College Podcast: Tennessee's Tony Vitello Talks 2021, Garrett Crochet
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by Tennessee coach Tony Vitello to talk about his program's momentum heading into 2021, his approach of using players in a variety of roles and getting the most out of his roster, Garrett Crochet's success and coaching Max Scherzer at Missouri.
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Life has been good on Rocky Top for the Volunteers baseball team the last couple of years. In 2019, they broke through to a regional for the first time since 2005, and in 2020, they raced out to a quick start and finished the abbreviated season 15-2. Breakout performances from outfielder Zach Daniels and infielders Liam Spence, Jake Rucker and Max Ferguson at the plate had a lot to do with the fast start, as did the pitching of lefthander Redmond Walsh and righthanders Jackson Leath and Chad Dallas.
There are plenty of reasons for optimism for Tennessee going into 2021. Crochet and Daniels were drafted, as was outfielder Alerick Soularie, but the core of the 2020 team is back in place. The SEC is a tough conference that doesn't often allow for downtrodden programs to pick themselves up and become contenders again, but it appears that Tennessee is in the middle of doing just that.
Among the topics discussed on this episode are:
- How much momentum the program has going into 2021
- What was behind the leaps made by certain players from 2019 to 2020
- What has made Frank Anderson one of the best pitching coaches in college baseball for more than 30 years
- What has Vitello most excited about the 2021 season
- How the Vols used a number of different pitchers in a number of different roles in 2020
- Outfielder Jordan Beck as a potential breakout player
- What's resonating on the recruiting trail for Tennessee
- The comparison of the program development at Missouri while Vitello was an assistant there compared to what has transpired at Tennessee in the last couple of years
- Coaching Max Scherzer
- His favorite St. Louis-area Italian restaurant and favorite sandwich