NASHVILLE – While Vanderbilt continued to showcase its dominance in the Major Leagues a season ago, several Commodores also made key impressions in the minors.
Three former Vanderbilt student-athletes have been recognized by Baseball America including two who are among their Major League organization’s Top-10 prospects entering 2019.
Right-hander Kyle Wright was tabbed the Atlanta Braves’ No. 4 overall prospect. According to Baseball America, the former fifth-overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, “has a chance to be a future top-of-the-rotation starter thanks to his varied repertoire, physicality and control.”
Bryan Reynolds was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Andrew McCutchen trade before the 2018 season. He batted .302 following the trade and is listed as the Pirates’ No. 9 prospect. Reynolds batted .329 at Vanderbilt and .346 in the Cape Cod League.
Baseball America also recognized Reynolds as being the organization’s best hitter for average and best outfield arm. According to the publication, the second-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, “has above-average speed and makes decisive reads in the outfield. He runs efficient routes and has a strong and accurate enough arm to play any outfield position.”
Right-hander Walker Buehler made his ascent from the minors into becoming a rookie phenom for the Los Angeles Dodgers a season ago. Meanwhile, outfielder Jeren Kendall has continued the trend of successful Commodores in the Dodgers’ system.
The former 23rd-overall pick in the 2017 draft was bestowed the team’s best athlete and best defensive outfielder for a second consecutive season. Kendall stole 37 bases with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2018 and has 46 for his professional career.
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) January 16, 2019
Vanderbilt finished second nationally and led the SEC with 13 former players making an MLB appearance in 2018. The Commodores led the nation with seven pitchers who made at least one MLB start this season and eight total hurlers who made an appearance.
On Monday, the current Vanderbilt squad was recognized as the favorite to win it all. The Commodores, who return eight of nine positional players, open the season on Feb. 15 in Talking Stick, Arizona, against Virginia. The home opener against Evansville will be Feb. 20.