Recapping the 2022 VandyBoys Preseason Polls and Accolades

With a few days remaining before their 2022 campaign, how do publications say the VandyBoys stack up with the top competition in college baseball?

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Vanderbilt Athletics

Enrique Bradfield Jr. running in a postseason game against Georgia Tech in June, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Bobby Kent, Staff Writer

On Feb. 18, the VandyBoys will begin pursuit of their third consecutive trip to the College World Series against No. 7 Oklahoma State after falling one game short of repeating as champions in 2021. This season will present many challenges with a gauntlet of a schedule, stiff SEC competition and many new faces on the roster

Despite the roadblocks the Commodores will need to clear, the premier college baseball publications have all tabbed the Commodores as one of the top three teams in the nation, with an average preseason ranking of No. 2.  

Collegiate Baseball has the VandyBoys as No. 2 for the fourth consecutive season, which also stands as the highest ranking among the four SEC teams included in the top nine. 

Baseball America listsVanderbilt as No. 2 behind Texas and ahead of defending national champions Mississippi State. USA Today and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) both have the Commodores No. 2 as well. 

The Commodores lowest preseason ranking comes from D1 Baseball, who has them slotted at No. 3 behind SEC foes Arkansas and Mississippi State. The highest ranking comes from Perfect Game, where the Commodores are No. 1 in the nation and are among five teams in the SEC in the top 10. 

Vanderbilt has also been picked by the SEC’s coaches as the favorite to win the SEC East. 

Along with high marks in the rankings, several VandyBoys have received recognition in the form of preseason honors. 

Centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. and pitcher Nick Maldonado were named to the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. The Golden Spikes award honors the best player in the nation, and Vanderbilt’s last recipient was David Price in 2007. Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker were both runners-up for the award last summer.

The duo, along with infielder Dominic Keegan, were also named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team as voted on by the league’s coaches. Keegan also earned NCBWA First Team All-America honors as well as a spot on Perfect Game’s First Team and Collegiate Baseball’s Second Team. 

Coming off a season in which he stole an NCAA-leading 47 bases, Bradfield Jr. also hauled in a few more awards. He was voted to Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason All-America Second Teams. He also earned D1 Baseball,  Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game Second Team All-American honors. 

Maldonado was a force in the Vanderbilt bullpen last season and was recognized with D1 Baseball First Team honors in addition to Baseball America, NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Second Team honors. He added Perfect Game Third Team honors as well.

Shortstop Carter Young earned Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-America honors as well.

Armed with high preseason rankings and the individual honors to back them up, the VandyBoys will seek to justify the recognition on the field this season beginning on Friday.