After completing a historic season, Tennessee baseball is now having a historic offseason. The Vols’ success on the recruiting trail, in the MLB Draft and with Tony Vitello himself has made for arguably the best past two days in offseason history.
The initial big news for the Vols was on the recruiting trail. Chase Burns, an elite in-state right-handed pitcher from Gallatin, Tenn., revealed on Monday that he would not sign with a team in the MLB Draft and instead head to Rocky Top to play for UT.
Burns’ decision is a huge deal for Tennessee baseball and its No. 6 ranked recruiting class to make sure this program keeps going. The Vols had three elite commits taken in the MLB Draft in Brady House, Ryan Spikes and Dayton Dooney.
House and Spikes are both five-stars and went 11th to the Washington Nationals and in the third round to the Tampa Bay Rays respectively. While House is unlikely to play for the Vols, the news of the week could get better if Spikes and Dooney decide to play for UT, and Spikes hinted that he would with this tweet Monday.
Speaking of the MLB Draft, Tennessee baseball also had its most successful showing ever in that event. Seven players selected overall is the second-most in program history. However, what really stood out was Rocky Top setting a program record with five players selected in the first 10 rounds.
Chad Dallas went in the fourth round to the Toronto Blue Jays. Liam Spence and Max Ferguson went in the fifth to the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres respectively. Connor Pavolony and Jake Rucker went in the seventh to the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins respectively. Jackson Leath went in the 12th to the Texas Rangers, and Sean Hunley went in the 19th to Tampa Bay.
Beyond the recruiting successes and the showing in the draft, though, the big news came Tuesday. Danny White made sure to lock in Tony Vitello beyond next season, assuring he likely won’t be leaving Rocky Top anytime soon.
Vitello inked a contract extension through the 2026 season. This was part of extensions for nine coaches Danny White announced Tuesday. His new salary has been increased to $1.5 million a year, according to Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.
So let’s recap. Tennessee baseball scored huge on the recruiting trail with key talent actually set to play in orange next year. The Vols also made history in the MLB Draft. Finally, they have locked up the coach responsible for all this and their recent trip to the College World Series.
Taking that all into account, it’s safe to say this was the best two-day period in offseason history for the program. UT’s momentum continues beyond just making deep postseason runs, and that’s a big deal for this program.