Dans goes off, Sonny, David, Tyler superb, further thoughts on our terrific 2019 team

Young man, you had a night! Dansby Swanson was 3 for 5 last night against the Philadelphia Phillies with 2 homers, a double and 5 Ribeyes in a 12-6 Atlanta Braves victory.

With his team down 4-0 in the bottom of the 1st, the Braves shortstop launched one 404 feet over the right central field wall for a solo shot to get his team going. The Braves caught up to the Phillies and held a 9-6 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. During the comeback rally, Dans also doubled in the left field corner to knock in another run. The Braves had a 9-4 lead, but the Phillies made it interesting at 9-6 in the bottom of the 8th.

With one out and 2 runners on, the great Swanson crushed another ball over the left central field wall 391 feet to put the lead in comfortable shape at 12-6. The Braves got’em out in the 9th and moved to 52-36 on the season and in first place of the NL East by 6 games.

Dansby is now hitting .274, really getting that average up, he’s a .300 major league hitter to me the way he could hit at VU, and he now has 17 home runs and 57 Ribeyes. At this pace, Dans could hit 35 homers and drive in 110. It’s phenomenal what the great one is doing. Braves at home tonight versus the Marlins at Sun Trust Park. This is a loveable team. Everything about them is fun to watch. They’re becoming a serious factor to make a deep October run. Dans is a big part of it. Very proud of the man.

Sonny Gray pitched a spectacular game Wednesday Night in the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Sonny went 8 gave up just 4 hits, 0 runs with 1 walk and 12 K’s. Sonny threw 111 pitches with 76 for strikes against 35 balls, more than a 2:1 strike to ball ratio which is a baseline for winning games. Sonny was awesome hitting 93,94,95 and his breaking ball was very strong. He threw some good cutters as well. Sonny now 5-5 on the season with a 3.59 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, solid, 33 walks and 103 strikeouts. The Reds have just been a Fountain of Resurgence for Sonny. His pitching coach, Derek Johnson, was his pitching coach at Vanderbilt. And Coach Johnson is outstanding. Sonny is really in a good place. His team is pretty good too. The Reds, which took 3 of 4 from the NL Central leading Brewers, are 41-44 and just 4 games back of the Brewers and the Cubs in the NL Central. This team is making some noise. Derek Johnson has made a major impact on the pitching staff. The Reds can really pitch. Coach Johnson is a phenomenally talented coach. I could see him becoming a big league manager one day. It’s really working well for Sonny.

Tyler Beede pitched spectacularly well for the San Francisco Giants in their 10-4 victory at San Diego Tuesday Night. Tyler went 7, gave up just 4 hits, 1 run with 0 walks and 4 K’s. Tyler threw 100 pitches with 63 for strikes against 37 balls. He was hitting 95 routinely and didn’t walk anyone, which is huge for Tyler. Tyler and Sonny remind me of each other. They both have awesome stuff, and if they’ve got their control down during a game, they are tough. Tyler moved to 2-3 on the season with a 5.64 ERA, but 2 of his last 4 starts have been tremendous. Against the Dodgers on June 17th, Tyler went 6, gave up 3 hits, 1 run, with 5 walks and 7 K’s. But his control has been much better lately. Like where Tyler is trending and the Giants are playing better.

David Price had another outstanding night for the Red Sox, which are not playing their best baseball right now and trail the Yankees by 8 or 9 games in the AL East. But David keeps delivering. He just needs some help from the rest of the pitching staff. In a 10-6 victory @ Toronto Tuesday Night, Dave went 6, gave up 4 hits, 2 runs with 4 walks and 7 K’s. A lot more walks than David normally gives up, but he really settled down after some early trouble and helped pitch his team to victory. David is now 6-2 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, 19 walks and 89 strikeouts. He’s been phenomenal for his team.

Mike Yaz and Bryan Reynolds are doing great things for the SF Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates respectively, and Mike Minor didn’t have his best outing on Monday, but he’s been spectacular this season. Walker Buehler got roughed up a little bit in Colorado, but that’s Colorado, a mile above sea level where a pop up to left becomes a homer. Walker did some good things in the game though. Trust the man completely. Tony Kemp still a key substitute for the Astros and Curt Casali playing a lot of catcher for the Reds. Curt doing a good job. Would like to see his bat get going some more though.

Our National Champions

A lot of fans and pundits have commented that this 2019 team is the best team we’ve ever had. By the results, SEC Regular season champions, SEC Tournament champions, Regional, Super Regional champions, 13 players drafted by MLB, and finishing the job and winning the national championship, this team makes a pretty strong case that it is and was the best team we’ve ever had. But I like what Corbs said at the Awards ceremony last Friday at McGugin. Corbs said that 2003, the first year we made it to the SEC Tourney in a while, led to 2005, our first super regional. 2005 led to the signing of David Price, a game changer for our program, and that led to 2007, where we won the SEC regular season and tournament titles with Price, Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty. Price was the first overall player selected in the MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays and I’d say he’s had a phenomenal big league career with more to come. He’s given so much back to Vanderbilt financially and emotionally. He’s been a stellar representative of the program.

2007 led to 2010, another super regional. 2010 led to 2011 our first trip to the CWS. 2011 led to 2013 when we finished 26-3 in the SEC and made another Super Regional. 2013 led to 2014, and our first national title. In 2015 we got there again only to lose heartbreakingly to Virginia, which we had defeated the year before for the national title. 2015-16 with Ethan Paul, Stephen Scott, Julian Infante, a number one recruiting class, had the devastating tragedy of losing the great Donny Everett. Despite the tragic and heartbreaking loss of a beloved teammate, Ethan, Stephen, Julian, Walker Grisanti and Patrick Raby hung in there, and with help from JJ Bleday, Austin Martin, Kumar Rocker, Tyler Brown, Mason Hickman, Pat DeMarco, Philip Clarke, Harrison Ray, Ty Duvall etc. this 2019 team put together one of the finest seasons in college baseball history. It was clearly a historically great team. So that’s my opinion. This may have well been the best team we’ve ever had and measuring them by their achievements, you’d have to say that. But so many great players and great teams led to this season. What a a run Tim Corbin has put together at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt baseball is the premiere program in the country, and it’s kind of by a fairly wide margin. Corbs has Austin, Kumar, Tyler, Mason, Harrison, the talented Ethan Smith and some good young talent returning next season, so we’ve got another shot at being really special. What an extraordinary coach and what extraordinary players we have had and have. It’s quite a ride we’re on and extraordinarily satisfying. This is something we can hang onto for a while. Forever actually. And our program is going to keep producing sensational results the way Corbs recruits and coaches. He’s got the No.1 class for 2019. If we can keep most of them from the Major Leagues, the freshman have until the first day of classes in August to decide if they want to sign a contract or play at Vanderbilt, then we’ll have an influx of more superb material setting us up for a tremendous 2020 season. We should have very strong pitching next season, and if some of the younger guys, who have elite talent, can play well, we’ve got a chance to be exceptional. Can’t wait for next season, but going to enjoy this one some more. Just deep satisfaction and contentment right now.

I’ll have some football stuff next week and more MLB guys stuff. Coach Mason is recruiting well for 2020 and we’ve got some graduate transfers who are going to be very good players for us this season. I’ll talk more about the team next week along with the 2019 freshman class along with the transfers and the guys in the 2020 class.

Have an awesome weekend.