The battle cry of the Vanderbilt Commodores carries a little symbolism for their position among the elite baseball teams in the college ranks.
This year is no different and come draft day, their roster will again be well represented. Vanderbilt has a phenomenal coaching staff that is headed up by Tim Corbin. They just seem to reload and never skip a beat anymore. It's extremely rare for a team to have three players drafted on day one, much less in the top 15 picks which is a realistic situation for Vandy this year.
I absolutely love the way Vanderbilt develops pitchers. They have set up what is called a "pitching lab" that outsiders are not allowed into. They use high speed video the measure kinetics and kinematics of pitchers (I really want to sneak in). They use advanced training methods. Pitching coach Scott Brown is one of the closest things to Brent Strom as you'll find at the collegiate level.
The big names from Vandy in the draft are Carson Fulmer, Dansby Swanson, and Walker Buehler.
Buehler is the Friday nigh starter and the leader of the staff. MLB.com currently has him ranked as the #2 overall player int he 2015 draft, behind only high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers.
Fulmer is also a big time starter and the eleventh ranked player.
Both of these guys are not the prototypical big bodied pitcher. They are both small framed right-handers but both don't pitch like that. They both have electric fastballs that reach the mid-90's, but Fulmer is more consistently into the 93-97 range while Buehler sits in the lower-90's while touching 96.
Fulmer has an above-average slider and a change-up that can be above average. Buehler throws both of those pitches as well as a curve. Buehler has the larger repertoire overall, but the important part is that he has the much better control and command. That's what makes him the better pitcher overall since Fulmer struggles with control.
Due to their slight statures both have been questioned as if they can be starters. Here, Buehler continues to shine as he has handled a heavy case load over the last year which included CWS, Cape Cod, and USA Collegiate National Team. Fulmer's delivery and control problems continue to raise questions. His stuff is undeniable though. Based on pure stuff he is easily one of the best pitchers in the draft.
Swanson has been a consistent bat for the Dore's. But, what has allowed for his stock to rise this year is that he's been performing well as a short stop since Vince Conde is now a professional. He's not going to be a big home run threat but he'll carry a high batting average with plenty of doubles to have an impact. He's polished overall at the plate and much like many Vandy hitters, has good plate discipline (11% BB% and 15% SO% in 2014).
The issue really whether he's really a shortstop in the pros. He has the speed which allows for him to have good range. He has the work ethic to really hone in on the skills required. The limiting factor is arm strength. It's slightly above average but not a real asset. He's rated the 8th best prospect so he's definitely caught a few eyes and convinced several that he can do it. Not many true second baseman get rated that highly.
As it stands right now, only Buehler has a chance to not be available for the Astros top two picks which are 2nd and 5th overall. Considering that the number two overall pick is a compensation pick and has to be signed, going the college route is not a bad idea by any means. Fulmer and Swanson would be more appropriate for the Astros second pick.