So if you will remember to last year when I wrote this preview piece, I made my predictions, and then LITERALLY 39 MINUTES LATER, the team announced, via Twitter, their opening weekend rotation. That caused my predictions to be wrong.
This year I won't have to worry about that, as the team announced their opening weekend rotation yesterday.
Needless to say, that makes this article so much easier. So let's go ahead and take a look at these three guys that will get the first shot at being the weekend starters.
Getting the opening day start for the Yellow Jackets this year will be junior Brandon Gold, a right-handed pitcher. Gold was arguably the team's best pitcher last season. He finished 7-3 with a 3.26 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 35 walks in 85.2 innings pitched.
Over the summer, Gold wasn't really able to replicate the success he found last season. He started two games and didn't receive a decision in either one. He finished with an ERA of 5.68, one strikeout and six walks in 6.1 innings pitched. There was a positive, from his summer, though, as he also finished with an opponent's batting average of .190.
Taking the Saturday start is Jonathan King. The redshirt-junior lefty has been a solid pitcher in Tech's rotation for as long as I have followed Tech baseball (so, the last two years). He finished last year 4-5 with a 3.82 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 21 walks. Batters had a .257 batting average when facing him.
King was able to have a solid summer, finishing 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 12 walks in 38 innings pitched. Batters teed off on him a little bit more though, hitting .297.
Getting the final spot is true freshman Jonathan Hughes. Hughes appeared with the East Cobb Yankees over the summer, but managed only one appearance: one full inning of relief where he gave up no hits, one walk and had no strikeouts.
Over the course of his high school career, Hughes was pretty solid. He carried a 1.37 ERA and 222 career strikeouts through his career.
"Predicted" Starters: Brandon Gold (Fri.), Jonathan King (Sat.), Jonathan Hughes (Sun.)
There's definitely a fair amount on players on Tech's roster that could fill this position, but I'll be focusing on just a couple of them: senior Cole Pitts, junior Ben Parr and junior Tanner Shelton
Tanner Shelton has been a solid pitcher for Tech in his career, though mostly out of the bullpen. Last year, he made 22 appearances (all out of the bullpen) and finished 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA, 20 strikeouts and 17 walks, in 16.1 innings pitched.
He managed to improve those numbers a little bit over the summer, where he made six appearances (one start) and finished 0-1 with a 5.26 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 10 walks in 13.2 innings pitched.
Cole Pitts had a bit of a rough season last year. After starting out the season in the rotation, Pitts had what seemed like endless bad appearances before he was finally pulled from the rotation. Throughout the whole season, it never seemed like he could find any kind of control. He finished the season 0-6 with a 6.90 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 32 walks in 45.2 innings pitched.
Pitts didn't get any work done over the summer, but he had a solid appearance in the White-Gold series. He started one game (his sole appearance) and went 3.0 innings, giving up no runs on one hit, while striking out four batters and walking two.
The final option for the midweek starter is junior Ben Parr. The lefty had a solid year for the Jackets last year, finishing 5-4 with a 4.53 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 34 walks in 59.2 innings pitched.
Parr had some struggles with control last year, and those struggles followed him into the summer, where he finished 0-1 with a 1.92 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 11 walks in 18.2 innings pitched (11 appearances, two starts).
This is actually a pretty tough choice. I think it'll come down to either Pitts or Parr, but I'm going to err on the side of experience here and go with Cole Pitts.
Predicted Starter: Cole Pitts
Fortunately, this is a pretty easy prediction since Georgia Tech had a pretty good closer last year that is coming back for another year on the Flats in Zac Ryan.
The fire-throwing righty had a very good season last year, finishing 9-1 with a 3.59 ERA, seven saves, 40 strikeouts and 15 walks in 47.2 innings pitched (28 appearances).
Ryan went on to have a solid summer, though he wasn't the closer for his team. He finished the summer 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 13 walks in 28 innings pitched (12 appearances, one start).
There is a chance that Ryan could end up being the midweek starter, but I just honestly don't see that happening. He's much too good of a closer, and I think he's only going to get better.
If that were to happen though, I think they would look to Jared Datoc or Patrick Wiseman to get the job.
Predicted Starter: Zac Ryan
How will the pitching staff shake out?