Vols add four junior college baseball players to signing class

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Tennessee announced four junior college additions to its 2013 signing class in baseball on Wednesday, pushing its incoming player tally to 14.

The additions include three right-handed pitchers and a centerfielder ranked as the No. 9 junior college player by Baseball America in 2013.

Jonathan Youngblood of Meridian (Miss.) Community College becomes the third outfielder in UT coach Dave Serrano’s 2013 class. The Lexington, Ky., native has been selected twice in the Major League Baseball draft, picked in the 15th round a year ago (466th overall) and in the 30th round (926th overall) after his senior year at Lafayette High School.

Youngblood, who batted .288 with 72 runs scored and 48 stolen bases in two years at Meridian, will push to take over leadoff duties in the Vols’ lineup.

“Jonathan is an experienced, slick-fielding outfielder who will come in with a chance to immediately establish himself as a key contributor in our program,” Serrano said in a school release.

Serrano’s three new pitchers — Zac Grotz (College of San Mateo in San Mateo, Calif.), Peter Lenstrohm (Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz.) and Tei Vanderford (Glendale Community College in Glendale, Calif.) — give him nine in the 2013 class, all right-handers.

Grotz transitioned from reliever to starter in two seasons at San Manteo and posted a 7-3 record with a 2.24 ERA last year after starting his college career at Cal State Monterey. He was named All-Coast Conference First Team striking out 55 and walking 19 in 80.1 innings.

Serrano projects Grotz, who attended Burlingame (Calif.) High School, as a starter or closer for the Vols.

“He has a great arm and a very good split-finger fastball,” Serrano said. “We hope and expect him to help add depth and quality to our pitching staff next season.”

Posting a 13-3 record in two years at Yavapai, Lenstrohm is a polished righty reliant on a fastball, curveball and changeup. Lenstrohm, who attended Chaparral High in Paradise Valley, Ariz., posted a 2.72 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 13 appearances last spring.

Serrano called him, “Someone who could come in and quickly establish him as a weekend starter for our program.”

Vanderford went 5-3 with a 1.65 ERA in 12 appearances this past season at Glendale, one of the top junior colleges in California. He attended St. Francis High School in Glendale. He will transfer to UT as a sophomore and could potentially start next season.

“He is a strike thrower with a good arm and is a fierce competitor,” Serrano said.

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Comments » 3

voloffaith writes:

Yes there is a definate need for pitching. Quality pitching is the key. Numbers don't look too bad depending on the competition. Coach Serrano stated," can throw stikes." Yes we were too gracious with free passes if I recall. Throw it and make them put it in play and trust your defense to make plays. Hope these and others mentioned in other article make it through MLB draft.

chipmurphy461 writes:

Great additions, but how did Will Crowe the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Tennessee, who is from Pigeon Forge sign with South Carolina?!?!?!?

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

Sure hope these additions can come in and pitch right away...because this is a make or break year in my opinion for CDS.

Can't play the young & inexperienced card any longer. Hoover is an absolute must in 2014.

Go BaseVOLS!

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