De la Osa's Return Fortifies Vandy
for SEC coaches' survey results
Every team strives to get
better season after season.
Vanderbilt Commodores automatically got better for the 2008
season when senior Dominic de la Osa decided to forego signing a
major league contract with the Detroit Tigers to return to
Nashville to patrol right field for the defending Southeastern
The All-American’s return to the Commodores’ batting order
cements one of the nation’s best lineups as he, Pedro Alvarez
and Ryan Flaherty team to form perhaps the best 2-3-4 hitters in
“Dom was probably our best recruit this off-season since he
didn’t sign with a pro team,” Vandy coach Tim Corbin said. “I
really appreciate him coming back as he’s one of the best
players in the country. He’s a five-tool kid and plays the game
very hard and with a lot of passion.
“It means a lot to our program for Dom to come back. He brings a
quiet confidence in his abilities and a burning desire to win to
our clubhouse. He applies a lot of pressure on himself in his
push for excellence. He is not only a very good ballplayer, he
is a great teammate.”
De la Osa batted .378 with a team high 20 home runs to go along
with 62 RBI, a .727 slugging percentage and .452 on-base average
(reaching base in 60 of 66 games), while providing stellar
defense and displaying a strong throwing arm from the deepest
regions of Hawkins Field.
He was one of only three players in the country to have 20
homers and 20 stolen bases.
really was an easy decision for me,” de la Osa said. “I felt
like we had some unfinished business to take care of on the
field and getting my degree is very important to me. Baseball is
a lot of fun, and I want to have a long career even after
college, but one has to prepare for the real world too. I look
forward to the upcoming season and getting out there with my
Alvarez led the Commodores with a .386 batting average with 18
homers and 68 RBI en route to unanimous All-American honors a
year ago. He led the USA Baseball National Team in hitting for
the second straight summer and is the consensus No. 1 college
prospect going into the 2008 season.
Flaherty finished last year with a .381 batting average to go
with four homers, 23 doubles (tied for team high) and 57 RBI. He
carries a school-record 35 game-hitting streak into the 2008
campaign and enjoyed an outstanding summer as the starting
second baseman for Team USA.
Centerfielder David Macias and second baseman Alex Feinberg also
hit better than .300, and Jonathan White will be counted on to
bring his power stroke and speed to the attack in a regular role
this season. White, a Milwaukee Brewers draft pick, will man
left field and the DH spot.
Vandy also expects significant contributions from Parker Hanks,
Shea Robin and Brad French.
The Commodores’ offensive prowess is well documented, but it
will be the pitching staff that will be the most closely
scrutinized unit as the season opener looms closer.
Vanderbilt lost two key components of their rotation to the
major league draft in David Price, the No. 1 overall pick by the
Devil Rays, and closer Casey Weathers, whom the Colorado Rockies
took with the eighth pick. Also gone is lefty Cody Crowell, who
was versatile as a starter and reliever and ate up innings.
“We lost some very valuable guys that have moved on to bigger
and better things,” Corbin said. “We don’t look at it as
replacing pitchers, but we do feel that we can replace the
innings that they pitched. We have some very good players that
may be new names to some people, but not to us. We like our
staff very much and we are excited for them to get their
Sophomore left-hander Mike Minor will take over as the ace of
the staff, while veteran Brett Jacobson will take over as the
closer. Minor had an outstanding freshman campaign. He went 9-1
with a 3.09 ERA in 90.1 innings with 88 strikeouts and 19 walks
– opposing hitters managed only a .226 batting average against
him on his way to being named a freshman All-American and SEC
freshman of the year.
Minor also played on Team
USA this past summer, finishing with a team-best five wins and
Junior right-hander Nick Christiani is penciled in as the
probable Saturday starter. In 2007, he went 5-3 with a 4.11 ERA
in 70 innings with 57 Ks and 36 walks. Caleb Cotham, a redshirt
freshman, is expected to step up as the third starter, while
Russell Brewer, Drew Hayes and Mark Lamm will log significant
innings as well. Vandy also expects immediate contributions from
true freshman right-hander Taylor Hill, one of the most prized
recruits in the country.
Expectations are very high for the Commodores this season. They
appear primed and ready to exceed them.
Correction: We erroneously
had a photo of Matt Meingasner instead of Dominic de la Osa when
we first published this story. We apologize for the error.