And finally, VU baseball will be without the steady right field glove and consistent bat of Steven Liddle. But again, Steve will be busy this Spring with the Minnesota Twins organization. Dores will also be missing the services of Nick Christiani, drafted by Reds, and Jonathan White who was picked up by the San Francisco Giants.
Many teams would be reeling with the loss of such quality starting players. Coach Corbin does not rebuild, however, he reloads. Today we will focus on the incoming freshman as we march forward toward opening day. The class of 2013 has familiar names that many Commodore fans will remember such as Flaherty and Yastrzemski and others that they will soon get to know.
With the loss of two of our three outfielders, freshmen may have an early chance to see action roaming the outfield. Early depth chart show that three of the nine freshman are listed as backup for our starting three outfielders. Early projections have our depth as follows:
Left Field Center Field Right Field
- Aaron Westlake Jordan Wormsley Joe Loftus
- Regan Flaherty Mike Yastrzemski Connor Harrell
Regan Flaherty has the same sweet swing of his older brother Ryan, swinging the wood from the left side and hitting with power. Regan was honored with All-State and All-Defensive teams for the last 3 years. Mike Yastrzemski hails from where else, MASS. He was a First-Team Salem News All-Star selection and was drafted in the 2009 MLB draft by none other than the Boston Red Sox. Connor Harrell was 3 time All-Conference selection and 2009 Rawlings Preseason All-American. Coach Corbin stated, “You don’t see this type of athlete come around every day. He can run, throw, hit, and hit with power.” We may just be seeing a lot of these three young men this season.
The Commodores next biggest holes to fill are from the mound. The team lost pitchers that accounted for 21 of the 37 wins last season. Coach Corbin has reloaded with two lefties. Sam Selman from Austin, TX has a nuclear arm with his fastball topping out at around 94. Sam was a Rawlings All-American and a two-time Under Armour Pre-Season All-American. Look for Sam to play immediately out of the bullpen. Also, we added Keenan Kolinsky, LHP out of Knoxville, TN (love stealing one from under the nose of the Vols). Keenan was voted First team All-State and is an Eagle Scout. Keenan is sure to give us added depth in the bullpen.
Our infield returns all starters from 2009, but this freshman class gives us some added depth. Anthony “Go Go” Gomez, from Nutley, NJ has a silk glove at shortstop and plays the position beyond his years. He also has a consistent bat that puts the ball in play. Anthony’s High School team finished 33-0 and ranked number one in the US. Go Go is number 2 on the depth chart behind Brian Harris, so expect to see a lot of him this summer.
Our other Sr infielder is Giobbi behind the dish. Nate Gonzalez from Clermont, FL should give us added depth at catcher. He was named to the Perfect Game Central Fl All-Senior team. Nate was hampered with a hand injury last fall but Coach Corbin likes his defensive and leadership skills and he will probably be a catcher of the future for the Dores.
Our final two freshmen come to Vanderbilt by unconventional means. First Sean Murphy comes from Vienna, VA. Sean is a utility player that plays infield and outfield positions. He attended summer baseball camp at VU and asked for an opportunity to join the team. Well be careful what you ask for Sean because you have got that opportunity. Coach Corbin likes his work ethic and his unselfish nature. Sean was an All-Conference selection as junior and senior.
And last but not least, we have Bryan Johns from Allen, TX. Bryan will technically be a junior, as he is transferring from Howard College. Bryan is listed as 2 on the depth chart behind Riley Reynolds. Last year for Howard, he hit .434, with 8 dingers and 23 doubles, 78 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. His Junior College team won the JUCO National Championship in 2009. Look for Bryan to solidify the infield and give us another strong bat.
In closing, it sure looks like Coach Corbin hit another one out of the park with this class. Baseball America lists this class as the #13 best in the country and every signee appears to meet future upcoming needs. These guys have now bonded with our existing players in Hong Kong and should offer the 2010 team immediate depth. The fun starts Friday night as Niagara comes to town before our early season left coast trip. Are you ready for some baseball?
See you at the Hawk!!!!
2/13/10 Craig Johnson/Vandymania