There were multiple players from the state of Tennessee that were projected to get drafted in the first round, only one of those came to fruition.
JJ Bleday has been arguably the best player at Vanderbilt the past two seasons, and he was rewarded for his efforts on Monday night. Bleday was the number four pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2019 MLB Draft. He has led the Commodores the past two seasons and proved he was one of the best players in college baseball. He has a big bat at the plate and a great arm in the outfield. With just those two attributes alone, he is set up to have a really good MLB career. Bleday was also the only player from Vanderbilt or Tennessee to be drafted in this year’s first round.
With the 83rd pick in the MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers selected Andre Lipcius from the University of Tennessee. The third baseman is the first Vol to come off the board with hopefully more to come. If Lipcius can climb his way through the minors and play in Detroit, he will join three players from Tennessee. Will Maddox, Christin Stewart, and AJ Simcox are currently in Detroit.
The Volunteers pitcher was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth round. He was ranked as the No. 119 pitcher in this year’s draft and the No. 19 pitcher from the SEC. Stallings pitched two complete game shutouts in 2019 against Georgia and Mississippi. He has great command of his pitches and after his offspeed pitches improved throughout the year allows him to work his way into the back half of an MLB rotation in the future.
Fellows was taken in the sixth round by the San Diego Padres. The Padres May have gotten a steal in the sixth round with Fellows. he has been the ace for Vanderbilt in the past two seasons and he finished both of those seasons with at least ten wins and zero losses. Fellows is a perfect 12-0 so far this season with a 3.87 ERA. His slider and sinker have picked up speed this season and are both in the 90s giving him two strong second and third pitches.
The sixth round kept rolling with another player being drafted from the Volunteer State. Schultz joins the Philadelphia Phillies organization as the 180th pick in the Draft. The 6-4 junior totaled 39 strikeouts in 2019 with a 3.24 ERA. Schultz has the highest pitch speed average in the country as he sits between 95-97 mph. Schultz could prove to be one of the better closers in the MLB if he can develop one more really good pitch.
Phillip Clarke is the next Commodore off the board. Clarke was drafted to the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth with the 267th pick. Clarke has been an exceptional cacher in his time at Vanderbilt. Not only was he a ball stopping machine behind the plate, but he also could put the bat to the ball. He is a contact guy that also possesses the power to put the ball over the fence. He can place the ball all over the field and is one of the best hitters on Vanderbilt’s stacked roster.
Zach Linginfelter spent his time at Tennessee as a starter although he could find himself in a relief spot in the big leagues. He has a fastball that sits in the mid-to-low nineties and a nasty slider. He will need to develop at least one more really good pitch but ideally two more pitches to be a full-time rotation pitcher in the MLB. Linginfelter was 6-6 this season with a 5.64 ERA. Nothing too impressive but the Angels liked him enough to draft him on day two.
Ethan Paul was also drafted in the ninth round and was just seven picks behind his teammate Clarke. Paul was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and was one of just two players to start all of Vanderbilt’s games last season. Paul has collegiate experience at shortstop and second base so he could become a valuable asset to the Pirates organization. Paul is batting .325 in 2019 and has nine home runs, one shy of his career high. Paul also possesses speed on the basepaths totaling 40 stolen bases in his career.
Stephen Scott has experience all over the field. He has spent time at first and second base, the outfield and at catcher. Last year Scott was drafted by the Marlins but returned to Vanderbilt for his senior season. With the last pick in the tenth round, the Boston Red Sox pulled the trigger on him giving him a chance to play for one of the most historic franchises in the MLB.
Zach King is the first player from Vanderbilt to get drafted on day three and the second to join the Marlins organization. King was a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher for the Commodores. King dropped off a bit after his career-best season in 2018. He racked up 43 strikeouts in 2019 but was 0-2 with a 6.31 ERA in 21 appearances.
Jackson Gillis has been a go-to reliever in Vanderbilt’s bullpen in 2019. Gillis has developed a really good fastball and a curveball for his number two pitch.
Joe Gobillot is maybe the least experienced player on Vanderbilt’s roster to be drafted in 2019. Gobillot was redshirted last year while overcoming an injury. In the FBCL, he went 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA through ten games last Summer.
AJ Franklin is a team-first player and served as a reliever for the Commodores in 2019. Franklin went 1-0 with a 7.24 ERA this past season.
The Cincinnati Reds may have gotten a day three steal with Patrick Raby. He went 9-1 this past season with a 2.90 ERA with 73 strikeouts. Raby has been depended on all four years he’s been with Vanderbilt starting at least 15 games each season. He is also Vanderbilt’s all-time winningest pitcher totaling 31 wins over four years.
As the picks keep rolling in Pat DeMarco is the next guy to come off the board. He is an all around outfielder who is good at almost all facets of the game. He has been nagged by a hamstring injury the past couple seasons so that’ll be something to keep an eye on. If he can overcome that he could become a very good defensive outfielder in the MLB.
Ricky Martinez has been an everyday shortstop for the Vols for the past two seasons. Martinez is solid at the plate and can get the bat on the ball. He has only one home run in his two years at Tennessee but has totaled over 100 hits. He is also quick on the basepaths with 11 stolen bases in 2019 and caught just one time.
Ty Duvall is a solid hitting catcher out of Vanderbilt. His freshman season he batted .375 but that has dipped a bit as he batted .294 in 2019. He has really high potential at the plate and could evolve into one of the better hitting catchers at the professional level.
Jay Charleston might be my favorite player from this year’s Tennessee team. If you’re looking for an MLB comparison look at Billy Hamilton. Charleston is extremely fast on the basepaths and when he’s stealing he will rarely get caught. In 2019 he had 41 stolen bases and was only caught four times. He is also decent at the plate and can offer solid defensive play.
Julian Infante is returning home after being drafted by the Miami Marlins. This is the third player the Marlins have drafted from Vanderbilt so they must’ve really been impressed by what they have been doing in Nashville. Infante was a utility infielder for the Commodores and brings experience from multiple positions in the infield. He is an average batter but has a little power in his bat that could help with his transition from college to professional baseball.
Day two of the draft has come and gone, and we have now completed ten rounds. Wednesday will hold as the final day of the MLB draft and the last opportunity for players from Tennessee or Vanderbilt to get drafted this season.
So far through the first two days, there have been a total of eight players get drafted from Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Hopefully, we will see more to come on day three as MLB teams look for diamonds in the rough in the later rounds.