Thursday, April 17, 2008

Macias does it all for Vandy

If you had to pick a Most Valuable Player for the Vanderbilt baseball team, winners of seven straight, it wouldn't be All-Americans Pedro Alvarez or Dominic de la Osa, or even Ryan Flaherty, who's having another remarkable season.

It'd be outfielder David Macias, otherwise known as Mr. Everything, without question.

Things have certainly slowed down for the senior. He's hitting a team-high.394 with seven doubles, one triple, a career-high six homers and 19 RBI. Even more impressive is Macias' OPS (on-base + slugging percentage), which is a ridiculous 1.032. Anything above .900 is considered excellent.

The SEC Hitter of the Week has a .464 on-base percentage and .568 slugging percentage, while being hit by 10 pitches.

"As the leadoff hitter, I'm just going up there and trying to get on base," said the ever-modest Macias. "My swing has developed a little bit and I'm just getting good pitches to hit, and fortunately they're going out."

Macias' performance hasn't gone unnoticed by his coach, Tim Corbin.

"I think Macias is the reason why kids come back and play their senior year of college baseball.," he said. "They start to figure things out and they start to understand it, and that's exactly what he's doing.

"Macias and (Alex) Feinberg, two seniors, are having great years. It just shows that when kids play four years, how much they pick up and how they start to learn the game, and they get comfortable playing after. I think those guys are going to end up playing more baseball. They both have risen in their stock in terms of what other people professionally think about them."

While Macias' offensive numbers speak for themselves, he's also pretty good defensively. The center fielder has five assists and a handful of highlight-reel grabs, including two last weekend at Mississippi State. Not bad for a high-school infielder.

"He's kind of a poor man's Ryan Freel," Corbin said. "He can (play) any position on the field and excel at it...He plays center field as well as anyone in this conference, bar none, and it's not the fact that he's just a flier out there. It's because he has good instincts, gets good reads on the ball, he's alert and he can throw runners out."

But, perhaps most importantly, he has an unhealthy obsession for the game.

"He's the energizer bunny," Corbin said. "He's been the same for four years. You know how some kids come into your program and they want to work really hard and show you that (they're committed)? Well, he's never stopped from day one. He's a very unusual kid in terms of his work ethic and his ability to stay at a high level all the time."

That's why Corbin said it is not uncommon to catch Macias diving for one fly ball after another -- in batting practice.

"(Derek Johnson) and I were remarking yesterday during BP how he was leaving his feet for every ball hit in BP and making diving catches," Corbin said, "and I'm thinking to myself, 'Here's a guy who's been in this league for four years and he's never slowed down one step whatsoever.'

"He's still laying out during batting practice when no one's in the stands. It's just what he's used to doing, and he carries the same mentality to the game. He's hitting home runs, he's stealing bases, he's driving in important runs, he's making great catches...He's doing everything."

Sounds like an MVP to me.

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