Baseball

2018 Texas Tech Baseball Preview: Pitchers

We take a look at who will likely be starting this season for the Red Raiders and who could make an impact in the bullpen.

Now that we’ve reviewed the schedule and the position players, it’s time to review the pitchers. Here’s the Texas Tech Baseball Preview schedule once again:

TEXAS TECH BASEBALL PREVIEW
Jan. 18 – Texas Tech Baseball Schedule Jan. 25 – Texas Tech Infield Feb. 1 – Texas Tech Outfield Feb. 8 – Texas Tech Pitching Feb. 15 – Texas Tech / Big 12 Predictions

We’ll start with our first two weekend starters, since it’s no secret who those are going to be:

FRIDAY/SATURDAY STARTERS
Steven Gingery (Jr.) Davis Martin (Jr.)
1.58 ERA, 91.1 IP, 10 wins, 107 Ks, .186 BAVG 3.07 ERA, 44 IP, 4 wins, 37 Ks, .259 BAVG

Last Year: Davis Martin was the Friday night starter last year, with Gingery taking on the Saturday role. Martin got hurt during the Wichita State series and was replaced by a fill in starter. Meanwhile, Gingery was unstoppable on Saturday and cruised to a Big 12 pitcher of the year honors. Martin came back to the postseason, but didn’t look completely on during the regional. I bet he’ll return to ace form this season.

My Prediction: Steven Gingery takes over the Friday night role, with Davis Martin taking the Saturday role.

This Year: Maybe Tadlock will keep Gingery in the Saturday role since he did fantastic there last season, but either way, these are your two main starters. Both pitchers post an ERA under three when healthy and are arguably the best one-two punch not only in the Big 12, but in the nation. They are also both projected to go in the top three rounds of the 2018 MLB draft, so this is likely the last year we will get both of these pitchers. Either way, Tech expects to take every series with this duo, but will have to find potential replacements for them next season.

SUNDAY STARTER
Ryan Shetter (Jr.) Erikson Lanning (Jr.) John McMillon (So.) John Henry Gonzalez (So.)
3.71 ERA, 15 starts, 74 Ks, .249 BAVG 3.12 ERA, 7 starts, 18 Ks, .267 BAVG 1.75 ERA, 0 starts, 29 Ks, .143 BAVG 6.52 ERA, 9 starts, 28 Ks, .295 BAVG

Last Year: Ryan Shetter took on the Sunday starter role last season after being an important piece of the bullpen. However, he was often pulled around the fourth or fifth inning because of a high pitch count or ineffectiveness. He did show flashes last season and helped Tech win a few of their deciding series games, which includes his starts against LSU and TCU. Shetter remains an option to be a weekend starter once again.

My Prediction: Ryan Shetter and John McMillon become weekend starters early on, with McMillon taking over.

This Year: Tadlock must’ve had a bunch of four game series early on purposely. With two four game series before Big 12 play, and one right after the Baylor series, Tech will have plenty of chances to find out their Sunday starter. Kendall Rogers mentioned last December that McMillon will get a hard look at the weekend rotation, and with his stuff, Tadlock may ultimately choose McMillon. There are obvious risk when moving a successful bullpen guy into the rotation, but McMillon is young and Tadlock has done this before with players. If he doesn’t translate to a starter well, I bet Tech sticks with Shetter.

WEEKDAY STARTERS
Dylan Dusek (Sr.) Ryan Shetter (Jr.) Erikson Lanning (Jr.) John Henry Gonzalez (So.) Jake McDonald (So.) Caleb Killan (So.) Richard Gilbert (Fr.)
7.47 ERA, 0 starts, 9 Ks, .333 BAVG 3.71 ERA, 15 starts, 74 Ks, .249 BAVG 3.12 ERA, 7 starts, 18 Ks, .267 BAVG 6.52 ERA, 9 starts, 28 Ks, .295 BAVG 5.31 ERA, 3 starts, 17 Ks, .295 BAVG 3.55 ERA, 1 start, 35 Ks, .194 BAVG Freshman from San Antonio Johnson

Last Year: Texas Tech used many weekday starters during the season. John Henry Gonzalez got a lot of starts early on before moving to the weekend rotation due to Davis Martin’s injury. Jake McDonald, Caleb Killan, Caleb Freeman, Erikson Lanning and a couple others saw starting time during the weekday series as well. When you start that many pitchers, you’re giving a bunch of guys a chance and can tell who will be able to step up in the postseason.

My Prediction: Much like last season, many pitchers will get starting time during the season.

This Year: Maybe that answer was cheating because I didn’t give a definitive answer, but I believe we’ll see a combination of the players above during the week. All these players listed above were starting during the Red and Black series minus Shetter and Gonzalez, who have plenty of starts under their belt. Shetter will get the benefit of the doubt if he’s not a weekend start and will get a majority of the starts, with a rotation on the other weekday starts. If Shetter becomes the Sunday starter, then I believe we’ll see a combination with Gonzalez and Lanning getting a lot of looks.

BULLPEN PIECES
Dylan Dusek (Sr.) Jose Quezada (Sr.) Caleb Freeman (So.) John Henry Gonzalez (So.) Jake McDonald (So.) Caleb Killan (So.) Andrew Davis (So.)
7.47 ERA, 9 Ks, .333 BAVG, 2 SVs 3.55 ERA, 52 Ks, .236 BAVG, 4 SVs 8.83 ERA, 15 Ks, 3.47 BAVG 6.52 ERA, 28 Ks, .295 BAVG 5.31 ERA, 17 Ks, .295 BAVG 3.55 ERA, 35 Ks, .194 BAVG, 2 SVs 2.70 ERA, 3 Ks, .000 BAVG

Last Year: The main bullpen pieces last season were Parker Mushinski, Jacob Patterson, Jose Quesada and John McMillon. Mushinski and Patterson went pro after their successful seasons, and McMillon might be moved into the starting rotation. If McMillon does make the move, that leaves Texas Tech with only one of their main bullpen pieces from a season ago. However, most of these guys weren’t big names before last season, so replacing them shouldn’t be a huge challenge. Texas Tech has the depth to be able to replace these pitchers.

My Prediction: Quezada will continue to be a threat in the bullpen, with Killan, McDonald and Davis making big appearances.

This Year: Once again, Quezada will be one of the anchors of the bullpen. Quezada came up big in a lot of moments last season, mostly in a set-up position but occasionally a closer role. If McMillon doesn’t start, I also expect him to make a huge impact like last season (He had a 1.75 ERA with 29 Ks and five saves). Two guys I expect to make big impact in the bullpen this season are Caleb Killan and Jake McDonald. Both have stuff, with Killan’s a little more developed last season. I was talking to Tadlock after a game against Texas, and he mentioned he liked what he saw from Killan, even though he gave up the most runs out of the pitchers. He showed later on in the season that he has a lot of potential and continued to improve. McDonald was a little wild at times, but if he can control his stuff, he’ll be hard to hit out of the pen. I could also see Andrew Davis making an impact this season, despite his lack of playing time last year.

Next week we’ll do a final breakdown of the team and where we expect them to be this season.

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