2009 Vanderbilt Season Preview: Infield

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Brian Harris

Brian Harris

Infield

No area on the field was hit harder by graduation and the draft than the infield. With the losses of Alvarez, Feinberg, Flaherty and Robin, Vanderbilt will be looking for new starters at every position besides first base, where junior Andrew Giobbi returns.

In addition to Giobbi, junior Brian Harris (2B) will add a veteran presence to an infield that has three underclassmen in sophomore Curt Casali (1B/C) and true freshmen Jason Esposito (SS) and Joe Loftus (3B).

After a breakout campaign in 2008, where he ranked second on the team with a .332 batting average, Giobbi returns as Vanderbilt’s top returning offensive threat this season. The Portland, Maine, native also led the team with 22 doubles and ranked third on the squad with 42 RBI. He will start the year behind the plate and will also see time at first base.

“Andrew (Giobbi) will be a catalyst for our team in many ways,” Corbin said. “He has improved his athleticism greatly and can play several positions on the field. He has come up with a lot of big hits in his career and he is a very positive influence on our young kids.”

Curt Casali suffered an arm injury in preseason drills that will limit him to first base to start the year. He has a power bat and his numbers should jump as he sees action full-time after hitting .317 last year as Shea Robin’s backup.

A Nashville, native Harris is one of the team’s most versatile players. He should be the starter at shortstop in California and has developed into the leader of the infield. Although Harris was not a regular starter, he was one of the team’s most vital players last year, filling in for Alvarez at third base and Feinberg at second base when they both missed time due to injuries.

“Brian is the most versatile infielder on our team,” Corbin said. “He has great reflexes and hands. Brian has developed as a hitter in a big way; makes very good contact and has plate discipline. He will be counted on very heavily by our team.”