Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Commodore Banter (6/17)

The news came and went without much attention, but don't underestimate the importance of Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson's decision to stay with Dores.

One of the nation's best pitching coaches, Johnson recently turned down an opportunity to take the same position at Mississippi State under new coach John Cohen, as reported by Brett Hait of The City Paper.

“He’s the best at what he does,” said coach Tim Corbin. “He’s at the top of his craft and people respect him in a large way.”

Johnson has done an incredible job developing pitchers. Two have already gone onto the majors (Jensen Lewis and Jeremy Sowers) and at least two more will be there soon (David Price and Casey Weathers). Perhaps more importantly, no pitcher has had significant injury under Johnson, who excels at strengthening and protecting their arms.

The Commodores will have arguably their deepest and most talented pitching staff next season, which is why it's even more significant that Johnson is here to stay.

“I don’t feel like there is another pitching job out there better than the one I have,” Johnson said. “Leaving for another job makes no sense. Vanderbilt has treated me very well financially. A lot of people think the grass is greener on the other side, when in fact it’s not.

“I like Nashville and like Vanderbilt. I think we can get the quality of pitcher here that I want to work with, and I think our track record proves that.”

In other news, junior shortstop Ryan Flaherty is off to Boise, Idaho, to play for the Class A Hawks of the Northwest League after signing with the Chicago Cubs. Baseball America reported that Flaherty received $900,000 signing bonus.

Vandy Pride has a great interview up with Jason Esposito, who turned down a $1.5 million contract to play for the Commodores next season. Here's a quick preview of the interview:

VP: How tempting was it to take the 1.5 million dollar signing bonus from the Royals and go pro?
JE: It was tempting, but I had to put the dollar amount aside and figure out whether I wanted to go off as a 17 year old and start working (literally) or come to school, get an education, and try and be apart of a first Vanderbilt team to go to Omaha. But my family was really supportive of the fact that I need an education and my 15 year old brother actually convinced me to come to school. Which was a real shock hearing that from him. He’s been there for everything I’ve done.

Great stuff, and welcome aboard, Jason.

In Cape Cod League action, Russell Brewer picked up his second save as the Hyannis Mets improved to 2-0. Catcher Curt Casali made his first start and caught up with The Sports VU for a Q&A afterward that you can read here. Wareham's Steve Liddle went 1-for-3 with a RBI and Harwich's Andrew Giobbi has two doubles through two games.

Also, it's worth mentioning that David Price could be promoted to Double-A Montgomery of the Southern League later in the week after making his fifth start.

He gave up one run in five innings and struck out the side in the first and third. On the season, Price (3-0, 1.27 ERA) has given up four earned runs on 23 hits to go along with 30 strikeouts and five walks in 28.1 innings.


Tony Arnold said...

Everyone associated with Vanderbilt needs to seek out David Williams and thank him for the work he does to keep our best coaches on staff.

He is an unsung hero at Vanderbilt.

Tony Arnold said...

BTW, Sports VU is doing a great job. You stay ahead of most of the other sources I have for VU Sports. I come here first for my VU Sports info.