Slow down on high Expectations for Vandy Boys Season
The Vanderbilt baseball team posted a season for the ages in 2019, winning 59 games, having at least one win against every team in the SEC and of course winning the College World Series title to cap it off.
Players like homerun king J.J. Bledayand others have moved on and left some major holes in the offense for Tim Corbin and staff to replace, which won't be easy.
Pitching was a strength last season and should be the strength this season, but last year when the pitching struggled there was that ridiculous offense to pick them up.
For reference, see Phillip Clarke's walk-off game-winner in the SEC tournament championship game where pitching allowed 10 runs, including falling behind 7-0 in the second inning and 9-1 in the third.
The 2020 version of Commodores baseball might not be able to produce those same kinds of numbers this season if facing such deficits, but who knows. That's something we'll have to wait and see, but the feeling it is less likely this time around.
While Vanderbilt returns Mason Hickman, Kumar Rocker and Tyler Brown to their familiar roles from last season, there are some extremely talented, but young arms that will be counted on to fill spots this season. There's no guarantee that those youngsters won't struggle at times, and even the veterans will have off days where things don't go there way.
I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade or say this is a bad team, it's not, in fact, it's an ultra-talented group that has the potential to make their own mark in Vanderbilt baseball history, but they also have the potential to face some struggles as they learn their roles and grow as a team.
There is no substitute for experience and last year's team had it in triplicate, this year's team has some, but not nearly as much.
The whole point here is to say that we as media and you as fans should temper our expectations out of the gate and allow this team to be what it will be and not expect them to reproduce the epic season last year's bunch provided.
When this team struggles offensively, as they are likely to do at some point early this season, or when pitching has a bad day and gives up 7 runs in two innings and the offense can't overcome it, remember it's all part of the building process.
Perhaps no one is more excited about this season than me. Having spent years covering the Tennessee Titans and suffering through the Field Goal Fisher Days, the Whisenhunt disaster and so on, I'm ready to cover a winner, and a trip to Omaha for an event I have never attended would be a welcome prize at the end of this rainbow, but there's a lot of seasons to be played before I can make reservations.
I also have to understand that it's not a given this team will get there and my first ever trip to Omaha might have to wait till another time.
No championships will be won in February or even March, those games are about getting this team ready when it counts in June. That's where people should be looking toward, but until then, our expectations might be higher than some moments we see on the field and that's ok. It's all part of the process.