MLB Rewind

Updates on the VandyBoys in the MLB

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A regular update on Vanderbilt alumni during the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

September 28 — As the 2020 MLB regular season concluded Sunday, many former Vanderbilt standouts ended their season on high notes, as seven former Commodores begin to prep for the playoffs.

Kyle Wright closed out the campaign in impressive fashion for the Atlanta Braves, notching three consecutive quality starts in his last three outings of the regular season. Wright picked up two wins across the span, including his first career win, highlighted by a season-best performance against the Mets, where he worked 6.1 innings of shutout baseball.

Teammate Dansby Swanson belted three home runs over the final week of action, as the Braves locked up the NL East divisional title. Swanson ranks third on the team in both hits (65) and RBI (35), while placing second in runs scored with 49.

Wright and Swanson will face another Vandy duo in the first round of the playoffs, as the Braves will square off against Sonny Gray, Curt Casali and the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds locked up the seventh seed in the National League, securing their first postseason berth since 2013.

Gray earned the start for Cincinnati in the regular season finale, marking his second start since returning from the injured list. Gray worked 5.1 innings, yielding two runs on two hits, and not factoring into the decision. The right-hander closed out the regular season with a 5-3 record on the bump, while making five quality starts across the campaign.

Walker Buehler returned to action last week for his final tuneup before the postseason, following a two-week stint on the injured list. Buehler tossed 4.0 innings of scoreless baseball, scattering only one hit and registering six strikeouts. The right-hander will get the ball on Wednesday evening’s opening matchup, as the top-seeded Dodgers face the Brewers.

Teammates Mike Minor and Tony Kemp will round out the Commodores in the postseason, as the Oakland Athletics locked up the AL West title to qualify for its 11th postseason appearance since 2000.

Minor posted his best performance of the season on Sept. 14, in his start at Seattle. The left-hander tossed a seven-inning complete game shutout to pick up his first win of the season, collecting eight punchouts while only surrendering two hits. Minor worked 5.0 innings in his final outing of the regular season Saturday against the Mariners, giving up one run on four hits, while striking out seven.

Kemp was awarded the Bill Rigney Good Guy Award for the Athletics, which is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The award, handed out annually, goes to players whose interactions with the media are deemed exceptional.

Mike Yastrzemski picked up the Good Guy Award for the Giants, and was also awarded the 2020 Willie Mac Award, which is given every year to the Giant who most embodies the spirit of Willie McCovey. The honor is voted on by a combination of teammates, coaching staff and fans.

Yastrzemski closed out the regular season in standout fashion, batting .389 across his last seven games, with one home run and four runs scored. The Giants’ centerfielder ranked first or second on the team across multiple statistical categories, including: average (.297), hits (57), doubles (14), triples (four), home runs (10), runs (39) and walks (30).

Teammate Sam Selman closed out his season with four consecutive scoreless relief appearances, while also posting scoreless outings in six of his last seven games.

Bryan Reynolds launched three home runs over the last two weeks of the season, including one in last Saturday’s matchup against the Cleveland Indians. Reynolds finished the campaign with seven long balls, which tied for third on the Pirates roster.

Vanderbilt Alumni on MLB Playoff Rosters

Dansby Swanson – Atlanta Braves
Kyle Wright – Atlanta Braves
Curt Casali – Cincinnati Reds
Sonny Gray – Cincinnati Reds
Walker Buehler – Los Angeles Dodgers
Tony Kemp – Oakland Athletics
Mike Minor – Oakland Athletics

Vanderbilt Alumni on MLB Playoff Staffs

Nick Christiani – Cincinnati Reds (Player Development)
Caleb Cotham  – Cincinnati Reds (Assistant Pitching Coach)
Derek Johnson* – Cincinnati Reds (Pitching Coach)
Casey Weathers  – Cincinnati Reds (Player Development)
Larry Day* – Cleveland Indians (Player Development)
Jason Esposito – Cleveland Indians (Player Development)
Carter Hawkins – Cleveland Indians (Assistant General Manager)
Matt Kata – Cleveland Indians (Baseball Operations)
Tony Mansolino – Cleveland Indians (Infield Coordinator)
David Wallace – Cleveland Indians (Special Assistant)
DJ Svihlik* – Miami Marlins (Scouting Director)
Aaron Gershenfeld* – New York Yankees (Player Development)
Ryan Flaherty – San Diego Padres (Advanced Scout/Development Coach)
Jeremy Sowers – Tampa Bay Rays (Major League Operations)
Matt Buschmann – Toronto Blue Jays (Director of Pitching Development/Bullpen Coach)
Drew Hayes – Toronto Blue Jays (Player Development)
Taylor Hill – Toronto Blue Jays (Player Development)
Gil Kim – Toronto Blue Jays (Director of Player Development/MLB On-Field Staff)

*former Vanderbilt assistants

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website

September 7 — As the 2020 MLB season progresses, former Vanderbilt standouts continued to impress over the last two weeks of action.

The duo of Dansby Swanson and Mike Yastrzemski stayed hot on the offensive side, as Swanson ranks second in the MLB in runs scored, while Yastrzemski is tied for eighth.

Swanson belted his sixth homer of the season in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Nationals. On the season, the Braves’ shortstop is slashing .294/.347/.475.

Yastrzemski has maintained a steady pace over the last week, as the the Giants’ outfielder is batting .321 (9-28) over his last seven games. He has added four RBI and three runs scored over the seven-game span, while launching one homer to push his season total to eight.

Curt Casali caught in eight games over the last two weeks, while batting .357 across his last seven games of action. The Cincinnati catcher notched a season-high three-hit performance in last Tuesday’s matchup with the Cardinals, finishing 3-for-4 with one double and one RBI.

Teammate Sonny Gray missed his start on Sunday due to additional rest, following his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander is tied for 10th in the league in quality starts with five on the campaign.

In his first start returning from the injured list, Walker Buehler posted a standout performance in his start last Wednesday. Buehler worked five scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks, allowing just two hits while striking out six batters.

After a slow start to the season, Buehler has only given up one run over 11.0 innings of work in his last two outings, while racking up 17 strikeouts.

Sam Selman has made five appearances over the last two weeks, surrendering only one hit across 4.1 scoreless innings of action. The Giants’ southpaw sits at 1-0 on the season with a 1.88 ERA across 14.1 innings of work.

Mike Minor posted a season-best performance on  Aug. 28 in his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Minor worked 6.0 scoreless innings, scattering just four hits while striking out six to pick up the no decision.

The left-hander was traded to Oakland following his start, teaming up with another former Vandy standout Tony Kemp, as Minor made his first appearance in an A’s uniform on Friday in a relief outing.

Kemp was recently named as the Oakland A’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes the MLB player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

After welcoming his first child to the world last Monday, Bryan Reynolds returned from paternity leave with a strong performance in his first game back. The Pirates outfielder registered a multi-hit performance in last Thursday’s matchup with the Cubs, including a three-run blast to lift the Pirates to a victory.

Transactions: Carson Fulmer was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 5 after being traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tony Kemp, Oakland Athletics

August 24 — As we near the midway point of the 2020 season, Mike Yastrzemski (San Francisco) is putting up some MVP-type numbers for the Giants while Sonny Gray (Cincinnati) is among the early-season NL Cy Young candidates.

Walker Buehler’s latest start was his best yet. In six innings, he struck out 11, didn’t walk a batter and allowed just four hits and one run. He earned the win — his first decision of the year — and near the midway point of the 2020 season is 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA and 28 strikeouts in five starts with the Dodgers.



Curt Casali played in three games for the Reds last week and reached base in each. He was 1-for-2 with a home run, walk and caught a shut out at Kansas City on Aug. 19. In 36 at-bats this season, he has three homers, one double, three RBI and five runs.



Gray is 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA and has set a Reds franchise record with 51 strikeouts in his first six starts. His 51 punch outs also lead the NL and rank second in the majors. In addition, his major league record for consecutive starts without allowing more than six hits has reached 39 and counting.



Tony Kemp has worked himself into the every day lineup for the Athletics. Over the weekend, he had two more hits, a double, RBI and a Top 10 defensive play on SportsCenter.


Mike Minor made three more starts for the Rangers over the last fortnight, including four shutout innings of one-hit ball against Seattle on Aug. 11. He remains in search of his first win of 2020, but still ranks among the top left-handers in the MLB since 2019 in that category.



After a slow start that saw his batting average dip to .174, Bryan Reynolds has been on a tear over the last few days and has raised that average nearly 50 points to .220. In just the last three games, the Pirates left fielder has six hits, a double, triple, home run, six RBIs and 12 total bases.



Sam Selman has mostly been lights out for the Giants out of the bullpen. In 10 games this season, he has a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings with 10 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP while holding opponents to a .194 average.



Dansby Swanson moved into the leadoff spot for Atlanta and leads the team in hits (34), runs (24), doubles (8) and carries a nine-game hitting streak into Monday night’s games. For the season, he is hitting .312 with seven doubles, 16 RBIs and .353 on-base percentage.



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About last night … 😳 @dansbyswanson calls game with a walk-off homer. 💣 (📸 @braves) #VandyBoys

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Yastrzemski is second in the majors with 28 runs, 23 walks and three triples, and is sixth in OPS (1.074). He also ranks among the top five in the National League in hits (34), doubles (10), home runs (7), RBIs (23) and slugging (.645).



Transactions: Carson Fulmer was designated for assignment by the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 21 and then signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 24. Kyle Wright was optioned to the Atlanta Braves alternate training site Aug. 20.

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website

August 10 — Mike Yastrzemski (San Francisco), Dansby Swanson (Atlanta) and Sonny Gray (Cincinnati) continue to rank among the league leaders in the early stages of the season, while Tony Kemp has impressed in Oakland and Carson Fulmer made his debut with the Detroit Tigers.

Walker Buehler made his 2020 debut on July 28 and has allowed three runs or fewer in all three of his starts since that time. In the early stages of the season, the Dodgers right-hander has 12 strikeouts in 14.1 innings and has given up just seven hits and a .143 opponent batting average.



Curt Casali caught five more games for the Reds and has three extra-base hits this season, including two home runs, while teammate Sonny Gray ranks second in the majors with 35 strikeouts this season and extended his MLB record three times over the last two weeks. Gray, who is also third in the majors with 24.0 innings pitched this season, holds the all-time record with 37 straight starts allowing six or fewer hits. He is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.



Carson Fulmer made four relief appearances over his first two weeks with the Tigers. In 3.1 innings, he has four strikeouts, just one walk, allowed two earned runs with a 1.50 WHIP and has held opponents to a .286 average.



Tony Kemp has made quite the early-season impression in Oakland. Kemp has begun to solidify a spot at second and has played in all but one game since July 31. He is hitting .400 in August with four runs and six walks in the last week.



Mike Minor hit a major milestone on August 6. Now in his ninth major league season, Minor, who made two more starts for the Rangers, recorded his 1,000th career strikeout against Oakland. In three starts this season, Minor has logged 15.2 innings and has 15 strikeouts.



Bryan Reynolds is the every day left fielder for the Pirates and compiled four multi-hit games in the last two weeks in addition to 10 hits and 10 runs this season.



Sam Selman made his first appearance for the Giants on July 31 and has allowed just one run in four games and five innings this season. He has nine strikeouts and has held opponents to a .167 average and three hits. Most recently, he pitched two scoreless innings against the Dodgers on August 7 and lowered his WHIP to 0.80.



Dansby Swanson set a major league record as the first shortstop with 11 RBI and at least on hit in each of his team’s first eight games. He was one of the hottest bats in baseball to start the season and ranks sixth in the NL with 18 hits and fourth in the majors (tied with Yastrzemski) with 14 runs.


Kyle Wright debuted on July 28 for the Braves and has made three starts in the first two weeks of 2020. Wright has 11 strikeouts in 12.1 innings, including 3.1 scoreless innings in a combined shutout win over the Mets on Aug. 2.



Mike Yastrzemski continued his hot start to the 2020 season. He ranks fourth in the majors with a 1.113 OPS and is tied for fourth in the MLB with Dansby Swanson with 14 runs. In 17 games, he has a .322 average with 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBI.


Dansby Swanson

July 27 – Former Vanderbilt standouts wasted little time making a splash during Opening Weekend, highlighted by record-setting performances from right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray and shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Gray received the nod on opening day for Cincinnati and recorded his 1,000th career strikeout while lifting the Reds to a 7-1 win against Detroit. The Smyrna, Tennessee, native allowed just one run and three hits across six innings, becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to permit six hits or fewer in at least 34 consecutive starts.

“A lot of great things happened tonight,” Reds manager David Bell told the Cincinnati Enquirer postgame. “You have to start with Sonny Gray. Given the opportunity to pitch an Opening Day, he prepared himself for it. There’s nothing more to say than he did exactly what we asked him to for our team.”

Offensively, no one was arguably hotter than Swanson through three games. The Marietta, Georgia, product produced a combined six RBIs – second-most in the National League – including matching a career high with five in Atlanta’s 14-1 win over the New York Mets on Sunday night.

Swanson delivered a two-run double during the Braves’ five-run third inning. An inning later, he struck an opposite-field home run to highlight a 3-for-5 performance and 17-hit barrage for the Braves.

“It’s a fun lineup and team to be a part of,” Swanson told postgame. “It’s deep and it’s consistent. Every day, I’ve been focusing on trying to become better, more consistent and more convicted in what I have to do that day.”

On Saturday, Swanson provided the go-ahead RBI-single in the 10th inning in a 5-3 win. He also became the first player in MLB history to accomplish the feat with new league rules into effect, placing a runner at second base to begin extra innings.

Additional Opening Weekend Notables

  • San Francisco outfield Mike Yastrzemski helped the Giants to a four-game split against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Andover, Massachusetts, product went 2-for-4 in Saturday’s 5-4 victory, doubling and scoring in the second inning to put the Giants on top for good.
  • Texas starting pitcher Mike Minor was solid Saturday despite not earning the victory. The 2019 MLB All-Star allowed one earned run on three hits and across five innings against Colorado.
  • Cincinnati catcher Curt Casali struck a game-tying home run in the seventh inning Saturday against Detroit. The New Canaan, Connecticut, product also drew three walks in as many games.
  • After being designated for assignment on Thursday, pitcher Carson Fulmer did not have to wait long to find a new home. The right-hander was claimed off waivers Saturday by the Detroit Tigers.
  • Infielder Tony Kemp made his debut with the Oakland Athletics on Friday, entering the contest as a pinch runner in the seventh inning. The Nashville, Tennessee, product earned his first start on Sunday, playing second base and batting ninth.