Vanderbilt baseball starts practice: 3 story lines – The Tennessean
Vanderbilt baseball opens practice for the 2017 season on Friday with another top-10 team touting major league talent.
Here are three story lines to know as the Commodores take the field in preparation for their Feb. 17 season opener at San Diego.
1. Vanderbilt has another top-10 draft duoÂ
Right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright and center fielder Jeren KendallÂ both areÂ projected as top-10 picks in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. Each has even been tabbed as a possible No. 1 overall pick. Touting such a duo is nothing new to Vanderbilt, which had No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson and No. 8 pick Carson Fulmer in 2015.
âIt was cool just to see how those guys handled it, what theyâve done, how they had to think and what they had to stay away from,â Wright said. âItâs a comforting feeling to see it done before.â
2. Left field is still under construction
A $12 million baseball facility is being built just beyond the left-field wall at Hawkins Field, and the construction zone fenced off about 100 feet of the playing field in left. Coach Tim Corbin said new turf will be installed and the field will be completely opened up by next week. But the new left-field wall is slightly rounded, so Corbin said early practices will be spent trying to figure out the carom of the ball off the new wall.
Coincidentally, left fielder is still a question mark. Senior Ro Coleman should start there early on, but heâs also a possibility in right field. Freshman J.J. Bleday is an early candidate to start in right.
3. Standout southpaws neededÂ
Wright (8-4, 3.09 ERA) and Patrick Raby (7-1, 2.61) will start the season in the weekend rotation, and Chandler Day (2-1, 4.26) is among the top candidates for the third spot. Collin Snider (4-0, 2.57) and Matt Ruppenthal (5-1, 2.33 ERA) are proven relievers. But all five pitchers are right-handers.
Corbin said heâs not sure which left-handers will get into the rotation because âsome of the lefties we have are younger â¦ but theyâre going to have to pitch.â Freshman Zach King, a 6-foot-6 former Spring Hill standout, is among the top young left-handers to get a shot.
Reach Adam Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @AdamSparks.
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