For the first time in years Tim Corbin and the VandyBoys won’t finish the season at TD Ameritrade Park, recently renamed Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, NE.
It does feel quite odd, or one could say disappointing, that the Commodores aren’t playing deep into June at the “Greatest Show on Dirt”. It tells you how far the program, led by Tim Corbin, has come when outsiders expect the squad from West End to be playing at the College World Series year in and out.
Anyhow, the 2022 campaign was simply just a down year for the VandyBoys, whether fans want to admit it or not. Inconsistency throughout the offensive lineup, regression with veteran players, youth and inexperience on the mound, and shaky infield defense were just some of the key factors that led to uncharacteristic results this season for the revered Vanderbilt baseball program.
The disappointing conclusion to the regular season left it in the hands of the NCAA selection committee where the Dores would start their road to Omaha.
The Dores would be eventually sent out West to the Corvallis Regional, hosted by Oregon State. The VandyBoys dropped the final game of the Regional to the Beavers after winning three prior elimination games. This was the first time the Commodores wouldn’t reach at least a Super Regional since 2016. An early exit and an extended offseason for the first time in years.
Speaking of the offseason, it has already been quite a busy one, in terms of the transfer portal. It wasn’t a couple days after the Dores dropped their final game to Oregon State until Vanderbilt had a player enter the portal. In fact, we are just ten days into this offseason, and there are already five Commodores from the 2022 team that have entered their names. Who are the five that have entered the transfer portal? Well…
Arguably the biggest contributor to depart from Vanderbilt via the portal so far. Little spent two seasons with the Commodores after enrolling early and joining the team in January of 2021. As a true freshman was a key part of the VandyBoys rotation behind Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter a season ago. He spent most of his sophomore campaign as an anchor in the back of the bullpen after off-the-field issues kept him from having a larger role. Little will have one more season wherever he lands before being eligible for the 2023 MLB draft next July.
Spent three seasons with the VandyBoys primarily as the starting shortstop throughout his career. Broke out during his Sophomore season as the everyday shortstop while hitting .252 with 16 Homers and 52 RBIs. However, Young struggled brutally in 2022, hitting just .207 with his total offensive numbers significantly down from a season ago. Many MLB draft experts expect Young to be selected in the fairly higher rounds of the MLB draft next month and is expected to sign. If he returns to college, he will pursue another destination via the portal.
Spent two seasons with the Commodores. Primarily a reserve infielder that never really got a chance to shine as an everyday guy. Started to see some action in the middle of this season, mainly in the DH role, but Casas’s season was eventually cut short after having season-ending knee surgery.
Donye Evans and Brett Hansen
Both spent two seasons with Vanderbilt. Most appearances were used as deep bullpen roles in non-conference games. Evans started to get more active as the season went on, but ultimately doesn’t yet have the control it takes to be a late-game reliever.
The new key to having a productive offseason in collegiate sports is having success in the transfer portal. This is a must if Tim Corbin and company want to keep up with the times we’re in and continue to compete for CWS titles year in and year out. Tim Corbin hasn’t ever given VandyBoys fans a reason not to trust him, so why shouldn’t we? It will be an interesting story to keep up with over the next several months. How involved will the Vanderbilt coaching staff get in the transfer portal? Only time will tell.