Reds/Cards/Braves

Dansby Swanson, aren’t you Charlie Culberson?

The Braves seem to be having problems with people telling Dansby Swanson apart from teammate Charlie Culberson. (photo by Mike Morrow)

A noteload on former Vanderbilt players, who remain plentiful in pro baseball:

It’s not uncommon for someone to mistake former Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with his Atlanta Braves teammate Charlie Culberson. A lot of people think they look alike.

It happens so often the Braves’ marketing department has created a bobblehead that’s half Dansby, half Charlie. That’s one bobblehead, split down the middle, between two guys, who look alike. The attention seems to be the thick curly hair in the back of the head. Photos are included here, so judge for yourself.

Culberson
(photo by Mike Morrow)

They’re calling it the Swanberson bobblehead. The giveaways will be handed out, 15,000 of them, on Tuesday, June 11, when the Braves play the Pirates.

Swanson was the No. 1 pick overall in 2015 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He joined the Braves in 2016 and batted .238 last season in 136 games, all at shortstop.

Culberson is from Calhoun, Ga., and was drafted by the Giants in the first round in 2007. He played in 113 games for the Braves last season, batting .270, mostly at third base, shortstop and left field. Swanson also played high school ball in Georgia, at Marietta. …

… It says plenty when the general manager of the team says you’re the highlight of the club’s spring training camp, especially when you’re young and trying to win a job. Former Vanderbilt pitcher Kyle Wright is there now.

Wright, 23, is a rookie, drafted in the first round by the Braves in 2017. He made his big-league debut last September.

“Kyle Wright has been unbelievable, the highlight of camp,” Anthopoulos said. “Tremendous stuff. Three outings in a row, he’s just been electric. He’s as good a young arm as you’re going to find in Florida.”

Swanson
(photo by Mike Morrow)

Veteran starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, who joined the Braves last year coming over from the Orioles, told Justice the first thing he noticed was how big the young pitchers are. Wright is listed at 6-4, 200 pounds. …

… Another former Vanderbilt pitcher getting attention from club management is Tyler Beede with the San Francisco Giants. A report from Bay Area NBC noted Beede’s velocity is up to 97 mph, and management is seeing results from his fastball they haven’t seen in the past. Club president Farhan Zaidi has had great things to say about Beede this spring, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, “He’s just had a terrific spring. It looks like he’s on a mission to show he’s put a lot of hard work in.”

This could be a crucial year for Beede. He was the Giants’ first round draft pick in 2014, but he has had control problems that have kept him in the minor leagues. Baseball America ranks Beede only the 28th best prospect in the Giants’ system. The Street & Smith’s Baseball preview for 2019 ranks him 30th for the club, calling him a “perennial prospect.”

Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said of Beede on KNBR 680, “He looks like he’s a first-round pick this year, ready to make a contribution.” Putting Beede in the bullpen is also a possibility. …

… Former Vandy pitcher Walker Buehler hasn’t pitched much this spring, but he isn’t injured. The Dodgers from all accounts are simply trying to save his arm. The numbers pointing to the need to go slow on the 24-year-old right-hander are that he pitched 88 2/3 innings in 2017 but ramped up to 177 innings last season. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers expect Buehler to be fully ready when the season begins. …

Culberson
(photo by Mike Morrow)

Baseball America ranked Fulmer the club’s seventh best prospect in 2017, then listed him 13th in 2018, and he had a poor season. His record last year was 2-4 with an 8.07 earned run average. …

…Still another former Vanderbilt pitcher, Carson Fulmer, may be headed to the bullpen for the Chicago White Sox.

He has had tightness in his neck and shoulder. VerHagen was 3-3 with the Tigers last year with a 4.63 ERA. …

… Former Vandy pitcher Drew VerHagen of the Tigers got off to a rough start in spring training and is experiencing symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. According to mlb.com, VerHagen said, “I kind of had some symptoms similar to what you could call ‘dead arm,’ or you could call it similar to the TOS stuff I had a couple years ago.”

David Price threw three good innings in his spring training debut for the Red Sox. According to mlb.com, manager Alex Cora called Price’s performance “excellent. Velocity, command, presence on the mound. He looked good for the first one.” ….

… Yet another former Vanderbilt player, veteran slugger Pedro Alvarez, has been in the Miami Marlins camp, but it’s unclear if he will make the club. Alvarez, who played six years for the Pirates before playing the last three with the Orioles, signed a minor-league contract with the Marlins in December. He hit only .180 last year. Alvarez has a career batting average of .236 with 162 home runs.

Swanson
(photo by Mike Morrow)

Mlb.com pointed out that Alvarez played only 13 games in the field in the last two seasons. Alvarez has not been known for his defense, although he has been known for working hard to improve it, but with no designated hitter in the National League, Alvarez’s value to the youth-oriented Marlins would appear to be that of veteran influence. Alvarez is 32. …

… Former Vanderbilt catcher Curt Casali, now with the Cincinnati Reds, is recovering from hip surgery. He expects to be ready by Opening Day. Casali appeared in 52 games for the Reds last season and hit .293 with four home runs. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 10th round in 2011. His first big-league appearance was in 2014 with the Tampa Bay Rays. …

… Non-roster invitee Ryan Flaherty hit a home run early in spring training for the Indians. The former Vanderbilt infielder played in 81 games for Atlanta last year, hitting .217. …

Mike Yastrzesmski was a non-roster invitee to the Orioles big-league camp, but he’s headed back to the minors. Now 28, Yastrzemski, drafted by the Orioles from Vandy in 2013, told Doug Fernandes of the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota that people’s connection between him and his grandfather, Carl Yastrzemski, the Hall of Famer, surprisingly seems to be wearing off.

“The generations are starting to change,” he said. “So there are a lot of people who don’t know who he is, which is kind of shocking. People don’t really watch old-school baseball like they used to. People have kinda started to lose that.”

Categories: Reds/Cards/Braves

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