Tag Archives: SEC

Auburn welcomes incoming class!

Thursday was a banner day for the Auburn baseball team as the Tigers welcomed 13 freshmen and a transfer to the squad for the 2008 season. The freshman class includes three players that were drafted in this past summer’s Major League Baseball Draft while 23rd-round pick junior Mike Bianucci also chose to return to The Plains for the upcoming season.

PGcrosschecker.com had this to say about Auburn’s recruiting class. “Big, Deep and Talented (Brian Fletcher, Wes Gilmer, Hunter Morris, Kevin Patterson). If these hitters show up for class at Auburn, the Tigers might have the best offensive team in college baseball in a couple of years. They all hit and can hit right now without needing much projection. Morris and Patterson are left-handed hitters with middle-of-the-order potential; it’s a scary thought where they might be in three years with metal bats.”

Press Release from Auburn

Corbin Lands NAIA Star for ‘08 Class

Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin announced yesterday that he was remaining in Nashville. Just 10 hours after that decision, VandySports.com’s Mike Rapp broke the news that Corbin and Erik Bakich had landed coveted transfer candidate Drew Hayes.

Hayes will enter with this year’s class and be eligible to play immediately as a Sophomore. A 6’1″ 200 lb RHP, Hayes is described by Joshua Parrott of the Jackson Sun as having a body built like Casey Weathers, the former Vandy closer and #8 overall pick in this past draft. Parrott reports in today’s paper that Hayes will be given the opportunity to use his mid-90s heater to earn the right to close games on West End.

Corbin and Bakich were not unfamiliar with Hayes, nor are his new teammates. Hayes is most well associated with Mikie Minor, the Vanderbilt and Team-USA standout LHP. Minor and Hayes competed for honors as 2005-6′s top Tennessee baseball player. Minor ultimately drew the most acclaim, but Hayes bested the southpaw in the TSSAA State Championship game in an epic matchup. Hayes was recruited heavily by Vanderbilt; however, he chose to play at Bethel, where his father is the baseball head coach. Hayes batted .320 and carried a 6-4 record and 2.72 ERA on the hill.

Hayes joins another star-studded class of recruits that have all made it to Nashville without defection. Among them are Catcher Curtis Casali, LHP Kellen St. Luce, 1B/DH Aaron Westlake, LHP Ben Blanton, RHP Chase Reid, 1B Drew Fann, SS Gabe Ortiz, OF Joey Manning, LHP Sean Bierman and RHP Taylor Hill. Casali, Manning and Westlake are expected to push holdover starters at C, LF and 1B, respectively, while all six pitching recruits will join a solid redshirt class in replacing the six Vanderbilt pitchers who moved on to the professional ranks this year.
I would also be remiss if I did not link Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com‘s excellent article on Tim Corbin and the Oregon search. It touched on the topics I addressed in my late post last night, but Kendall actually attended the presser and knows Tim from attending a number of Vandy games and covering the Dores. It’s an outstanding read for those of you who aren’t sick of me talking about the Commodores yet.

More on Corbin and the Oregon Coaching Search

With Tim Corbin’s announcement today, Vandy fans stomachs finally settled. Mike Rapp and Chris Lee of VandySports.com, Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com, Brett Hait of the Nashville City Paper and Mo Patton of the Tennessean (and the College Baseball Blog) all covered the story in great detail. Early this morning, Coach Corbin announced, through Joe Fisher (the voice of Commodore athletics as announcer for all Vandy sports games), that he was staying in Nashville. Later in the day, Corbin hosted media to answer questions regarding the brief courtship.

Of interesting note, Corbin was not initially interviewing with Oregon. He was engaged by the University as a consultant to help build their program and advise on matters including the coaching search and facility construction. Much like Baylor, another program visited by Oregon officials, Vanderbilt is known to have among the best facilities in the country. However, during the courtship, Oregon upped the ante and offered Corbin a compensation package that dwarfed what Corbin currently receives at Vandy. Corbin is among the most well compensated coaches in the SEC, leading to speculation regarding just how large the package was — speculation Corbin did not address.

Ultimately, Corbin told the media that the entire experience has been: “slightly embarrassing, to be honest with you, because my first feeling is this has happened before. The last thing I want is for people to think, ‘Here we go again.’ I don’t have a sign over my head that says, ‘I need a job,’ because I don’t.” Corbin flirted with LSU and Auburn in the past three years and appeared to be attempting some damage control. Corbin acknowledged that he has an outstanding situation at Vanderbilt, evidenced by turning down NIKE money that would reportedly have doubled his current compensation package. Nevertheless, he came across as honest and open regarding his status as Vandy’s coach, his commitment to the program, and the fact that he will listen to offers if approached, as college baseball “is a performance driven business.” In this case, although Corbin entertained the Oregon offer, when asked if he was close to accepted he said, “It wasn’t close physically, emotionally or anything.”

Corbin also indicated what this blog suggested early last night. The presence of David Williams, Vandy’s Athletics Czar, is a key factor in the coach’s continued home in Nashville. So long as Williams is running the show, count on Corbin to turn down all offers outside of an opening at Clemson and in the Boston Red Sox organization. Corbin hinted that he has turned down more overtures than are public. Among those rumored are an immediate turn down of the University of Tennessee this past Spring.

Corbin’s press conference can be viewed at VUCommodores.com and Coach talks about his situation at Vanderbilt, the offer received from Oregon, the nature of Oregon’s program building and the departure of Chancellor Gordon Gee. Corbin also noted that recruiting coordinator Erik Bakich and pitching coach Derek Johnson have been approached and turned down opportunities at other schools.

To access the video of the press conference, you must register for free with VUCommodores.com’s all-Access video service, which also allows you to watch all home Commodore baseball games live.

In the early afternoon conference, Corbin did not address the status of then unsigned David Price, Dominic De la Osa and Jonathan White. All-American RF De la Osa and reserve OF White are returning to Vanderbilt for their Senior years. De la Osa will join fellow Rivals.com All-Americans Pedro Alvarez (3B) and Ryan Flaherty (SS) to form one of the most lethal middles of the lineup in baseball for the second year in a row. Alvarez and De la Osa currently rank #1 and #4 among returning players in career home runs.

Photo courtesy of Mike Rapp at VandySports.com.

D-Rays Set Record In Landing Big Fish

Mo Patton of the Tennessean is reporting that David Price will receive a record $11.25 Million package over six years, surpassing the “Prior” record of $10.4 Million over six years between Mark Prior and the Cubs. The son of two Vanderbilt alums, Prior also pitched in Nashville as a Freshman before transferring to USC for the remainder of his NCAA career.

Price will be introduced at a Friday press conference. Congratulations to the Devil Rays and David on coming together for this deal.
In other Signing Day news noted by Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com:
-Texas 3B Bradley Suttle signed with the Yankees
-NC State RHP Andrew Brackman signed with the Yankees
-Texas OF Kyle Russell will return to Austin for another year
-Texas A&M’s Blake Stouffer will return to school for a swan song
-Rice signee Carmen Angelini signed with the Yankees

Vandy’s Shea Robin picks up Sportsmanship Award

FROM CCBL Release
HYANNIS, Mass. – Strong-armed catcher Shea Robin (Vanderbilt) has joined six other Hyannis Mets alumni as a winner of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Daniel J. Silva Sportsmanship Award.

The Vanderbilt junior enjoyed a solid first season in the CCBL, appearing in 29 games as catcher for the Mets. He batted .229 with a home run and eight RBI. Robin’s performance both on and off the field made a strong, positive impression on those around him as his character and selfless attitude demonstrated the true definition of a student-athlete at his best.

Robin’s selection continues what is becoming a tradition – selecting a catcher as recipient of the Silva award.

Last year’s winner, Brewster second baseman Matt LaPorta (Florida), was actually a catcher in high school and early in his college career. He wound up being chosen by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 2007 MLB draft as a first baseman. Wareham catcher Joel Collins (South Alabama) was the award winner in 2005, following two other Hyannis catchers, Chris Robinson (Illinois) in 2004 and Richard Mercado (Arizona) in 2003. The position requires extreme concentration, discipline and leadership qualities and demands strong communication skills.

Other Hyannis Mets who have won the Silva award are Curtis Sapp (North Carolina State), 1999; Will Vespe (Miami), 1988; Jim Howard (Siena), 1983, and Brick Smith (Wake Forest), co-winner in 1980.

Combined with his strong arm and willingness to pitch out, Robin has been an integral part of the Mets’ late-season surge. They came within a whisker of making the post-season playoffs, only to be upset by last-place Wareham on the next-to-last day of the regular season. Those who have watched Robin in action have been impressed. “Shea has a strong arm and he is not afraid to throw out at any time, particularly to first and third base” noted John Garner, CCBL director of public relations and broadcasting.

Robin’s ambitious approach to the position has been a reflection of his strong character. Standing 5-11, the Woodland, Tex., native has always been a well-rounded athlete. He has also earned awards for his academic achievements, including a spot on the SEC 2007 academic honor roll, as well as Vanderbilt’s 2007 dean’s list.

Robin’s .311 batting average during the 2007 college baseball season was an important component of Vanderbilt’s surprise win at the SEC championship last spring. His roommate at Vandy is fellow catcher Andrew Giobbi, who spent this summer with the Falmouth Commodores.

Robin helped Vanderbilt hold the No. 1 spot in the USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches’ Poll for nine straight weeks and was selected as catcher for the SEC All-Tourney team.

Ticketed for the starting catcher’s job as he returns for his third year at Vanderbilt, Robin, a converted outfielder, has displayed determination and a desire to constantly improve, resulting in a smooth transition to the position of catcher.

Robin previously spent his college summers competing with the Waterloo Bucks of the Northwoods League. He has displayed a consistent batting average throughout his baseball career and has also been a reliable run-producer.

This summer, Robin’s sportsmanship has made a profound impact on those around him. “Shea is sociable and a hard worker,” says Mets General Manager John Howitt, “ He has many qualities you do not often see in someone his age.”

Robin has built strong relationships with teammates, coaches and umpires. He has displayed respectful conduct and a gracious attitude for the game of baseball while showing strong competitive spirit combined with good character — important attributes when being considered for this award.

Since 1973, the Daniel J. Silva Award has been one of the Cape League’s most prestigious honors. The league’s umpires are charged with the task of picking the winner. The umpires witness a player’s sportsmanship first-hand and are in a unique position to make the selection.

The award honors the memory of “Danny” Silva, the league’s first commissioner in the so-called “modern” era, and a former CCBL umpire-in-chief. Silva was posthumously inducted into the CCBL Hall of Fame in 2000.

Thanks to Joe Sherman and John Garner for the Cape Cod League information.

Corbin set to decide about Oregon

The College Baseball Blog is on top of this breaking news that Tim Corbin has, in fact, been heavily courted in the last week by the University of Oregon. Despite public denials, solid information but uncorroborated information indicates that Corbin has been offered the job and the opportunity to play with NIKE founder Phil Knight’s substantial checkbook. The offer almost certainly includes a massive paycheck, first-hand input on stadium construction with a budget of approximately $10 million and the veritable NIKE name. Furthermore, as Brett Hait of the Nashville City Paper notes, the departure of Chancellor Gordon Gee to Ohio State removed one of Corbin’s biggest supporters in the building of the Vanderbilt program into a national power. Nevertheless, Corbin has strong ties to the Vanderbilt community and advantages in place in Nashville. Among his closest friends is Basketball coach Kevin Stallings (whose son Jacob is believed to be the Commodores #1 recruiting target at Catcher). And Vice Chancellor and athletics czar David Williams remains the driving force behind improvements to Hawkins Field.Corbin has assembled a stellar and very well compensated assistant coaching staff led by recruiting coordinator Erik Bakich and former National Pitching Coach of the Year Derek Johnson. Corbin also values the ability to sell a globally elite education and a University endowment in excess of $3 billion that allows Vanderbilt to be among the most liberal universities in the nation for providing aid and grants to all students.

Corbin met with Vanderbilt officials Tuesday morning and is expected to withdraw his name or accept the job sometime in the coming days. In 2005 and 2006, Corbin was offered and turned down offers to take over Auburn and LSU’s programs after courtships. This past Spring, Corbin rebuffed interest from the University of Tennessee. Sources in the media (including Aaron Fitt of Baseball America and Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com) and in Nashville have indicated a belief that Corbin is more likely to remain a Commodore.

Draft Deadline: The new rules

When MLB changed it’s draft rules last October, there were two key points to note:

1) Teams that do not sign a top 2 Round pick will receive a comparable pick in the 2008 draft. If you fail to sign the 7th overall pick, you would receive pick 7A in 2008. For example, if Tampa fails to ink David Price and if Tampa finished last in the standings again, they would receive the first overall pick and then receive pick 1A (functionally, the second overall pick). This provides significant leverage by improving the team’s BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). A draftee is in the same spot as before, but it’s a little easier for the team to stick to slot guidelines knowing they would be forfeiting a whole lot less. Source and a list of the unsigned first rounders.

2) Everything must be done by midnight Wednesday. That means not just an agreement in principal. A signed agreement won’t even cut it unless the player has passed his physical. It’s hard to tell if a physical can be performed before a contract is signed, because all draft rules aren’t public, but which unsigned stars go in for a doctor’s visit tomorrow or Wednesday morning can probably be an indicator as to who’s close to closing their deal. Source.

Notable unsigned players as of yesterday include #1 Price (Tampa Bay), #2 Mike Moustakas (Kansas City Royals), #3 Josh Vitters (Chicago Cubs) and #5 Matt Weiters (Baltimore Orioles).

UPDATE: Yahoo Sports has written an article on this topic. It is available here.

Oregon comes calling


Oregon may not be earning any friends at OSU by talking to Pat Casey, but were there really any friendships there to begin with? Brian Meehan of the Oregonian weighed in on coaching search etiquette. You can read the column here. The article has some info on the folks who are on NIKE’s wish list (Dave Serrano of UC Irvine, Pat Casey of OSU and Dave Brundage of the Braves AAA team).

Meanwhile, Mo Patton of the Tennessean reported that Vanderbilt skipper Tim Corbin was out in Eugene over the weekend. You can read the article here. There is an uncorroborated rumor that Corbin was indeed offered the opportunity to restart the Duck program in 2009. Corbin flirted with LSU’s vacancy last year and Auburn’s two years prior. Corbin turned down both opportunities but noted that the interviewing process is a good means of information exchange in the building of programs. From a Vanderbilt fan perspective and as a massive supporter of Corbin, considering Oregon makes sense for two reasons: 1) the opportunity to learn about Oregon’s plans for building a program for the bottom up and 2) the challenge involved (turning Vandy around was a challenge in which Corbin has and is succeeding famously). On the other hand, Corbin has no connections to the Northwest. The X-Factor? The departure of Chancellor Gordon Gee (to OSU) removes one of the biggest promoters of Vanderbilt baseball. This blogger says: just another in a line of Corbin paying respect with a visit and bringing home ideas to build on the Commodore foundation. After all, is Corbin willing to give up the recruiting advantage he and recruiting coordinator Erik Bakich share with Stanford, Rice and Tulane that Will Kimmey documented two years ago?

Cuba ends Team USA’s summer

Courtesy of USA Baseball
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS— Cuba (8-0 WPT) ran the table on the rest of the World Port Tournament, eliminating Team USA (25-12, 4-4 WPT) from the finals and ending their summer, following a 5-1 victory. The Cubans will take on Chinese Taipei, who also beat the USA twice over the last 10 days, in the finals starting at 7 a.m. Eastern.

The Americans sent the go-ahead run to the plate in the eighth against reliever Yulieski Gonzalez with two outs, after putting two runners on with no outs against starter Arley Sanchez. Gonzalez got a hard lineout, followed by a strikeout and then walked Jordy Mercer (Oklahoma State) to load the bases. Gonzalez though got Roger Kieschnick (Texas Tech) to strikeout, part of a nine-pitch at-bat, to keep Cuba in front 4-1.

Gonzalez then pitched a scoreless ninth, after Cuba added a run in the top of the inning, for the two inning save.

Three Cuban home runs were more than enough for Sanchez, who tired after seven-plus innings. Sanchez allowed a single unearned run on seven hits, while striking out six and walking one. Sanchez allowed a walk and a single in the eighth, before being relieved by Gonzalez.

Mike Minor (5-2, Vanderbilt), took the loss, going the first four innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits, two of which that left the ballpark. Cody Satterwhite (Ole Miss) and Brett Hunter (Pepperdine) each gave up single runs in their relief appearances.

A one-out error by Danny Espinosa (Long Beach State) at short came back to haunt the Americans as Tournament RBI leader, Yosvani Peraza, hit a two-run homer to give Cuba a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Minor had a 33-pitch first inning.

A solo home run by Jose Julio Ruiz gave Cuba a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Hector Olivera’s solo home run off of Satterwhite in the seventh made it 4-0.

TEAM NOTES
Josh Romanski (San Diego) made a nice diving catch in the fourth, towards the line, to rob Alexei Bell of a hit… Cleanup hitter LF Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) missed the last five games, minus a pinch-hit performance yesterday, with a sore foot… 3B Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt) was the designated hitter the last four days due to a sore arm… Danny Espinosa (Long Beach State) ended the summer on an eight-game hit streak, while Jordan Danks (Texas) ended it on a seven-game streak.

WORLD PORT NOTES
Japan (0-7) and the Netherlands (3-4) close out the regularly scheduled tournament games tonight… Chinese Taipei (4-4), who finished yesterday, gained the tiebreaker with the USA yesterday, forcing the USA to win today to advance, based on number of wins against (2-0), if the USA and Taipei were tied and in runs allowed between the three tied teams, if the Netherlands were to finish in a three-way tie with the USA and Taipei (12 runs for Taipei to 13 runs for the USA to 21 runs for the Netherlands)… Games can be followed live on the internet at http://www.worldporttournament.nl/… Stats are available at: http://utopia.ision.nl/users/hwede/stats07/wpt07/ and under live scoring.

FINAL TEAM LEADERS FOR THE SUMMER
Hitting–Average (Alvarez-.315), Home Runs (Alvarez/Kieschnick-7), RBIs (Alvarez-30), Runs (Danks-37) Hits (Alvarez-40), Walks (Danks-25), Doubles (Smoak-10), Triples (Danks-2), Multi-Hit Games (Alvarez-12); Pitching—Wins (Minor-5-2), ERA-Reliever (Hunter-0.66), Saves (Satterwhite-4), ERA-Starter (Ross-0.82), Strikeouts (Ross-39), Appearances (Hunter-14)