Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
The Vanderbilt Commodores enjoyed the most successful season in program history in 2011, reaching the College World Series for the first time. The CWS semi-finalists were outstanding in all phases of the game. Vandy ranked 11th nationally in batting average (.315), 17th in home runs (51) and fourth in ERA (2.44). Head Coach Tim Corbin led a group that saw an SEC record 12 players picked in the 2011 MLB draft. Eleven signed pro contracts. A club that tied for the SEC regular season title brings back twenty Commodores for 2012. This experienced group is joined by the top rated recruiting class in the country that includes 12 freshmen and one JUCO transfer.
2011: 54-12, 25-11
2011 Postseason: CWS (Eliminated by two losses to Florida)
Coach: Tim Corbin 10th Season
Shortstop Anthony Gomez led his team with 96 hits. The senior contributed 48 RBI and was solid up the middle in the field. Sophomore Tony Kemp earned Freshman All-American honors for his production in his rookie season. Kemp played 65 of Vanderbilt’s 66 games, hit .329, collected 83 hits and drove in 34. Sophomore infielder and designated hitter Conrad Gregor hit .358 last season. Outfielder Connor Harrell had 22 extra base hits including nine home runs and the junior knocked in 36. Second baseman Riley Reynolds hit .331 with 55 hits and Mike Yastrzemski hit .296 with 42 RBI.
Sophomores T.J. Pecoraro and Kevin Ziomek are the only returning pitchers that made starts for the Commodores great 2011 run. Together they made 11. Pecoraro, a righty, made 17 appearances, finished 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA. He struck out 41 in just 39 innings of work. Ziomek, a left hander, took the hill 27 times in 2011, 18 in relief. He was 3-0, also with a 1.59 ERA, fanning 47 in 45 innings. Red shirt junior Will Clinard, a 2011 38th round draft pick, returns. The righty came out of the bullpen 35 times last season. He struck out 48 in 39 innings and posted a 2.75 ERA.
Who to Watch:
Five of the incoming freshmen were selected in the 2011 MLB draft. Highly decorated freshman Tyler Beede headlines the top recruiting class in the country. Selected by the Blue Jays, he joins the Commodores as the only 2011 MLB first round draft pick that did not go to the pros. Beede was selected as a High School All-American by ESPN Rise, Louisville Slugger and five others. Also picked by the Blue Jays, John Norwood, an outfielder, comes in from Seton Hall Prep. Three of the Vanderbilt freshmen were picked in the 44th round of the draft. Phillip Preifer set pitching records in Tennessee at Farragut High. The southpaw was 46-4 with 465 strikeouts as a prep star. Drafted by the Rangers, he was also a High School All-American. Adam Ravenelle, a 44th round pick of the Yankees, led his squad to the 2011 Massachusetts State Title. The 6’2 right hand pitcher was 2011 ESPN Boston All-State and will add another strong arm to the Commodore bullpen. Outfielder Nevin Wilson was selected by the Phillies. The Chaparral High (Scottsdale, AZ) product was also named High School All-American in 2011. Chris Harvey graduated from Germantown Academy a year early to enroll in Vanderbilt. The 6’5” catcher was a 2011 High School All-American.
Coach Corbin will look to build on last season’s success. The Commodores bring back plenty of offense in the sticks of Gomez, Gregor, Kemp and Reynolds. Key pieces of a defense that had a fielding percentage of .973 in 2011 are still in place. The addition of the newcomers should bolster the pitching staff replacing the numerous draftees. Vanderbilt will be at the top of the SEC again, reach the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season and have an excellent chance to return to the CWS.
Projected Postseason: NCAA
At Bats: Anthony Gomez, IF, 286
Hits: Anthony Gomez, IF, 96
Home Runs: Connor Harrell, OF, 9
RBIs: Anthony Gomez, IF, 48
Runs: Anthony Gomez, IF, 61
Stolen Bases: Mike Yastrzemski, OF, 23
Wins: T.J. Pecoraro, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Kevin Ziomek, P, 45.1
Strikeouts: Will Clinard, P, 48
Saves: Will Clinard, P, 3
Madness 2012 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#17 Tyler Beede