Dec. 28, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Vanderbilt junior third baseman Pedro Alvarez was named Collegiate Baseball's preseason Player of the Year as the publication released its preseason All-American teams this week.
Alvarez led the Commodores with a .386 batting average to go along with 18 homers and 68 RBI en route to unanimous All-American honors a year ago. He led the USA Baseball National Team in hitting for the second straight summer and is listed by Baseball America as the No. 1 college prospect entering the 2008 season. He was the National Freshman of the year in 2006 when he hit .329 with 22 homers and 64 RBI. The New York City resident's career totals include a .359 batting average with 40 homers and 132 RBI with 36 doubles and 13 stolen bases.
Senior Dominic de la Osa along with Alvarez was named first-team All-Americans by the newspaper, while junior shortstop Ryan Flaherty picked up second-team plaudits.
De la Osa led the Commodores with 20 homers in the 2007 season and also batted .378 with 20 stolen bases and 62 RBIs. He was one of only three players in the country to have 20 homers and 20 stolen bases and was also a unanimous All-American selection. The Florida native was drafted in the 10th round by the Detroit Tigers, but returned to Vanderbilt for his senior year after playing in the Cape Cod League over the summer.
Flaherty finished the spring with a .381 batting average to go with four homers, 23 doubles (tied for team high) and 57 RBI. He carries a school record 35 game-hitting streak into the 2008 campaign. The Maine native was a second-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rivals.com and started at second base for the USA Baseball National Team over the summer.
Collegiate Baseball also released its Top 40 poll with the Commodores ranked No. 11 to start the year. Arizona was ranked No. 1 followed by South Carolina at No. 2, Arizona State at No. 3, Ole Miss at No. 4 and North Carolina at No. 5. Other teams of note (Southeastern Conference team or 2008 opponent) ranked in the poll were Oregon State (No. 19), Kentucky (No. 20), Louisville (No. 23), Mississippi State (No. 27) and LSU (No. 30).
Vanderbilt opens the 2008 season against two-time defending champion Oregon State in Tempe, Ariz. on Feb. 22.