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Georgia Tech Baseball: Positional Breakdowns - P

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Tech returns a pitching staff that had an inconsistent year in 2018, but is poised to break out in 2019

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

Today, we’re talking about the most up-and-down unit on the field for the Jackets: pitcher. Who will star in the weekend rotation? Will Tech establish consistency at the mound?


2019 Roster (Pitchers)

Bold indicates players with appearances at P in 2018

  • Xzavion Curry (Junior)
  • Tristan English (RS Junior)
  • Cole Neuber (Sophomore)
  • Jonathan Hughes (RS Junior)
  • Dylan Biumi (Graduate)
  • Hugh Chapman (Sophomore)
  • Cort Roedig (Freshman)
  • Jake Lee (Senior)
  • Keyton Gibson (Senior)
  • Robert Winborne (Senior)
  • Jake Brace (Sophomore)
  • Micah Carpenter (Senior)
  • Amos Willingham (Junior)
  • Jake Friedman (Freshman)
  • Andy Archer (Junior)
  • Nick Wilhite (Junior)
  • Will Shirah (RS Freshman)
  • Brant Hurter (Sophomore)
  • Luke Bartnicki (Freshman)
  • Walker Barlow (Freshman)
  • Joseph Mannelly (Sophomore)
  • Sam Crawford (Sophomore)
  • Connor Thomas (Junior)
  • Oscar Serratos (Sophomore)
  • Cameron Turley (Sophomore)
  • Jamie Taylor (Sophomore)

Here’s how those returners fared in 2018:

Returning Pitching 2018 Stats

Player Throws Position W L WPct ERA G GS GR CG SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 K-BB RA9
Player Throws Position W L WPct ERA G GS GR CG SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 K-BB RA9
Andy Archer R RP 4 0 1 3.64 26 0 26 0 3 47 43 22 19 3 17 41 1.28 8.23 0.57 3.26 7.85 2.41 4.21
Robert Winborne R RP 0 0 0 4.5 19 0 19 0 0 16 18 10 8 2 6 12 1.5 10.13 1.13 3.38 6.75 2 5.63
Connor Thomas L SP 7 4 0.636 3.34 16 15 1 3 1 97 90 42 36 5 10 106 1.03 8.35 0.46 0.93 9.84 10.6 3.9
Tristin English R SP/RP 2 4 0.333 4.11 16 9 7 0 1 57 68 27 26 6 13 51 1.42 10.74 0.95 2.05 8.05 3.92 4.26
Xzavion Curry R SP 8 4 0.667 4.18 15 15 0 1 0 92.2 79 44 43 17 23 101 1.11 7.67 1.65 2.23 9.81 4.39 4.27
Brant Hurter L SP/RP 5 4 0.556 6.04 14 11 3 0 0 53.2 62 36 36 3 23 56 1.6 10.4 0.5 3.86 9.39 2.43 6.04
Jake Lee R RP 0 0 0 9.68 14 2 12 0 0 17.2 31 22 19 5 5 28 2.09 15.79 2.55 2.55 14.26 5.6 11.21
Jonathan Hughes R RP 0 3 0 5.94 13 1 12 0 1 16.2 21 16 11 2 17 11 2.35 11.34 1.08 9.18 5.94 0.65 8.64
Keyton Gibson R RP 2 1 0.667 5.94 12 1 11 0 0 16.2 16 14 11 1 12 12 1.73 8.64 0.54 6.48 6.48 1 7.56
Micah Carpenter R RP 1 1 0.5 3.94 12 0 12 0 0 16 15 8 7 2 5 8 1.25 8.44 1.13 2.81 4.5 1.6 4.5
Hugh Chapman R SP/RP 0 1 0 9.6 12 3 9 0 0 15 24 17 16 1 12 14 2.4 14.4 0.6 7.2 8.4 1.17 10.2
Bailey Combs R RP 0 0 0 6.1 11 0 11 0 0 10.1 9 7 7 1 7 10 1.58 7.84 0.87 6.1 8.71 1.43 6.1
Joseph Mannelly L RP 0 0 0 9.45 10 0 10 0 0 6.2 3 7 7 2 6 5 1.45 4.05 2.7 8.1 6.75 0.83 9.45
Oscar Serratos R RP 0 0 0 8.1 5 0 5 0 0 3.1 5 8 3 0 2 3 2.26 13.5 0 5.4 8.1 1.5 21.6
Will Shirah SP/RP 0 1 0 9.95 4 1 3 0 0 6.1 8 8 7 1 9 10 2.79 11.37 1.42 12.79 14.21 1.11 11.37
Jake Brace R RP 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 20.25 0 0
Cameron Turley R RP 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 9 0 9 9 1 9
Pitching stats for every player who appeared on the mound for the Jackets in 2018 and will be returning in 2019. Stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube

The Tech pitching staff did not lose a whole lot this offseason, with everyone other than senior relievers Ben Schniederjans, Jared Datoc, and Bailey Combs returning for another season on the Flats. Of those three, Datoc will be the most sorely missed, given that he posted a 4.86 ERA with 21 allowed runs in 26 relief appearances for Georgia Tech, despite a H/9 of 12.15.

Coach Danny Hall ended the season with a steady weekend rotation of Tristin English, Xzavion Curry, and Connor Thomas, and it seemed to work fairly well; English and Curry would put together serviceable performances on the mound to open the weekend, and Thomas would usually slam the door shut on opponents on Sunday (more raving about all three guys here). Freshman (now sophomore) Brant Hurter usually took the mound for weekday games.

But serviceable isn't necessarily preferable or consistent, and when things went bad for the Jackets on the mound, they went really bad. Take, for example, a game last March versus Clemson. Now granted, Tech’s bats couldn’t muster up much of anything and Clemson was ranked #6 at the time, but starter Hurter had trouble finding the strike zone and got shelled so bad in the first inning (3 H, 7 R, 3 BB for 6 batters faced) that Coach Hall had to pull him for Datoc afterward. Not ideal, not ideal at all.

But when the rotation was hot, things went really, really well for Tech. Xzavion Curry pitched a 12-K CGSO versus Wake Forest late last April, and Connor Thomas did him one better (well, five better) the next day, posting a 17-K CGSO in another win over Wake. These guys have the potential to be a very, very special pitching staff, but if Tech wants to make the NCAA tournament in 2019, they have to be more consistent.

And to do so, they'll have some help - Coach Hall and his staff put together the nation’s #24-ranked 2018 recruiting class (per Perfect Game), featuring highly-touted pitching prospects Luke Bartnicki (the #34 overall player and #3 LHP in the nation) from Marietta, GA and Cort Roedig (the #261 overall player and #98 RHP in the nation) from Orlando, FL. If you don’t believe the hype, just read the scouting reports Perfect Game put together - first, for Bartnicki:

Fastball topped out at 94, jumps on hitters due to lack of effort, very consistent in the strike zone with angle. Slider has shown tremendous improvement, sharp and late at 94 mph, potential plus pitch, can throw his slider to spots. Flashed two present plus pitches and the difference in his breaking ball is eye opening.

And now, for Roedig:

Fastball topped out at 92 mph, mostly straight but stays on top of it well and creates some angle. Threw both a slider and a curveball, slider is short and tight with short sweeping action, curveball has a bigger 11/5 shape, both are solid pitches to build from. Velocity is up significantly over the last year and could keep improving.

These guys are really good and garnered a lot of national (and even professional) attention. If Roedig can improve his velocity this season and Bartnicki can fool college batters with his breaking ball and MLB-speed fastball, there’s no reason that the Georgia Tech rotation shouldn’t have a massive improvement in 2019.

Predictions

I am not at all an expert on pitching, but if I had to guess, I’d say English moves back to playing 1B this season and Bartnicki takes his spot in the weekend rotation. Hurter and Roedig are in the mix for weekday starts. Relief pitching is a bit of a toss up — who replaces Datoc’s production? Archer had as many relief appearances as Datoc last year (26) with a lower ERA (3.64 to 4.86), but who steps up behind him to setup Tech’s closer? And who closes for the Jackets? Gibson, Chapman, Winborne, Carpenter, and Hughes seem like good pieces to solve that pitching conundrum for Coach Danny Hall.

In short, things could look something like this (players ordered alphabetically, not in order of possible appearance):

Rotation

  • Luke Bartnicki, LHP
  • Xzavion Curry, RHP
  • Brant Hurter, RHP OR Cort Roedig, RHP (weekday)
  • Connor Thomas. LHP

Relievers

  • Andy Archer, RHP
  • Micah Carpenter, RHP
  • Hugh Chapman, RHP
  • Keyton Gibson, RHP
  • Jonathan Hughes, RHP
  • Robert Winborne, RHP

But even with a glut of talented arms and a variety of ways to order them, the Jackets really need one thing: consistency — consistency to start games, consistency in relief, and consistency to close out games. Georgia Tech has the potential to shut down opposing lineups day-in and day-out, but will they be able to at a consistent-enough clip to get them to the postseason for the first time since 2016? Well, we’ll find out soon enough.


For continuing coverage of the run-up to the 2019 baseball season, click here.

What are your thoughts about the pitching staff? Let us know below!