Baseball

TTU BSB 2019: Can Gabe Holt Make The Sophomore Jump?

We dive into what kind of jump Holt can make in year two. Also, a recap of the opening series against Oregon and how the rest of the Big 12 fared.

One trait that makes Tadlock a good coach is his ability to development talent. Of course, most freshmen don’t start or play much so the only way to go is up. But I’m not talking about the Ryan Mosley’s or Caleb Freeman’s, guys who didn’t get much playing time early but turned in contributors later in their careers.

I’m talking about those freshmen who step on the field Day One as starters and are almost expected to make big impacts right away. I’m talking about the Steven Gingery’s, the Josh Jung’s, the Grant Little’s. And possibly the next guy in that category, Gabe Holt.

Most freshmen that Tadlock starts begin their collegiate careers near the bottom of the line-up and work their way up. Not Holt. The second highest rated Tech commit of the 2017 class (Trevor Rodgers was No. 1, but went pro after being drafted No. 13 overall by the Marlins) was the lead-off hitter from the start thanks to his speed and his advanced understanding of how to get on base.

Well, if you look at impact, talented freshman who had great starts to their careers, for the most part, their stats improve tremendously the next year. We’ll look at Gingery, Jung and Little’s stats from year one to year two. I would include Martin, but the injury messes with his numbers a little bit (Slash Line = AVG/OBP/SLG, RP = Runs Produced).

IP ERA K’s BB’s BAVG
Gingery (2016) 68 3.18 63 31 0.246
Gingery (2017) 91.1 1.58 107 29 0.186
Slash Line RP XBH HR’s FLD%
Jung (2017) .306/.395/.453 92 22 6 0.979
Jung (2018) .392/.491/.639 137 35 12 0.953
Slash Line RP XBH HR’s FLD%
Little (2017) .335/.405/.476 84 22 2 0.982
Little (2018) .370/.462/.642 127 40 12 0.983

In comparison, here’s what Gabe Holt did his freshman year. Obviously he’s only played three games into his campaign so I’m not posting his numbers here. I also included stolen bases because that’s a huge part of his game.

Slash Line RP XBH HR’s FLD% SB’s
Holt (2018) .348/.440/.485 108 22 6 0.965 29

He’s already off to a hot start in this season, putting up similar numbers in the first weekend. Although the runs produced and extra base hits weren’t as good as the beginning of last year, he’s getting on base more and is giving the defense fits on the base paths. Not to mention now there’s a scouting report on him and he’s playing Oregon instead of Maine.

Holt was arguably the third best hitter on the team last year and the best clutch hitter in the postseason, but I bet we’ll see him step up into that undoubtedly second best hitter behind the future Top 10 pick.

The category I’m not quite sure he’ll improve on his is home runs, as he chokes the bat a lot for better contact. Since he’s a speedster, he can beat out some ground balls for hits. However, he did have six home runs last year, the same as Jung his freshman year, so maybe we could see double digit homers this season.

Either way, it’s going to be fun to see the improve Gabe Holt has in store for year two. Unfortunately for us, he is a draft eligible sophomore like Grant Little was, so chances are this is his last season. Enjoy him while you can. Now time for a short series recap:

Ladders:

  • Gabe Holt – I think all of us expected Gabe Holt to make a jump, but he was absolutely unbelievable this past weekend. He batted .444/.667 with four runs and six(!!!) stolen bases, which is more than a fifth of what he got last year. His defense looks amazing too, making a diving catch to start Game 3 and playing great defense. He has the third most putouts behind a catcher and first baseman, who will always lead those categories.
  • Josh Jung – Jung may not have had the best average and OBP, but that wasn’t his fault. Jung had three hard hit balls in Game 1 that were hit right at outfielders. Unfortunate. Despite that, he hit .333/.500/.545 with a team high four RBIs, including a go-ahead one on Sunday. This is why you intentionally walk perhaps the best player in baseball. He also made a typical Jung play in the field.
  • Braxton Fulford – Fulford didn’t start Game 1 (which I didn’t like), but he started the last three games and showed his worth. He gunned down three runners, had a slash line of .500/.571/1.500 and had three key RBIs in Game 2, including two homers. In comparison, he had one homer all of last season.
  • Tanner O’Tremba – O’Tremba was part of two key played over the weekend. He scored the game winning run after pinch hitting in Game 2, and had a huge opposite field homer in Game 3 to tie the game. He almost had a couple other homers this series.
  • Doug Facendo – You know that feeling of “If only we can get this guy up”? Well despite only playing a few games, I got that feeling early on with Facendo. He batted .400/.667/1.200 with a home run, three runs and two RBIs. He had a big home run on Saturday to give Texas Tech life.
  • Dylan Neuse – Neuse was another newcomer that caught my eye. Neuse was getting on base a ton to start the weekend and ended with a .364/.500/.545 slash line. He had a key triple in Sunday’s game to get the rally started.
  • Mason Montgomery – Yes, I know he has a 6.75 ERA. But watching the game, I feel two of those weren’t his fault. There was a incredbily big hop off a hit that allowed one run to score, and he other was due to bad fielding by the infield. Liked what I saw from the freshman.
  • Dane Haveman – What a comeback for Havemen. He was injured for the second half of last year, but came back this series and pitched three huge scoreless innings when Texas Tech really needed it. He’s a lefty out of the pen the Red Raiders need.
  • Taylor Floyd – Floyd pitched three scoreless innings and had the most K’s out of all the pitchers thus far with five. The downside was his BAVG was .417, which has to decrease. More hits equals more opportunities for runs.
  • Trey Garlett – When Texas Tech was down big in Game 2, they needed a pitcher to come in a throw scoreless innings. The Lubbock-Cooper pitcher did just that. He gave Texas Tech three scoreless innings and an opportunity to catch up before leaving after 3.1 IP, two K’s and one run.
  • Kurt Wilson – When Wilson got into the game last year, I typically thought it was over because he had struggles locating his pitches, which lead to a lot of walks. He had a great first couple innings before two HBP and leaving the outing. Positive improvements.

Chutes:

  • Max Marusak – Marusak didn’t have his best series to open his college career. He batted .200/.333/.200 with a bunt hit and a stolen base. He struck out three times in six plate appearances and got pulled in Game 2 and didn’t start Game 3. I still think he’ll be good, just a rough start to his career.
  • Cole Stilwell – Stilwell started Game One, but after going hitless and allowing nine stolen bases in his first outing, Fulford took over at catcher. Tadlock likes defensive catchers, so allowing that many stolen bases probably isn’t going to bode well.
  • Caleb Kilian – The ace of the staff looked good for about 2.2 IP, and then started to fall apart. He allowed three runs with two outs in the third inning, then had three earned runs in the fourth. There were a lot of hard hit balls off him on Friday. Hopefully it’s just a bad outing because they need Kilian.
  • Bryce Bonnin – Another rough start for a newcomer. In just 0.1 IP, Bonnin allowed four earned runs and two unearned runs. Didn’t watch that first half inning, but four walks with just one out isn’t good.
  • Ryan Sublette – Four pitches, three hits. That should tell the story right there.
  • Erikson Lanning – Lanning’s first outing back from injury didn’t go as planned. In 1.2 IP, he gave up two earned runs and two unearned, which includes a key error on him.

Tidbits:

  • I tired to keep the ladders at a 10 maximum. I went with 11 because there was a lot of new faces and felt I needed to include them. But even though piching wasn’t a strong suit this weekend, shout out to Ryan Keese, Caleb Freeman, Clayton Beeter and Connor Queen for scoreless outings. McMillon also had a 0 ERA, but struggled a bit his first outing despite no earned runs.
  • Texas Tech could have lost three games and easily walk into next weekend with a winless record, but despite being down 8-0 and down 4-1, they came back and won. This team doesn’t quit, a common trait among most Tadlock teams.
  • This is perhaps the worst opening weekend I’ve seen out of the Red Raiders since I started attending their games my freshman year in the spring 2014. However, a 2-1 record isn’t bad, especially against a PAC-12 school. Going to be cautiously optimistic the next couple weekends.
  • The school record for most stolen bases in a season is 51 by Matt Kastelic in 1996. It’s still way too early, even though I’m saying it anyway, but Holt has six and is on pace to break it right now. Although, as I said, still a long ways away.
  • I usually side with replay because I want to get the call right, but man the replays in Game 3 took forever, and only one was reversed. The games were already long this weekend and that made it even longer. Give them just one challenge instead of two, so they are more cautious about using it.

Big 12 Standings:

The Big 12 teams looked basically how we expected them to look after the first weekend. The exception may be Texas Tech, whom most probably thought would win four games or three games easily, which definitely wasn’t the case.

Also, Oklahoma probably looked a little better than most thought. Baylor, TCU and Texas all had impressive weekends and look like the top team in the conference like most thought. Meanwhile, West Virginia dropped two games and the Kansas schools look like they’re in a real bad situation.

Conference Record Overall Record
Baylor 0-0 4-0
Oklahoma 0-0 3-0
Texas Tech 0-0 2-1
TCU 0-0 2-1
Texas 0-0 2-1
Oklahoma State 0-0 2-1
Kansas 0-0 1-2
Kansas State 0-0 1-2
West Virginia 0-0 1-2

Big 12 Results:

  • Baylor vs Holy Cross – Baylor started off the season with easy victories over Holy Cross, who was predicted to finish fourth out of six teams in the Patriot League. They averaged 8.5 runs a game while allowing 2.75 runs. On the down side, they lost potential Top 5 MLB draft pick Shane Langeliers for a few weeks.
  • Kansas at USC Upstate – Not that it’s a surprise to anyone, but the Jayhawks are not going to be good at baseball. They just lost two out of three games to a USC Upstate team that is predicted to finish at the bottom of the Big South. They did play on the road, but a bad start for Kansas.
  • Kansas State at Charleston Southern – If Kansas’ opening weekend was bad, Kansas State’s wasn’t much better. They dropped two out of three games to a CSUN team that is projected to finish in the bottom half of the Big West. It was on the road as well, but still not a good result.
  • Oklahoma vs Cal Poly  – The other lone undefeated team thus far is the Sooners, who won their games in a four game series with a Cal Poly team that’s one of the better teams in the Big West. They only averaged around six runs a game, but dominated pitching wise at two runs a game.
  • Oklahoma State at UTRGV – The Cowboys won their series against the Vaqueros 2-1. They dominated the first game 10-3, but fell in the second game. However, they were able to win the rubber match thanks to dominant pitching. Tech defeated UTRGV 3-1 last year and will play them in a two game series in late April.
  • TCU at MLB4 Tournament – Despite not having the best record after the first weekend, the Horn Frogs were perhaps the most impressive team in the Big 12 thus far. They lost by two runs to a Top 25 Cal State-Fullerton team, defeated a good Virginia team by five, the destroyed No. 1 Vanderbilt by eight. Impressive.
  • Texas at Louisiana-Lafayette – If TCU had the most impressive opening weekend, then the Longhorns were just behind them. Texas went on the road to play a Louisiana-Lafayette team that has been good in recent years and is projected to finish second in the Sun Belt. They took the first game 3-1 in extra innings, won the second 6-5 and lost the third 6-8.
  • West Virginia at Atlanta Challenge – This was the third Big 12 team to finish the weekend with a losing record. They lost by a couple runs to a Kennesaw State team that’s supposed to finish in the middle of the ASUN, destroyed a Georgia Southern team that’s supposed to finish in the middle of the Sun Belt, and lost in extras to Georgia Tech team projected to finish in the bottom half of the ACC.
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