The No. 14 Florida Gators ( are back home after taking two out of three against the Auburn Tigers this past weekend. Florida will host one of the top teams in the country as the Vanderbilt Commodores come to Gainesville.
The No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores have one of the most complete teams in the country. Vanderbilt has one of the best pitching staffs and lineups in the country.
The Commodores have the lowest team-ERA in the SEC with a 2.89 ERA. Their team ERA also ranks sixth in the country. A big reason why Vandy’s pitching staff is so elite is that they have the top two pitchers in the country. As for their offense, Vanderbilt has the second-ranked offense in the SEC with a .300 team batting average only behind Ole Miss.
Here are five Vanderbilt Commodores to watch against the Gators.
RHP Jack Leiter
Sophomore Jack Leiter is the son of former MLB All-Star pitcher Al Leiter and is also the top rank prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft. Just about every MLB Mock Draft has Leiter as the projected No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 MLB Draft.
During the 2021 season. Leiter has made ten appearances and all of them have been starts. Leiter has a 7-1 record with a 1.49 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 15.2 K/9, and a .115 opponent batting average.
Jack Leiter also threw a no-hitter for the Commodores earlier this season as he pitched nine innings allowing no hits, no runs, one walk, and 16 strikeouts. The draft-eligible sophomore has a four-pitch mix with some of the most explosive pitches in the country. Leiter’s best pitch is his fastball that sits 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 with its vertical break. His 12-6 curveball is his best secondary pitch that he can throw for strikes and gets hitters to chase at. His slider and changeup are also plus pitches that he can throw for strikes.
OF Isaiah Thomas
The 6’3” 210-pound corner outfielder is one of the most complete hitters in the SEC. The third-year sophomore has been had a very productive career for Commodores since he arrived on campus and is considered to be a Top 100 prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft.
In his junior season, Thomas is slashing .316/.386/.607 with 37 hits, six doubles, five triples, six home runs, 20 RBIs, four stolen bases, and a .993 OPS. Thomas also has a perfect fielding percentage as Vandy’s everyday right fielder.
On MLB Pipeline, Thomas is the 69th ranked draft prospect in this upcoming draft. He has five-tool potential as his only tool that isn’t a plus tool for Thomas is his hit tool. Thomas is also cousins with NBA legend Tim Duncan and a projected second-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
RHP Kumar Rocker
Kumar Rocker is a name college baseball fans have heard since 2019 and Rocker comes into Gainesville as Vanderbilt’s Friday night arm. Just like Leiter, Rocker is one of the top prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft and was projected to be the first overall pick before the season.
During his junior season, Rocker has put up video game type numbers just like his teammate, Jack Leiter. Rocker has made ten starts for Vanderbilt this season as has posted a 9-1 record with a 1.55 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 12.5 K/9 and a .143 opponent batting average.
On MLB Pipeline, Kumar Rocker is the third-ranked prospect and the second-ranked pitcher in this draft class only behind Leiter. Rocker has a three-pitch mix but his fastball and slider are very advanced pitches. Rocker’s fastball sits 93-96 mph and tops out at 99 with some run and sink.
His mid-80s slider is a deadly off-speed pitch, which could the best breaking ball in the country. As for his changeup, Kumar has a solid changeup and has good command of it but it’s not at the same level as his fastball and slider.
OF Enrique Bradfield
While outfielder Enrique Bradfield might not be considered a top draft prospect this year, he was one of the top high school prospects last draft class and is one of the top freshmen in the country with elite bat-to-ball skills, speed, and defense.
The true freshman out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida has had a huge freshman season and is one of the top hitters in Vandy’s elite lineup. During this season, Bradfield is slashing .331/.460/.392 with 43 hits, four doubles, two triples, 27 walks, and leads in the nation with 30 stolen bases.
Bradfield is Vanderbilt’s leadoff hitter and an extremely dangerous hitter. The left-handed-hitting has elite level speed and is very smart on the base paths. Bradfield has only been caught stealing twice and could easily turn a single into a double if an outfielder is caught slacking off.
C C.J. Rodriguez
The final Vanderbilt Commodore to watch for against the Florida Gators this weekend is catcher C.J. Rodriguez. The California native is one of the top overall catchers in the country as he’s produced offensively and defensively.
During the 2021 season, Rodriguez is slashing .326/.488/.500 with 30 hits, four doubles, four home runs, 21 RBIs, 23 walks, six hit by pitches, and a .988 OPS. Rodriguez is third on the tea in hitting but is the club’s leader in on-base percentage.
Just like everybody else on this list, C.J. Rodriguez is also considered to be a top draft prospect. On MLB Pipeline, Rodriguez is the 142nd ranked prospect in their Top 150 Draft Prospect list. Vanderbilt will be a great test to see where the Florida Gators rank among the best in the country.