The Vanderbilt Commodores are opening up the season ranked sixth according to D1Baseball's Preseason Rankings. Coming off a conference championship victory a season ago, the Commodores look to repeat as SEC champions and make a run at the College World Series.
The Commodores infield will look similar to last seasons, but this year, there should be a new face on second base. Let's take a look at how Vanderbilt's infield might shape up for opening day.
Chris Maldonado: First Base
Chris Maldonado is a sophomore first baseman who led the Commodores in batting average a season ago. Maldonado had a very solid freshman year which won him the Vanderbilt Freshman of the Year Award.
In 2023, Maldonado had a batting average of .310 with eight home runs and 32 runs batted in. He also had a .953 OPS with 12 doubles. Maldonado had a very impressive freshman season and will be an even bigger threat to opposing pitchers, this season.
Camden Kozeal: Second Base
Camden Kozeal is a freshman who I believe will start at second base. The talented freshman from Nebraska was rated one of the best high school hitters, a year ago.
Last season at Millard South Highschool, Kozeal posted a batting average of .433 with five home runs and 33 runs batted in. He also had a 1.303 OPS with 11 doubles and 4 triples. Kozeal looks to be a big, impact freshman for the Commodores.
Jonathan Vastine: Shortstop
Jonathan Vastine is a junior who started all 62 games at shortstop a season ago. The talented shortstop was named a preseason All-SEC Second Team.
Last season, Vastine had a batting average of .287 with five home runs and 34 runs batted in. He also had 18 doubles and two triples. Vastine is good shortstop that will continue to improve this season.
Davis Diaz: Third Base
Davis Diaz is a junior third baseman who has started in his first two seasons at Vanderbilt. Diaz is a solid player who has a lot of potential and has developed a ton in his first two seasons with the Commodores.
A year ago, Diaz posted a batting average of .263 with nine home runs and 57 runs batted in. He also had seven doubles. Diaz improved a ton in his sophomore season from his freshman season.
The Vanderbilt infield is going to be very solid in 2024. The Commodores have two juniors who are developing into strong collegiate baseball players, a sophomore that is the best returning hitter on the team, and a freshman that has one of the best hitting tools in his class.