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Author Topic: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation  (Read 2355 times)

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ryanfolkes

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Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« on: September 30, 2019, 09:44:15 pm »

As none of you know (because I've never talked about it before) I was the best JV catcher that ever walked the halls of Grapevine High School. Because of that I love talking about pitchers, their "stuff", and their development. If you have the time here is a long, somewhat well thought out post looking at our 2020 pitching situation.

Before we jump into a 2020 discussion I want to take a moment to recap what we had in 2019.

Starting rotation
  • FRI: Isaiah Campbell: 118.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 12-1, 18 games/18 starts GONE
  • SAT: Connor Noland: 78.1 IP, 4.02 ERA, 3-5, 20 games/19 starts
  • SUN: Patrick Wicklander: 66.2 IP, 4.32 ERA, 6-2, 22 games/15 starts

Bullpen (key contributors - 20+ IP)
  • Zebulon Vermillion: 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 4-1, 1 save, 20 games, all in relief
  • Marshall Denton: 30.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2-0, 1 save, 24 games, 4 starts
  • Jake Kostyshock: 30.2 IP, 2.64 ERA, 1-3, 1 save, 22 games, 1 start (primary setup man) GONE
  • Kevin Kopps: 41.2 IP, 3.89 ERA, 6-3, 30 games, all in relief
  • Cody Scroggins: 49.1 IP, 4.01 ERA, 3-2, 19 games, 7 starts GONE
  • Kole Ramage: 60.0 IP, 5.25 ERA, 7-1, 24 games, 2 starts
  • Matt Cronin: 29.0 IP, 1.86 ERA, 1-0, 12 saves, 24 games, all in relief (reliever) GONE

What you might immediately notice is the very scary fact that our 3 best pitchers (by ERA) were all drafted. On the flip side, 2 of our starters are still around, a luxury we were not granted between 2018 and 2019.

Now let's take a look at 2020. Below I have laid out some ideas and some roles for these guys that most people at this time assume to be true. As we are all aware a lot can change between now and Opening Day 2020. Additionally, even if some of these assumptions end up being true, DVH is not above shaking things up after 1 week of play.

Starting rotaton
  • FRI: Connor Noland - Last years Saturday starter, quit football to focus on baseball, mentally built to be an ACE
  • SAT: Patrick Wicklander - Started the season as a midweek starter before taking the Sunday spot, power lefty to follow up Noland
  • SUN: Kevin Kopps - Veteran who has earned the Sunday spot despite not starting a game since 2017
  • TUE: Peyton Pallette - most electric freshman we have, power righty (mid 90's fastball) with a solid breaker, may work into weekend rotation if the opp presents itself
  • WED: TBD - IMO current frontrunners are Caleb Bolden and Caden Monke - Bolden was a primary midweek guy in 2018, Monke has made huge strides over the summer, could come down to whether not not DVH wants a RHP or LHP

Bullpen (key contributors - expecting 20+ IP)
  • Zebulon Vermillion - RHP, flamethrower, used sparingly last year, but expected to make a huge jump this year similar to the jump Kosty made from 2018 to 2019
  • Marshall Denton - RHP, grinder, resilient, finds ways to get out of jams, see him being used in favorable matchups where the Hogs need a HUGE out
  • Kole Ramage - RHP, workhorse, he dipped a little between his FR to SO year, but he's looked extremely sharp this fall, will gobble up a lot of innings, may get a midweek start or two
  • Elijah Trest - RHP, came out of the summer as the front runner to fill Cronin's shoes, throws heat
  • Jacob Burton - RHP, draft eligible sophomore, one of the most electric pitchers we have, throws a lot of strikes
  • Evan Taylor - LHP, big body, powerful, throws gas
  • Collin Taylor - RHP, big body, redshirt junior, veteran presence in the pen
  • Hunter Milligan - LHP, fully recovered from injury that sidelined him in 2018, has looked sharp, I typically don't expect guys to play HUGE roles their first year back, but the lefty depth will be utilized

What I like: Weekend rotation experience - the guy with the fewest number of starts is the Redshirt Senior. I'll take those odds all the way to Omaha.
Biggest question: Who will step up in the bullpen? Kostyshock (primary setup) and Cronin (reliever) are gone. That's two giant roles to fill that will be critical to the teams success.
Nice perk: Left handed depth. Last year we had one LHP in the bullpen and we usually saved him for the end of games. This year it looks like we've got a few LHPs that could be used in middle relief roles.
What I need to see: Secondary pitches in the bullpen. We've got at least 7 guys who can hit 95 on the radar gun. The guy who commands his secondary pitch will be the one Opitz is running out to on the mound in jubilation at TD Ameritrade in June.
What I want to see: The freshmen prove me wrong. I listed ONE freshmen on this list, but their are some guys with amazing potential. Who's gonna be the guy that forwards this Hogville post to me and make me feel like an idiot?

Questions for Hogville:
  • Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the mound in 2020?
  • Who do you expect to make the biggest jump?
  • What's the biggest question you hope to see answered prior to Opening Day?

bulldog04

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2019, 09:58:54 pm »

1. I’m looking forward to seeing Wick on the mound. I want to see if he is able to spot his glove side fastball and not have righties hanging over the plate.

2. I’ve got two answers in Kjerstad and Zeb. I expect Kjerstad to have a Bleday type year and be a top 10 pick. Zeb was filthy in that inning against OU. It’s his time now

3. The biggest question I want to see answered is who will fill Cronin’s shoes and we may not know for a little while. We have several unproven options in Zeb, Trest, Burton and E. Taylor. Bolden might make a closer if he’s ready to go

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navyhog24

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 10:20:34 pm »

Whatever happened to Liam Henry?
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factchecker

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 11:23:15 pm »

Whatever happened to Liam Henry?
Henry is still here but I don't believe he got any reps during the 14 inning scrimmage vs. Oklahoma.

He also struggled with walks in one of the earlier intrasquads but one bad outing isn't indicative of anything.

With that being said, there isn't a ton of breathing room in the rotation.  Too many bad days will not end well.  Hopefully we will be able to look at our bullpen and think:

hogdollar

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2019, 11:28:40 pm »

This should be a pretty good topic and I would also like to say what others have and that you need to keep posting, you bring up some good discussions.
1. For me it's a tie between Noland and Wicklander. I'm excited to see what both have gained and learned from the summer and offseason but I think I'm gonna say Noland only because we saw what he did last year skipping fall ball and splitting time with football so one has to wonder what he can do now that its out of the way.
2. I'm expecting a lot out of Zeb, Trest and Burton. They have the stuff and if all 3 can put it together along with Denton, Ramage and whoever else comes out of the pen on the regular then watch out.
3. You mentioned who are we going to see take over Kostys and Cronins role but I'm honestly more worried about if we have another Scroggins. I wouldnt be upset at all if we saw Kopps start the first couple Sundays then move him back to the pen and let Adams or Pallette takeover and let Kopps have the Scroggins role.

ryanfolkes

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2019, 11:52:17 pm »

I wouldnt be upset at all if we saw Kopps start the first couple Sundays then move him back to the pen and let Adams or Pallette takeover and let Kopps have the Scroggins role.

Reasonable, but if he's rolling let it ride. I'm not overly eager for the next man up, but always hope someone is ready. Last year we were able to move guys around because a freshman (Wick) showed us he had what it takes to pitch on the weekend.

It almost feels greedy thinking another freshman will step up like that again, but we've got the best coaches in the game developing these arms so it's never out of the question.
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ryanfolkes

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2019, 11:54:10 pm »

Whatever happened to Liam Henry?

At this point he just needs to polish a few things and he'll be OK. Had a pretty good summer in Alaska. We definitely need as much left handed depth as we can get.
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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2019, 11:55:07 pm »

1. Peyton Pallette:

Proof that you don't need to be a giant to have a big arm.  Would love for him to take a weekend slot.

2. Kole Ramage:

Ramage struggled last season.  You might say there was more bad than good. However, I can't forget his composure as a true freshman at Omaha (in the game) and that bridge the gap outing against Auburn last season.  It was the premature dogpile game that went 15 innings.  Ramage pitched 4.2 inning and threw 75 pitches.  Would love to see him develop into a long relief guy.

3. What is our approach for midweeks?  Do we pitch non starting veterans or do we choose to develop ---- or both?

I know every game is important but I'd love for us to pitch nothing but freshmen and back from rehabs during the midweeks.  Continue to develop depth.  Use the more experienced guys as quick shots.  Only pitch them 3 innings max (if they need work) so that they can still give eat up innings on the weekend.

ryanfolkes

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 12:08:13 am »

2. Kole Ramage:

I like this. It's almost like we saw his potential in 2018, saw a slight dip in 2019, and now we expect him to take off in 2020. We EXPECT, not hope, and here's why I think that's a fair expectation:

The Ramage-Vermillion 1-2 punch.
Ramage - 6'1", not an overpowering arm, but controls the zone really well
Vermillion - 6'4", throws gas, will challenge hitters

Reminds me of Reindl-Cronin in 2018. Two extremely different pitchers who generally threw back-to-back in games whose styles kept hitters off balanced.

onebadrubi

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 12:14:10 am »

I keep telling myself this staff has to take a step back.  2 seasons ago we were just nasty and mean.  Then Low and behold, we followed it up pretty dang well losing some key arms, like an undefeated starter, a crafty lefty that gave us great starting innings, a reindl, etc.  we come right back and roll an alll the talent in the world but questionable what we would get DUDE and he just goes out and says I dominate Friday’s.  We somehow find scroggins, kopps and kosty throw us 120 innings in weekend and important games.   I think it all will depend on finding that reindl and scroggins guy.  When the starter can’t get through 4 or we need someone to just eat innings on a Saturday or Sunday, they come out and do it with 0 runs and maybe a couple hits.  Our last two seasons have been stellar because those spots didn’t get us killed.  IMO

How can you continue to back this up?  At some point you just have to revert back to normal, above average, SEC pitching, which is only going to place you in the top 25 staffs in the country? 

1.  Burton
2. Burton
Idk why, but just liked this guys stuff.  I think he can be as elite as we’ve seen right up there with Cronin. 
3. HK given chance to lead off.  Ha

factchecker

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2019, 12:20:14 am »

I'll add a note about Mr. Denton.  Dude is tough as nails.  I'm not sure if there is a right handed equivalent of the LOOGY but he might be it.  Get you out of jams.  A janitor that cleans up the mess.

Bruinstyle2001

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 01:11:52 pm »

Nice write up, Ryan Folkes, but no mention of Blake Adams?
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ryanfolkes

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2019, 01:16:31 pm »

Nice write up, Ryan Folkes, but no mention of Blake Adams?

Blake Adam's has looked real sharp so far. Could definitely see him get some meaningful innings. Only reason I left a guy like him (and some other freshmen off) is because idk if they'll surpass that 20 IP mark. Although I hope he does!
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Bruinstyle2001

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2019, 01:19:36 pm »

Blake Adam's has looked real sharp so far. Could definitely see him get some meaningful innings. Only reason I left a guy like him (and some other freshmen off) is because idk if they'll surpass that 20 IP mark. Although I hope he does!

That's fair.  The travel roster is going to be interesting this year -- I wonder if it is going to stay fairly consistent or if we may overweight pitching or hitting week to week.  Last year we only underweighted position players since we only used 13 I believe all year for ABs.  But with the overall competition this fall in terms of pitching and position battles, we may have a less consistent travel roster.
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PorkRyan

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2019, 01:40:36 pm »

Caden Monke is going to end up in the starting rotation at some point this season.  He is the first name I hear when people talk about the pitchers.  He has insane movement on his fastball and he has learned to control it so far.  I'm actually concerned about Noland and Wicklander.  DVH said Noland has been 90-94, yet on the scout gusn he hit 90 twice in the OU game.  Wick was mostly 87-89.  The velocity jumps should happen over the Winter, if they happen.  I'm skeptical if Noland can increase velocity.   He has been working the same velo for 4 years and he is strong as an ox.  They can try and work on flexibility or have him mostly work with a 3 and 4 oz ball to quicken him up, but his arm is already pretty quick. He has the makeup to be a Friday night guy so hopefully he can add a few mph's. 

I'm most looking forward to seeing Monke and how much he has improved, but I also like watching the new guys.  Monke is also the guy I would list as making the biggest jump.  My concern is starting pitching.  We have relied on a formula the last two years that works.  Win Friday night.  We have been spoiled with Knight/Campbell/Cronin and I don't think we have that this year.  I think we have enough arms, more than last year, but I don't think we have the quality at the top.       

PorkRyan

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2019, 01:49:29 pm »

I keep telling myself this staff has to take a step back.  2 seasons ago we were just nasty and mean.  Then Low and behold, we followed it up pretty dang well losing some key arms, like an undefeated starter, a crafty lefty that gave us great starting innings, a reindl, etc.  we come right back and roll an alll the talent in the world but questionable what we would get DUDE and he just goes out and says I dominate Friday’s.  We somehow find scroggins, kopps and kosty throw us 120 innings in weekend and important games.   I think it all will depend on finding that reindl and scroggins guy.  When the starter can’t get through 4 or we need someone to just eat innings on a Saturday or Sunday, they come out and do it with 0 runs and maybe a couple hits.  Our last two seasons have been stellar because those spots didn’t get us killed.  IMO

How can you continue to back this up?  At some point you just have to revert back to normal, above average, SEC pitching, which is only going to place you in the top 25 staffs in the country? 

1.  Burton
2. Burton
Idk why, but just liked this guys stuff.  I think he can be as elite as we’ve seen right up there with Cronin. 
3. HK given chance to lead off.  Ha

Our pitching took a small step back last year.  Our ERA was .35 higher which moved us from 3rd to 7th in the SEC.  K's were up but so were walks.  OBA was better in 2019, though.  The .35 could have just been back luck when you look at the K rate and OBA.   
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Bruinstyle2001

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2019, 01:51:04 pm »

DVH said Noland has been 90-94, yet on the scout guns he hit 90 twice in the OU game.  Wick was mostly 87-89.       

I tend to trust the data DVH and Hobbs give more than the radar guns due to it being usually what they are seeing on the Trackman and Rapsodo data.
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factchecker

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2019, 02:23:58 pm »

Blake Adam's has looked real sharp so far. Could definitely see him get some meaningful innings. Only reason I left a guy like him (and some other freshmen off) is because idk if they'll surpass that 20 IP mark. Although I hope he does!
Blake has power at the plate as well.  I know Evan Lee hit and pitched some but Blake might be our equivalent of Aaron Schunk (Georgia).  However, instead of playing in the field he might DH and relieve.
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ryanfolkes

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2019, 03:06:01 pm »

Blake has power at the plate as well.  I know Evan Lee hit and pitched some but Blake might be our equivalent of Aaron Schunk (Georgia).  However, instead of playing in the field he might DH and relieve.

Schunk took on that role at Georgia because he mashed AND he was their best reliever. If Blake mashes AND becomes our best reliever I could see DVH entertaining the idea.

Last fall Trest pitched and hit as well, but by the time the season came around he was dedicated to pitching. Unless a player is exceptional at both they tend to gravitate one way or another, which, if anything, is a testament to how much talent this team has. We don't need a guy who we rely on to "do it all".

It reminds me of one of my favorite Ron Swanson quotes.

Bruinstyle2001

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2019, 05:08:37 pm »

Schunk took on that role at Georgia because he mashed AND he was their best reliever. If Blake mashes AND becomes our best reliever I could see DVH entertaining the idea.

Last fall Trest pitched and hit as well, but by the time the season came around he was dedicated to pitching. Unless a player is exceptional at both they tend to gravitate one way or another, which, if anything, is a testament to how much talent this team has. We don't need a guy who we rely on to "do it all".

Come on, people! How soon we forget that Zack Cox closed games and hit for us as a freshman and Michael Gunn also was a two-way player that was a late inning reliever. 
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gmarv

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2019, 05:20:56 pm »

this is a good thread.What is ya'lls thoughts on how much improvement should we expect from Wick and Nolan?
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EconHawg

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2019, 05:43:41 pm »

(1) Connor Noland.  I'm a sucker for Arkansas kids, and this one gets a chance to shine on Friday nights this year.  I'm hoping for a pretty big step forward in consistency from him with the transition from part time to full time baseball.  I also love his style of pitching, it's more democratic. 

(2) Z Man. The man with the million dollar name.  Does the arm have the same value? I think so. He's going to get a chance this year to take on a big role in the bullpen if he can rise to the occasion. A big man with a big 4 seamer waiting at the back end of the pen will strike fear into the hearts of teams trailing in late innings.

(3) In terms of pitching, I'm anxious to see Bolden on the mound again. There's a lot of potential there if he's back on track health wise.  My biggest question overall is how Goodheart's rehab has progressed by this spring.  Will he have full range of motion/strength by then? Will his swing mechanics still be where they were last year?
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Wisco Pig

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2019, 05:52:34 pm »

(1) Connor Noland.  I'm a sucker for Arkansas kids, and this one gets a chance to shine on Friday nights this year.  I'm hoping for a pretty big step forward in consistency from him with the transition from part time to full time baseball.  I also love his style of pitching, it's more democratic. 

"Strikeouts are boring—besides that, they're fascist."

ryanfolkes

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2019, 05:54:52 pm »

Come on, people! How soon we forget that Zack Cox closed games and hit for us as a freshman and Michael Gunn also was a two-way player that was a late inning reliever.

While it is true Zack Cox was a two way player his freshman year, his sophomore year he only hit. Here's a look at his #'s between his freshmen and sophore year.

FR: 57 games, 53 Hits, 20 Walks, 65 Strikeouts, .266/.345/.558
SO: 59 games, 102 Hits, 34 Walks, 37 Strikeouts, .429/.505/.609

Slight dip in power between his freshman and sophomore year, but I'd say he was overall a better hitter after he quit pitching, almost twice as good.
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Bruinstyle2001

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2019, 08:53:57 pm »

While it is true Zack Cox was a two way player his freshman year, his sophomore year he only hit. Here's a look at his #'s between his freshmen and sophore year.

FR: 57 games, 53 Hits, 20 Walks, 65 Strikeouts, .266/.345/.558
SO: 59 games, 102 Hits, 34 Walks, 37 Strikeouts, .429/.505/.609

Slight dip in power between his freshman and sophomore year, but I'd say he was overall a better hitter after he quit pitching, almost twice as good.

A large part of the reason Cox only hit in 2010 was the draft class we brought in of pitchers that year (and also returned that year). That class became the core of the the 2012 and 2013 teams that were national leaders in ERA. So they let him just hit since his MLB future was hitting and it would be his last college year.

But the real reason for the productivity increase I believe was the coaches also asked Cox to change his approach as a hitter between 2009 and 2010. In 2009, with several big bats peppering the lineup, we could trade off average to tap more into his power and live with more swing and miss potential. In 2010, with fewer returning bats, the coaches asked him to hit for average and get on base. He probably became the best dink and dunk hitter I have seen until Jake Mangum (Miss State) or Austin Miller (Vanderbilt) in recent years.
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thehill1414

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2019, 08:43:39 am »

I thought I remembered DVH saying Caleb Bolden will be back this year after injury in 2019. Maybe that isn't the case, but he wasn't bad as a freshman in 2018. I'd expect him to be in the bullpen rotation if he is indeed on the team and healthy this year.

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navyhog24

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2019, 10:25:17 am »

To have Bolden and Milligan back is great. They both showed promise.
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Tortfeasor

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2019, 11:43:15 pm »

I believe we NEED a freshman arm to step up and take some meaningful innings. Some of guys got hit hard last season and I hope they make the jump. Would be huge for a freshman or two to come in and light it up.
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Pudgepork

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2019, 12:15:44 pm »

Hogs might not have the dominant Friday night winner in 1 person but the amount of experience returning is impressive.  As a staff they can dominate since offensive production should be quite impressive. 

I hope to see much improvement from all upperclassmen and would love to see 2 frosh pitchers who are too good to sit.
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PorkRyan

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2019, 09:40:40 am »

I believe we NEED a freshman arm to step up and take some meaningful innings. Some of guys got hit hard last season and I hope they make the jump. Would be huge for a freshman or two to come in and light it up.

Pallette seems to be the Freshman who had the best Fall.  Monke is the returner who has made the most improvement from last year.
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Bruinstyle2001

Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2019, 10:46:33 am »

I am really interested to see who steps up and wants to be the closer and setup men this year.  I think those people that want to fill the roles of Scroggins, Kostyshock, and Cronin will be the key to our success this year.  We should have plenty of depth to fill out the starter roles, but the bullpen will determine our conference and overall record. 
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thebignasty

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Re: Rotation formation & Bullpen collation
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2019, 11:36:06 am »

We will have plenty of solid/capable arms on the staff this year, the question is which if any of these arms will jump up a category to elite.   I think we probably need a couple of elite guys on staff to navigate the SEC unless we just absolutely mash this year.
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