’t it?

Kill it. Kill it with fire.

*Note: I am far too depressed after the past two SEC series to add the requisite exclamation marks.