NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As the 2022 MLB regular season concluded Wednesday, several former Vanderbilt standouts ended their season on high notes as six former Commodores begin to prep for the playoffs.
Teammates Walker Buehler and David Price helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to the best record in Major League Baseball, securing the NL West Division Championship and the top seed in the National League.
Buehler made 12 starts this season before suffering a season-ending injury in mid-June. The right-hander posted a 6-3 record on the mound across 65.0 innings of work. Price proved to be a bright spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen this season. The Los Angeles left-hander boasted a 2.45 ERA in the regular season across 40 appearances and 40.1 innings of action. He struck out 37 batters while notching a 2-0 record on the mound.
Teammates Dansby Swanson and Kyle Wright each had spectacular seasons for the Atlanta, helping the Braves secure their fifth consecutive NL East Division Championship. Swanson belted 25 home runs this season, marking his second consecutive year with at least 20 home runs for the first time in his career. He also posted 96 RBI on the year, which marks the most by a Braves shortstop since 1900.
The Atlanta Braves are 2022 National League East Champions!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/9aJ39fq3Qq
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 5, 2022
“You put a target on your back and you feel like you get everyone’s best shot every night. We were really, really resilient this year.”
— @LieutenantDans7 pic.twitter.com/FzfoooazQG
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) October 5, 2022
Wright anchored the Atlanta pitching rotation this season with a breakout campaign. He became the seventh pitcher to win 20 games in a single season in Braves’ history, and the first pitcher to do so since 2003. Wright’s 21 wins marked the most in the MLB, as he became the first Vanderbilt alum to record at least 20 wins since David Price (20) did so in 2012.
🗣️ TWENTY OF ‘EM@Kyle_Wright44 is Atlanta’s first 20-game winner since 2003. pic.twitter.com/DCoiUacZQs
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) September 24, 2022
Drew VerHagen also earned a division title with the St. Louis Cardinals, as the Cardinals secured their fourth consecutive postseason berth. VerHagen sported a 3-1 record on the mound across 19 appearances, while totaling 21.2 innings of work before suffering a season-ending injury.
Curt Casali will round out the Commodores in the postseason, as the Seattle Mariners earned the No. 5 seed in the American League. The Mariners are set to face the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card round matchup.
Bryan Reynolds posted an impressive season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing in 145 games. Reynolds recorded a career-best 27 home runs on the campaign, while scoring 74 runs.
That’s No. 27 for Reynolds! pic.twitter.com/pagN9t1Tx0
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) October 2, 2022
Tony Kemp proved to be a versatile piece for the Oakland Athletics this season, appearing in 89 games at second base and 65 contests in left field. Kemp notched a personal-best 46 RBI on the campaign, while scoring a career-high 61 runs this season.
Kemp covering ground. 🏃♂️💨 pic.twitter.com/RYiYTklx7l
— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2022
Sonny Gray made 24 starts for the Minnesota Twins this year, posting an 8-4 record on the mound. Gray sported a 3.08 ERA while striking out 117 batters across 119.2 innings of work.
Seventeen different Commodores reached the Major Leagues during the 2022 regular season, with 16 VandyBoys seeing action. The trio of JJ Bleday, Jason Delay and Collin Snider each made their MLB debuts, while Will Toffey was briefly called up to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Vanderbilt will be well-represented in the playoffs, as a combined 25 alumni and former staff members are affiliated with MLB organizations in the postseason.
Vanderbilt Alumni on MLB Playoff Rosters
Dansby Swanson – Atlanta Braves
Kyle Wright – Atlanta Braves
Curt Casali – Seattle Mariners
Walker Buehler* – Los Angeles Dodgers
David Price – Los Angeles Dodgers
Drew VerHagen* – St. Louis Cardinals
Vanderbilt Alumni on MLB Playoff Staffs
Gil Kim – Toronto Blue Jays (MLB Field Coordinator)
Matt Buschmann – Toronto Blue Jays (Director of Pitching Development and Major League Bullpen Coach)
Drew Hayes – Toronto Blue Jays (Player Development)
Derek Schiller – Atlanta Braves (President)
Andrew Walters – Atlanta Braves (Senior Director, Membership Sales & Service)
Jason Esposito – Cleveland Guardians (AAA Hitting Coach)
Larry Day* – Cleveland Guardians (Player Programs Coordinator)
Jared Jones* – Cleveland Guardians (Director, Team Travel)
Joey Cora – New York Mets (Third Base Coach)
David Macias – San Diego Padres (MLB First Base Coach)
Ryan Flaherty – San Diego Padres (MLB Quality Control Coach)
Caleb Cotham – Philadelphia Phillies (MLB Pitching Coach)
Mike Calitri* – Philadelphia Phillies (MLB Bench Coach)
Jeremy Sowers – Tampa Bay Rays (Manager, Major League Operations)
Brad Ballew* – Tampa Bay Rays (Coordinator, Baseball Operations)
Matthew Bennett* – Tampa Bay Rays (Player Development)
Sanford Sternberg – Tampa Bay Rays (Director, Development Strategy)
Aaron Gershenfeld* – New York Yankees (Minor League Catching Coordinator)
David Schnabel* – New York Yankees (Video Department)
*former Vanderbilt assistants/staff members