Tag Archives: SEC

Vandy Closes Out Early Signing Period with 14


NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Vanderbilt baseball announced the addition of 14 players for the 2008-2009 school year today.

The Commodores class includes six pitchers and eight position players with 12 high schoolers and two junior college transfers.

“We are excited about this class and its future potential,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “The class was compiled to help offset the loss of our upperclassmen to graduation and the draft. The incoming group are very talented players and we look forward to seeing them on campus next fall.”

The 14 member class is made up of student-athletes from nine different states, including three ranked as the top player in their state. Below is the list of signees with brief information on each. Rankings were taken from Perfect Game Crosschecker and Baseball America.

Players and Their Bios:

Jack Armstrong • RHP/1B • Jupiter, Fla. (Jupiter High)
Armstrong is the # 1 ranked righthander pitcher in Florida and one of the top two way players in the nation. At 6’7”, he is extrememly athletic and also a Division I caliber basketball player. He is rated the No. 28 player nationally by Perfect Game. His father, Jack Armstrong, pitched at the University of Oklahoma and in the major leagues from 1988-1994 with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Florida and Texas.

Will Clinard • RHP • Cross Plains, Tenn. (East Robertson High)
Clinard is a 6’4” righthanded pitcher that consistently throws 88-92 mph. He is the fourth ranked high school prospect in Tennessee and the 218 ranked prospect nationally by Perfect Game.

Jason Esposito • INF • Bethany, Conn. (Amity High)
Jason is the #1 ranked overall player in Connecticut and one of the top infield prospects in the nation. His best tools are his defense, arm strength, and hitting ability. He is the ranked as No. 63 in Baseball America’s Top 100 High School Prospects.

Grayson Garvin • LHP • Suwanee, Ga. (The Wesleyan School)
Garvin is the #1 ranked lefthanded pitcher in Georgia and one of the top pitching prospects in the country.  He has outstanding command, a 86-90mph fastball and a very good changeup. He is the No. 55 ranked high school prospect in the country by Baseball America.

Sonny Gray    • RHP    • Smyrna, Tenn (Smyrna High School)
Gray is the No. 6 ranked high school prospect nationally by Baseball America. He is a 5’10” and has a power arm that tops out around 96 mph and a dominant 84-86mph slider. He is considered by many experts as the most talented Tennessee High School prospect since David Price.

Andrew Harris • INF • Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell Academy)
Harris, the brother of current Commodore infielder Brian Harris and son of former Commodore Robert Harris, is a very athletic infielder and a physical left handed hitter.  He is extremely motivated, driven and his competitiveness will stand out immediately.

Joe Loftus • INF • Savage, Minn. (Academy of Holy Angels)
Loftus is the #1 ranked position player in Minnesota and one of the premier power hitters in the nation. In three years of high school, he has already broken Joe Mauer’s (current Minnesota Twins starting catcher) Minnesota High School home run record. Perfect Game lists him as the No. 147 player nationally.

Matt Marquis • OF • Annandale, N.J. (Immaculata High School)
Marquis is the #1 ranked position player in New Jersey and one of the top hitters in the country. His best tools are his extrememly advanced hitting ability and natural power. He is listed as No. 67 in Perfect Game’s Top High School prospects list.

Adam Milligan • OF • Savannah, Tenn. (Walters State CC)   
Milligan is a returning First Team Junior College All-American at Walters State. He has been drafted twice already by the Atlanta Braves (28th round in 2006, 27th in 2007) and is a physical specimen at 6’3” 235lbs. Last season he hit .395 with 13 homers, 18 doubles and 58 RBIs as a freshman.

Navery Moore • RHP • Franklin, Tenn. (Battle Ground Academy)
Moore was considered by many as the nation’s No. 1 high school prospect before undergoing arm surgery last spring. He is expected to return to action in the spring for BGA. He is listed as the No. 3 prospect in Tennessee and the No. 155 prospect nationally by Perfect Game.

Dylan Pratt • UTIL • Gray, Tenn. (Walters State CC)
Pratt, a freshman this season, is another 6’2” 220lb physical specimen from Walters State along with fellow signee Adam Milligan.  He is versatile and can catch and play in the outfield. Pratt was a first-team All-State selection a year ago after hitting .480 with eight homers and 41 RBI at Daniel Boone High.

Riley Reynolds • INF • Lee Summitt, Mo. (Blue Springs South High)
Reynolds is an extrememly athletic middle infielder from the Kansas City area. He has natural raw hitting ability with smooth defensive actions and will progress quickly as he adds more strength. He is listed as the No. 3 prospect in Missouri and the No. 157 prospect nationally by both Baseball America and Perfect Game.

Ryan Westmoreland • OF • Portsmouth, R.I. (Portsmouth High School)
Westmoreland is the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Rhode Island and the top position player prospect in New England. His best tools are speed, hitting ability, and arm strength. Baseball America has him at No. 113 nationally among high school players.

Corey Williams • LHP •  Huntsville, Ala. (Madison Academy)
Corey is a very polished lefthanded pitcher who has great command of three pitches. He is the No. 4 high school prospect in the state and is ranked No. 327 nationally. He went 9-2 as a junior for Madison Academy with a 1.89 ERA. He struck out 68 with 19 walks in 63 innings.

Doug Kroll’s top catchers

Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in with an article about the top catchers in the nation. He talks about Buster Posey of FSU being the top backstop in the nation. Posey is entering his junior season but only his second season behind the plate. The CBB will be checking out Posey this season when the Seminoles visit BC on April 11th-13th. Petey Paramore of Arizona State is listed in the second spot and should put up huge numbers in 2008 on one of the top offensive teams. Rounding out the top five is Tim Federowicz of UNC, Phil Disher of South Carolina, and Doug Hogan of Clemson. I am surprised that Ryan Lavarnway of Yale was not anywhere in his top five or on the players to watch list. The full article is available here.

LOIs coming in on Monster Vanderbilt Class

Sonny Gray.  Credit Mike Rapp, VandySportsMike Rapp of VandySports.com broke the media silence out of Vanderbilt regarding their highly regarded recruiting class. Vanderbilt has received 11 of the 15 anticipated Letters of Intent, none more impressive that Smyrna TN righty Sonny Gray.

In a class highlighted by pitching, Gray leads the way. The flame throwing All-State QB and TN Prep Athlete of the Year is rated by Baseball America as the 6th best HS Prospect in America at all positions. Joining Gray in the fold are a series of standouts including Aflac All-American righty Jack Armstrong, standout third sacker Jason Esposito of CT and NJ outfielder Matt Marquis.

Vanderbilt will likely issue a press release when their four final signatures come in.

CBB Top Position Players for 2008

Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt.
This hard-hitting, Junior third baseman from Horace Mann High School in the Bronx, New York is one of the pre-season favorites for the Golden Spikes Award and was the only 2007 Golden Spikes finalist to return in 2008. Alvarez is lethal at the plate, as a career .360 batter with an NCAA high 40 career home runs (among active players). In 2006, he hit .329 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI en route to earning National Freshman of the Year. In 2007, he improved to .386, 18, 68, which leading Vanderbilt to a number 1 ranking for the majority of the season. Alvarez is deadly from the left side of the plate and is protected in Coach Tim Corbin’s lineup by being sandwiched between another pair of returning all-America players, RF Dominic De la Osa (.378, 20, 62) and SS Ryan Flaherty (.381, 4, 57). Alvarez is also a spectacular fielder with cat-like reflexes and a cannon arm; however, Pedro’s flair for the dramatic defensive play also leads to his fair share of errors. Those errors and a tendency to strikeout too often will be the items Alvarez looks to improve in his swan song season.

Dominic de la Osa, Vanderbilt
Hitting in the coveted “Mickey Mantle spot” (in front of Pedro Alvarez, as Mantle did when Roger Maris hit 61), Dominic de la Osa exploded in 2007, proving to be one of the top speed-power guys in the nation. Entering last season with a .300 average and 16 home runs in solid, if unspectacular Freshman and Sophomore years, “of the Bear” set career highs with a .378 average, 65 runs, 23 doubles, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. A consensus first team All-America, de la Osa was expected to be a first day pick in the MLB draft before plummeting to the 10th round and the Tigers. An abysmal summer on the Cape left de la Osa with more to prove and he returned to man Rightfield as a Senior for Coach Corbin.

Justin Smoak, South Carolina
Joining Brett Wallace and Yonder Alonso as the elite first basemen in College Baseball, Smoak enters his Junior year in second place on the career homerun list among active players. As a Freshman, he hit .303 with 17 homeruns and 63 RBI. Smoak improved on those numbers last year, hitting .317 with 19 homeruns and another 63 RBI. Most impressive, however, is Smoak’s patience, with 94 walks against 79 strikeouts. The switch-hitting lefty is also thrifty with the glove, sporting a career .994 fielding percentage. Smoak is perfectly positioned for a true, breakout season in a good hitter’s ballpark.

Yonder Alonso, Miami

Alonso was named the top first baseman in the Cape Cod League in 2007. He hit an outstanding .338 for the summer after hitting .376 with 18 homers during the 2007 season for the Hurricanes. Alonso is a patient hitter as he walked 64 times during the collegiate season and 36 times in the CCBL. He only struck out 56 times combined. He needs to work on his defense as he is limited to playing only first base. He should develop more power before getting drafted in 2008 as he will become stronger and a better hitter. Alonso should be able to compete for many National Player of the Year awards in 2008 in addition to conference accolades.

Buster Posey, Florida State

Posey is one of the College Baseball Blog’s favorite players. He moved to catcher before the 2007 season as the Seminoles had an opening behind the plate. Buster hit .382 with 3 homers and 65 RBI at FSU while spending his summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox where he batted .281 as he struggled to adjust to the Cape Cod League pitching. One scout told us that Posey improved his draft stock with the move behind the plate but needs to refine his catching skills as he is raw at calling games and blocking pitches. Posey should be one of the top catchers in the ACC competing with Tim Federowicz for conference awards. The CBB will be seeing Posey this season when FSU comes to Boston College for a three game set. The CBB expects Posey to be drafted in the top five rounds of the 2008 draft.

Brett Wallace, Arizona State

Wallace led the Sun Devils back to the College World Series in 2007 where he hit an outstanding .404 for the season while hitting 16 home runs. He won the Pac 10 Triple Crown as was named the Player of the Year in the conference. Brett spent the summer of 2007 with the USA National team where he competed in the Pan-Am Games and the World Port Tournament. He hit .312 with two homers and 26 RBI for the summer. Wallace is a big guy as he is listed at 6’1 245 pounds so he struggles in the field and will likely be stuck at first base in MLB or moved to DH if he is put in the American League.

Thanks to NewYorkDore for helping out with some of the previews.

Alabama announces 2008 schedule!

The University of Alabama announced its 2008 baseball schedule today, which features 33 games in the state of Alabama and 20 games against teams that played in the 2007 NCAA Regionals, Super Regionals and College World Series.

The recent changes to the college baseball schedules have forced teams to play more games in a shorter period of time, creating five-game weeks for most teams throughout the country. Alabama is no different and the complexity of the schedule will have the Tide playing 26 road games this season, the most under head coach Jim Wells and the most by UA since playing 26 road games during the 1994 season.

“It was a very challenging schedule to put together due to the change in the format of the season,” Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. “First of all, we play in the toughest league in the country, then on top of that to have to play two midweek games makes it even more difficult.

“The NCAA’s uniform start date for all teams is Feb. 22, so we lost two weekends of baseball that we used to have,” Wells added. “I think we have a good schedule and we are playing some really good teams. We are on the road quite a bit this year, but most of the road games are in the state of Alabama against some really good in-state teams. We are excited to be going to Florence, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Jacksonville to showcase the Crimson Tide baseball program. I think that is a good thing.”

The Crimson Tide will play 30 home games this season, including 15 non-conference games and 15 SEC games.

The non-conference home schedule includes series with Cal Poly (Feb. 22-24), Youngstown State (March 7-9) and New Orleans (March 18-19). The Crimson Tide will also play single games against Troy (March 5), Samford (March 12), Jacksonville State (March 25), UAB (April 1), Mississippi Valley State (April 8), SE Louisiana (April 9) and Lipscomb (April 22).

Alabama’s 2008 SEC home schedule features defending SEC Champion Vanderbilt (March 21-23), Ole Miss (March 28-30), Mississippi State (April 18-20), Auburn (April 25-27) and Florida (May 9-11).

Press Release


Vanderbilt Fall Series Recap

The Vanderbilt Commodores finished up the Black and Gold Scrimmage over the weekend with the Gold team winning Game 1 by a score of 7-4. The Gold team was led by All-American Pedro Alvarez who went 2-4 including a homer with 2 RBI. Nick Christiani started the game for the Gold team going five strong innings while only allowing two hits to get the victory. Brett Jacobsen started for the Black squad and lasted five innings while giving up three runs on six hits. The leading hitter for the Black team was Parker Hanks who went 2-4. Game 2 was won by the Black team 7-4. The team was led by a very strong pitching performance from Mike Minor who pitched five no-hit innings while allowing only one walk to dominate the Gold lineup. Parker Hanks led the Black team again with three hits and three RBI in five at-bats. Dominic de la Osa led the Gold team in a losing effort by going 2-3. The final and deciding game on Sunday was won by the Gold team 6-2. The team was led on offense by Gabe Ortiz who went 2-4 with 3 RBI. We have linked to interviews and recaps from each day of the Fall Series below.

Game 1: Recap
Game 1″ Box Score
Game 1: Photo Gallery

Game 1: Interview with Nick Christiani

Game 2: Recap
Game 2: Box Score
Game 2: Interview with Tim Corbin

Game 3: Recap
Game 3: Box Score
Game 3: Interview with Tim Corbin

Game 3: Interview with De la Osa

Fall Ball Update for October 24th

Here is the CBB Fall Ball update for October 24th. Click on the links below for the full articles.

Utah: Wrapping up Fall workouts
Wright State: Fall World Series Update
Vanderbilt: Feinberg Interview
UNLV: Beuerlein Right in Line
Washington: Fall World Series Update
Oregon State: Fall World Series Update from Daily Barometer
LSU: Gold takes Game 2 of Intersquad Series from Daily Reveille

Ole Miss Fall Checkup

Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com checks in on Mike Bianco’s Rebel workouts in the Fall. The article (found here) includes Bianco’s reaction to Ole Miss’ historical bad luck in the Super Regionals and the joys of added depth.

After a Supers exit to Arizona State last year, this member of the College Baseball Blog sees redemption for the Rebs (no, the South isn’t rising again) as the SEC team to beat. Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite will be the closest thing to this year’s version of the David Price – Casey Weathers combo that Vanderbilt wore to a #1 ranking. Add in solid pitching and positional depth, and the Rebs are well positions to be the #1 seed in the SEC West when the conference descends on Hoover.

Tennessee Announces 2008 Baseball Schedule

Tennessee head baseball coach Todd Raleigh released the team’s 2008 schedule. In addition to the traditional gauntlet of Southeastern Conference opponents, the Volunteers also will square off against four non-conference teams who advanced to NCAA Regional play last season.

Of the 56 scheduled regular-season games, 16 will be against 2007 NCAA Tournament teams. A total of 13 teams on UT’s 2008 schedule turned in a top-64 finish in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) last year.

“This is a good schedule with some really strong opponents, though it’s still not what I’d ultimately like for it to be,” Raleigh said. “We’ve given up some home games this year for the sake of securing multiple home dates with those opponents in the future. When our stadium renovations are complete, I’d like to play close to 40 home games while increasing our strength of schedule across the board.

“Most of this year’s schedule was set before our staff arrived, so our hands were tied in many instances for this first year. With that said, it will still be a challenging season. We’re working extremely hard this fall to prepare.”

Friday, Feb. 22—the new NCAA-mandated uniform start date that will create a true national “Opening Day” for college baseball —will provide Big Orange fans with their first glimpse of the Vols, as UT begins a three-game homestand against Morehead State at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. It is the first of 33 regular-season home games.

The Vols’ pre-conference schedule is highlighted by a return trip to Houston for the Minute Maid College Classic. Tennessee is slated to face Big 12 Conference stalwarts Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma at the event, which takes place at Minute Maid Park, home stadium of the Houston Astros. The Vols also took part in the 2005 Minute Maid College Classic, posting a 1-2 record.

Due to the NCAA’s new start date, there are only three weekends of play before UT enters the conference portion of its schedule. Tennessee’s home SEC series feature matchups against LSU (March 14-16), Florida (April 4-6), Alabama (April 11-13), Vanderbilt (May 2-4) and Kentucky (May 9-11).

The Vols will venture out on the road to battle conference foes Georgia (March 21-23), Auburn (March 28-30), Arkansas (April 18-20) and Mississippi State (April 25-27) before closing out the regular season at South Carolina (May 15-17).

Ole Miss is the only team UT will not face during the 30-game regular-season SEC schedule.

Tennessee has home-and-home series set with ETSU, Furman and Middle Tennessee, non-return road games at Lipscomb, and Tennessee Tech and exclusive home dates with Morehead State, James Madison, Eastern Michigan, Presbyterian College, USC Upstate, Charlotte, Appalachian State, Western Carolina and Belmont.

The Vols’ longest homestand is a nine-game stretch from March 5-16. Tennessee will play four straight road games on five different occasions. And six weeks of the 12-week regular-season schedule will feature multiple midweek games.

The 2008 SEC Tournament is set for May 21-25 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. NCAA Regional play takes place May 30-June 2, with NCAA Super Regionals slated for June 6-9. The NCAA College World Series runs June 14-25 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.

Fox Sports Net South/SEC-TV has announced that it will televise two Tennessee home games. The Vols’ April 5 contest against Florida and May 3 game against Vanderbilt both will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net South.

SportSouth also will televise a number of UT home games, which will be announced at a later date.

Tennessee Press Release

Commodores open with Beavers, ASU in 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Vanderbilt opens the 2008 baseball season against two-time defending champion Oregon State as head coach Tim Corbin released the schedule today. The Commodores will take on four teams that played in the College World Series a year ago and 11 teams that made it into the NCAA tournament.

“I think this is a challenging schedule right off the bat with two teams that made it to Omaha last season including the national champion, ” said Corbin. “The SEC schedule is always tough and we have several midweek games against teams that made it to the NCAA tournament as well. We have an experienced team returning and look forward to the challenge.”

The season opener against the Beavers will be played on Feb. 22 at Arizona State’s tournament in Tempe, Ariz. VU will also take on 2007 CWS participant Arizona State (Feb. 23) and Miami of Ohio (Feb. 24) in the tourney. Vanderbilt starts a 15-game homestand against Evansville on Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. VU hosts Kansas, Iowa and Xavier in the Music City Classic Feb. 29-March 2. The Commodores will play a four-game series with Illinois-Chicago starting on Thursday, March 6 and ending on March 9. The Flames won the Horizon League last spring and participated in the NCAA tournament.

VU hosts another NCAA tourney team in Western Carolina (March 11-12) before opening Southeastern Conference play against South Carolina (March 14-16) at Hawkins Field. Louisville, a team that advanced to its first ever College World Series last June, comes to Nashville for a single game on March 18. Vanderbilt will close out the homestand against Lipscomb on March 19.

VU will make five SEC road trips in 2008, starting with Alabama on March 21-23. The Commodores will then return home for midweek games against Belmont (March 25) and Middle Tennessee (March 26), before hosting Arkansas (March 28-30). Saturday’s game against the Razorbacks will be televised on Fox Sports Net at 3 p.m. CT.

Eleven road games are on the docket in April starting with a contest at Middle Tennessee (April 2). Vanderbilt will then take the first of back-to-back trips to Mississippi against Ole Miss (April 4-6). The Commodores will host Western Kentucky (April 8) and Austin Peay (April 9) in midweek action before traveling to Starkville, Miss., to take on 2007 CWS participant Mississippi State (April 11-13). Two road contests against Lipscomb (April 15) and Western Kentucky (April 16) precede a three-game series against Auburn (April 18-20) at Hawkins Field. The Commodores close out April with games at Austin Peay (April 22) and Belmont (April 23), and at home against Kentucky (April 25-27).

VU will open May with a three-game set at rival Tennessee (May 2-4), with the Saturday game set for television on Fox Sports Net. The Commodores will then take on Memphis at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tenn., on May 6. The Tigers were one of two area teams to play at the NCAA Nashville Regional along with Austin Peay last June. Tennessee Tech (May 7) and a series against Georgia (May 9-11) closes out the regular season home campaign. Vanderbilt will take on Florida (May 15-17) in Gainesville in a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series as eligible teams will have an extra day to prepare for the Southeastern Conference tournament (May 21-25) in Birmingham, Ala.

NCAA Regionals (May 30-June 2) and Super Regionals (June 6-9) will be played at school host sites, while the College World Series (June 14-25) is set for Omaha, Neb.

The full Commodores schedule is available here.