The Stanford weekend rotation performed admirably in the Bloomington Regional and certainly is worth watching this weekend. However, Vanderbilt has the edge with Tyler Beede, Walker Buehler and Carson Fulmer leading the charge.
Beede has command issues at times, but will sit 92-94, touching 95 and 96 mph on the radar gun with his fastball. Beede also utilizes a low-80s changeup that includes some cutting/fading action at times, while he typically has a calm, poised, approach. Meanwhile, Fulmer has an unorthodox motion and a big-time arm with a fastball consistently in the mid-90s. Fulmer is a high effort pitcher who possesses a legitimate three-pitch mix with good secondary stuff. Meanwhile, Buehler is yet another power arm for the Commodores. He was consistently 92-95 with his fastball in the SEC tournament a few weeks ago, while he had trouble commanding his secondary stuff at times.
Stanford’s weekend rotation might not enter the weekend with a lot of fanfare, but there’s a lot of talent in this group. Stanford righthanded pitcher Cal Quantrill is one of the nation’s elite freshman arms with a mature, poised, approach and a big-time fastball and good overall stuff. Meanwhile, the Cardinal have a perfect veteran in the middle of the rotation in lefthander John Hochstatter, while another righty, freshman Brett Hanewich is another arm who can reach back velocity-wise with a fastball in the low-90s. Logan James is another quality arm to watch for Mark Marquess' club.
Much like the starting rotation, the Cardinal has some talented arms to watch at the back-end of games. However, once again, we're giving the overall edge to Vanderbilt in this category.
Stanford has a big-time arm in righthanded pitcher A.J. Vanegas. Vanegas battled injuries last season, but has come back strong this season with a plus-90s fastball and good overall stuff. Vanegas was clutch in relief against Indiana last weekend, going five-plus innings, and has a 2.33 ERA in 38 2/3 innings, while Marcus Brakeman (3.63) and Chris Castellanos (3.75) are other talented arms to watch, among others.
To no surprise, the Commodores have some power arms to watch this weekend. Righthanded pitcher Adam Ravenelle has a live arm and sits low-to-mid 90s with a 1.31 ERA in 20 appearances and 34 1/3 innings of work, whlie young Hayden Stone has established himself as a premier arm in his first season with a 1.87 ERA in 43 1/3 innings. Though he didn't look great in the SEC tournament a couple of weeks ago, Vandy reliever Brian Miller does have the ability to come into games and shut teams down. Miller specializes in the slider and has a 1.97 ERA in 27 innings and 32 innings of work this season.
Vanderbilt wasn't great offensively in the SEC tournament a couple of weeks ago, but responded last weekend with a pair of good offensive performances. One thing I really like about this VU club is the athleticism and versatility at the plate.
Vandy enters the weekend hitting .280 as a team with second baseman Dansby Swanson (.335) leading the charge. Meanwhile, freshman outfielder Bryan Reynolds is an electric player who has made a quick and easy transition to Division I Baseball, while shortstop Vince Conde is a sure-handed defender who has a good bat, too, with a .301 average and 10 stolen bases. Zander Wiel has some gap power and power potential for the Commodores, while third baseman Xavier Turner has a .284 batting average with 15 doubles. Aggressiveness is a key trait of this club, as evidenced by six players in the starting lineup having double-digit stolen bases.
For the Cardinal, athletic Austin Slater leads the offense with a .352 batting average, two homers and 40 RBIs, while Zach Hoffpauir has gotten some big hits down the stretch. Alex Blandino is the leader of this offense with big-time raw power and 12 homers, along with 42 RBIs, while Danny Diekroeger is a quality, seasoned, bat. Also keep an eye on Wayne Taylor (.240) and Tommy Edman (.258). Both players have struggled offensively at times this season, but rose to the occasion in the Bloomington Regional with homers.
Stanford has a very quality club from a defensive standpoint, but color me a big fan of what Vanderbilt has defensively in the infield.
Vanderbilt third baseman Xavier Turner tends to be a vacuum cleaner over at third base, while shortstop Vince Conde is one of the smoothest players in college baseball. Dansby Swanson is athletic and can get to most balls, while the outfield is in good hands, too. Vandy can be very fun to watch from a defensive standpoint.
“Those arms are Stanford are pretty good. You could tell they were going to be very good when we played them. Cal Quantrill and all of those weekend starter are good, Cal is a big guy, and they were all hard-nosed. That’s what really stood out to me. You could just tell they had a bright future ahead of them. Austin Slater was a good hitter and runner, Blandino has big-time power and is just a dangerous player. Tommy Edman is a good player, too. I remember thinking his swing was a little inside and out, and he let it get real deep. At first, it seemed like he wasn’t a guy with a lot of power, but my opinion of him changed throughout the weekend. Overall, I just knew this team was young when we played them. So, it was either they were going to blossom and finish this season strong or this was going to be a very good team in the future. “
“You start at the front with these guys with Tyler Beede and Carson Fulmer. Those are two big, big arms. I truly think Fulmer, at this point, is the better college pitcher of the two. He has a legitimate three-pitch mix and is athletic, too. Bryan Reynolds really seems to make them go offensively. He’s a freshman and he’s going to be an outstanding hitter for them throughout his career. Zander Wiel is a very good player, but the big thing with Vandy overall is they’ll run you out of the building if you can’t control the running game. You’re not going to score a whole lot of runs off Beede and Fulmer, though, Beede will give you some opportunities to score because of his command. But again, this team is all about slowing down their running game.”