#6 Vanderbilt Baseball 2017 Preview

Vanderbilt Commodores
Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
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Vanderbilt reached their 11th straight NCAA Tournament in 2016. However, it was a very short and a very quick trip. At home in Nashville, the Commodores lost their opener 15-1 to Xavier and followed it up with a 9-8 loss to Washington. Vanderbilt will want to quickly put that behind them and look ahead to another tournament berth in 2017. Reaching the NCAA Tournament again should not be much of a problem with the return of Kyle Wright. The junior pitcher will take over the Friday starting role for the departed Jordan Sheffield and will be a great ace for the rotation. Last season Wright went 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA. Patrick Raby earned some accolades as a freshman last season and should be ready to play a bigger role this year. He went 7-1 in 15 appearances.
2016: 43-19, 18-12
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tim Corbin
Key Departed Players:
Jordan Sheffield, P, 3.01 ERA, 101.2 IP, 113 SO
Ben Bowden, P, 3.51 ERA, 48.2 IP, 65 SO, 10 SV
Bryan Reynolds, .330 BA, 13 HR, 57 RBI
Tyler Campbell, .259 BA, 0 HR, 22 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Kyle Wright, P, 3.09 ERA, 93.1 IP, 107 SO
Patrick Raby, P, 2.61 ERA, 58.2 IP, 63 SO
Jeren Kendall, OF, .332 BA, 9 HR, 59 RBI
Ethan Paul, IF, .305 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI
Alonzo Jones, IF, .285 BA, 1 HR, 35 RBI
Jason Delay, C, .248 BA, 1 HR, 31 RBI
At the plate, Vanderbilt has plenty of talent too. The leader of the bunch is All-American Jeren Kendall. The centerfielder hit .332 with nine homeruns and 59 RBIs as a sophomore last season. Ethan Paul and Alonzo Jones will help make life very difficult for opposing pitchers after they both had superb freshmen campaigns. Paul hit .305 with four homers and 31 RBIs, while Paul hit .285 with 35 RBIs. Along with senior catcher Jason Delay, the Commodores have a lot of proven power in this lineup even with the loss of Bryan Reynolds and his 13 homeruns and 16 doubles. This will not be the most potent offense in the SEC by any means, but they are good enough to score a few runs and that is all they need to do with Wright and company on the mound.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#2 Jaren Kendall
#3 Kyle Wright