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Texas Tech Baseball Offseason Review

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It's been 4 months since we last saw Texas Tech Baseball, so what have they been up to? We take a look at their fall practice, recruiting efforts, and what we might see this Spring.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

This year at VTM, we're going to try to focus more on the baseball team. Along with the weekend thread, you'll get analysis after weekday and weekend series along with baseball recruiting. Expanding is awesome. The purpose of this post is to give y'all an update on how the team is doing on the field and off the field. Let's get started:

Eric Gutierrez's Home Run Derby:

After Texas Tech's performance in the College World Series, Eric Gutierrez was invited back to Omaha to participate in the Home Run Derby. He did more than participate. Eric Gutierrez broke the 1st record, shattered the HR record by 18 HRs after the first two rounds and finished 2nd place overall. He had 52 homers in the contest, 11 more than everyone else there. Just outstanding numbers. Here is my story about Gutierrez and his rise from back in July.

Texas Tech Fall Practice:

Texas Tech started it's fall practice near the end of September, trying to figure out who is was going to be playmakers for this Texas Tech squad next year. They had a few scrimmages throughout the fall, and luckily I was able to attend one them. Here are my thoughts and notes from the scrimmage:

  • Tanner Gardner did well during the scrimmage. He ripped a ball to the Left Center wall and stretched a double into a triple. He's a guy I could see compete for the final OF position and become a key reserve player for the Red Raiders
  • Anthony Lyons seemed to struggle defensively on the day. He missed played a ball down the 3rd base line and missed a catch in Left-Center (although it did have some difficulty).
  • Eric Gutierrez and Cameron Smith did not play in the scrimmage. It was likely to give other players more practice rather than injury or lack of skill.
  • I couldn't tell who a lot of the players were ,but it seems like Texas Tech got bigger players. Their new baseball recruits have a lot of size, some with power. There was some left handed hitter than launched a ball over the right field wall in batting practice, but I couldn't figure out who it was.
  • The combo of Long, Porudfoot and Burleson looks better than ever. Going to be hard getting an hit past these guys.
  • Tyler Floyd was starting at catcher for one team while a new, 6'2"ish catcher was playing for the other team. I'm not sure who is was, but it may have been the new catcher from New Mexico JC (I can't remember this name).

Also, Texas Tech will have it's annual Red & Black scrimmage starting this week. The dates are Oct. 20th, 21st, 28th, 29th and 30th. All times will be at 3:30pm. It will be open to the public and people can attend if they wish to do so. Here are the starting pitchers for the games:

Red Pitcher Black Pitcher
Game 1 LHP Dylan Dusek (SO) LHP Cameron Smith (SR)
Game 2 LHP Jacob Paterson (FR) RHP Jonathan Tripp (JR)
Game 3 TBD TBD
Game 4 TBD TBD
Game 5 TBD TBD

I'll put updates on the pitchers as they are announced and give my review on the games if I have time. This is the week right before classes are dropped, so I've been in study mode for a majority of the weekend and this week.

Put it on the Board! Baseball Recruiting:

Put it on the Board is now more than an annoying saying the White Sox announcers say after they hit a home run. It's now Tadlock's saying after he picks up a new commitment. It's similar to Jason Reed's #Boom for Football or my "Warning Challenger Approaching" for football and basketball recruits. Here's the tweet:

For the 2014 Recruiting Class, Texas Tech finished with the 13th ranked class in the nation. They have some hard throwers (Patrick Mahomes, Quinn Carpenter, Parker Mushinski) and some playmaking positional players (Tanner Gardner, Rudy Martin). Here is my post on that recruiting class from back in June.

This year I said I would focus more on baseball recruiting. While I've written about a few commitments thus far, I haven't been able to write about all the commits. Here is a look at who is committed thus far in the 2015 class:

Trenton Clark - Outfielder (Richland HS, Fort Worth, TX)

Height Weight 60 yard dash Bats / Throws
6'0" 200 lbs 6.4 Left / Left

Trenton Clark may be the biggest prospect to ever commit to Texas Tech. He currently the 38th ranked player in the nation, is an Under Armor All American, Perfect Game All American and on the 18U (18 and under) USA Team. Pretty damn impressive. According to Rivals, Clark "is one of the nest five-tool prospects in the country." and "Has a plus arm and hits the ball to all fields with power". Now unfortunately for Texas Tech, when a prospect is rated so high in baseball, they are likely to be drafted high and go pro. Currently he is the 23rd best MLB Prospect according to FanGraphs.com. They say he "first appears to be a tweener with 50 raw power, 55 speed and a 45 arm, but he's ranked more than any prep bat his summer". If he ends up at Texas Tech and not on an professional roster, it would be a huge addition for the Red Raiders. Here is some film on Trenton Clark, along with an RBI during the Perfect Game All American game.

Antonio Santillan - Right Handed Pitcher / Shortstop (Seguin HS, Arlington, TX)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'3" 195 lbs 90 -94 FB, Power Slider Right / Right

Antonio Santillan is another huge prospect for the Red Raiders. Antonio is the 63rd ranked player in the nation and was named to the Perfect Game Underclassmen All-3rd Team in 2014. He throws in the 90's and is also a good Shortstop (although he'll be a pitcher when he comes to Texas Tech). Antonio was 2nd-team DH in District 4-5A as a freshmen and was an All-District SS as a Junior. Although, like Clark, being rated high could mean he goes pro. I haven't seen a mock draft with Santillan drafted yet, but he go early because of his high ranking. If he does get to Lubbock, he'll be a threat in the Big XII. I couldn't find any video on Santillian unfortunately.

Erikson Lanning - Left Handed Pitcher (Sequoyah HS, Woodstock, GA)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'2" 165 lbs 87-93  FB, 74 CB, SL, 78 CH Switch / Left

Erikson Lanning committed to Texas Tech a month ago, becoming the highest rated LHP in the class and  the 228th player overall in the 2015 class. He was named to the All Georgia 2nd Team and made the Pre-Season All American 2nd Team as a junior. Erikson throws his Fastball in the high 80's to low 90's, has a Curveball at 74 mph, a change-up at 78 mph and a Slider. I don't think Lanning would be in a position to leave if he gets drafted, but some high school players will go pro if they get drafted in the later rounds. Here is a video on Erikson Lanning pitching.

Ty Harpenau - Right Handed Pitcher (Southside HS, Fort Smith, AR)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'1" 175 lbs 88-92 FB (w/ Sink), 76 CB, 78 SL, 82 CH Right / Right
Appearances Innings Pitched ERA Record Strikeouts Walks
6 games 27.2 2.28 3-2 39 15

Ty Harpenau committed to Texas Tech at the beginning of September, giving the Red Raiders another valuable and the 359th ranked player in the nation. Ty has four pitches in his arsenal, with a 92 mph Fastball, a 76 mph Curveball, 78 mph Slider and an 82 mph Change-up. During his junior year, he posted a 2.28 ERA with a 3-2 record while throwing 39 K's and 15 BB's in 6 games. He would've thrown more, but got injured according to this article. Ty made the Perfect Game Underclassmen 2nd Team as a Junior despite his injury. He'll likely be drafted but still end up at Texas Tech. Here's some film of Harpenau throwing the baseball.

Bret Mathis - Left Handed Pitcher (China Spring HS, Waco, TX)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'0" 175 lbs 87 FB, 76 CB, 80 CH Left / Left
Record ERA
10-2 1.58

Texas Tech went in Baylor's backyard to grab Bret Mathis, a LHP from China Spring HS in Waco. His pitches consist of an 87 mph Fastball, 76 mph Curveball and a 80 mph Change-up. I couldn't find any stats from his junior year, but in his sophomore year he went 10-2 with a 1.58 ERA for his High School team that went to the semi-finals. Wacotrib.com described Mathis as a "strike-chucking flamethrower who will man the team's number one spot.". It also stats in the article that he threw a no-hitter in which he struck out all 21 batters. BanditosBaseball says Mathis has "topped out at 91 mph" and "has a lot of upside...future draft pick". Impressive stuff. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any film on Mathis.

Cody Farhat - Outfielder (Plano Senior, Plano, TX)

Height Weight Bats / Throws
5'11" 175 lbs Right / Right

Cody Farhat committed to Texas Tech a while back and has been playing well so far in high school. During his sophomore campaign, he made all-district, and was the district MVP his junior year. Unfortunately for Farhat, it looks like he won't be playing his senior year of baseball. He tore his ACL playing football, and due to the recovery time of the injury, he probably won't play his senior year. He partisipated in USA's Torunament of Stars during the summer, in which he was 4-13 from the plate with 5 stolen bases. Here is an article on him playing USA baseball. I couldn't find any film on him.

Tyler Fowler - Shortstop (Clebrne HS, Cleburne, TX)

Height Weight Bats / Throws
6'0" 170 lbs Switch / Right

Tyler Fowler has been committed to Texas Tech for a while and as of now is the only middle infielder this class. He is a switch hitting shortstop that has also seen time as a RHP and 3B. He was his county's MVP as a sophomore and 3rd team All-State (4A) as a DH his junior year. He has also been a shut-down pitcher for his team, including throwing a shut-out 3 hitter one game. I could not find any film currently on Fowler.

Braden Williams - Catcher (Nimitz HS, Irving, TX)

Height Weight Bats / Throws
5'9" 160 lbs Left / Right
AVG OBP SLG OPS BB K's RBI 2B & 3B HR Steals
.381 .583 .654 1.193 22 13 20 6 & 4 3 13 of 17
Fielding % Put outs Assist Errors Passed Balls Steals
.909 8 12 2 3 3 of 6

Braden Williams is the lone catcher for the 2015 class and actually from my hometown of Irving, TX. He is a catcher and pitcher for the Nimitz Vikings, hitting an impressive .381 with 20 RBIs and 3 HRs. He also threw out 50% of base runners when at catcher. You can see Braden pitching stats here. They aren't bad either. He was an Honorable Mention to Perfect Game Underclass team in both his sophomore and junior year. All of his film on his hudl account but are set to private currently.

Ryan Shetter - Right Handed Pitcher (Friendswood HS, Friendswood, TX)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'2" 190 lbs 84-86 FB, 75 CB, 79 SL, 78 CH Right / Right
ERA AVG
2.33 .310

Ryan Shetter picked the Red Raiders over schools like Dallas Baptist (big baseball school) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi this summer. He had a 2.33 ERA this past season and hit .310 behind the plate as a 3rd Baseman. According to yourhoustonnews.com, He was named the defensive player of the year for his district. One of the big reasons why he choose Texas Tech was because he liked the school, thought it was a good fit and the fact that they went to the College World Series.

Tyler Duck - Left Handed Pitcher (Liberty Christian HS, Flower Mound, TX)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'1" 185 lbs 81 FB, 71 CB Left / Left

Tyler Duck committed to Texas Tech roughly a month ago, becoming the 3rd LHP in the 2015 Class. I couldn't really find any information on Duck at the time, and I still haven't found any information yet. There are stats from his sophomore year, but it doesn't look like they're accurate.

Matt Bernstein - Catcher / 3rd Baseman (Marcus HS, Flower Mound, TX)

Height Weight Bats / Throws
5'11" 180 lbs Right / Right

Matt Bernstein committed to Texas Tech a couple weeks ago, and brings plenty of versatility. He played Catcher, 3rd Base and Shortstop in high school for his 6th ranked High School team. He was 2nd Team All-Ctacher as a junior. I could not find any film or stats on Bernstein

Davis Martin - Right Handed Pitcher (Central HS, San Angelo, TX)

Height Weight Pitches Bats / Throws
6'1" 220 lbs 88-92 FB w/sink, Power Slider Right / Right

Davis Martin is another Right Handed Pitcher that committed to the Red Raiders. Davis is a 1st Team All-District Pitcher from San Angelo who is a 1st Team All-State Pitcher at the 5A level (according to Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association). He throws a 88-92 mph FB with some in sink in it along with a power slider. I couldn't find any stats or video on Martin.

Who is Going to Start Next Season?

A majority of the players are returning this season, but 3 key position players in the playoffs are gone along with a starter and a closer. Texas Tech will need some returning and new player to step it up, and here are some players that could do so (Just a reminders, these are all guesses, not facts).

Starting Line-up

1. CF Stephen Smith (SO) - He may not be the fastest player, but he gets on base. Simply as that. In fact, he had a .417 OBP in the regular season, good for 6th in the Big XII. He draws walks and gets on base, which is what you want your lead-off man to do.

2. 2B Bryant Burleson (SR) - This is the same position Burleson was at last season. Byrant can advance Stephen Smith with a long ball or bunt and try to get him over. He batted .272 last season and had 37 RBIs, which is pretty good stats for a 2nd Baseman. If Burleson doesn't work out, I could see here is Anthony Lyons, who is good at advancing runners.

3. LF Tyler Neslony (JR) - Neslony returns to the 3-hole this season after hitting an impressive .375 last season. He would've lead the Big XII if did get injured for significant time. Neslony had 34 RBIs in 45 games last season and got on base in front of the players with the 1st and 3rd most RBIs last season.

4. 1B Eric Gutierrez (JR) - Of course Gute is going to be at the 4th spot. He lead the Big XII in RBIs and HRs last season and with the same tandem ahead of him, he should be able to produce those numbers once again. Maybe this year he'll lead the Red Raiders to a Big XII title and win Big XII player of the year.

5.  DH Anthony Lyons (SO) - Anthony Lyons has a big body at 6'5" and has had the most experience in the regular and postseason. He only had 2 XBH in 70 ABs last season, but hopefully he'll have power number and replace Adam Kirsch. If not, Matt Broadbent or Tanner Gardner could replace Lyons. Broadbent had 6 XBHs in 2014, while Gardner had 5 HRs and several XBH in High School.

6. SS Tim Proudfoot (SR) - Tim Proudfoot missed a lot of the season with an injury, but he still finished with a .309 AVG and was a valuable bat at the bottom of the order in the postseason. He should get a respectable AVG and RBI numbers this season and be great defensive player for the Red Raiders.

7. 3B Ryan Long (SO) - Ryan Long replaced Jake Barrios in the playoffs and was big performer for the Red Raiders. I expect Long to do better this season playing 3rd. He will be able to use his great glove and range to improve an already great infield. He batted only .212 last season, but I believe he'll do better at the plate this season.

8. C Tyler Floyd (JR) - Floyd saw a lot of time last year as a back-up catcher and will now be starter after Hunter Redman went pro. He's got a great arm that can throw out baserunners and an average bat. He's at the bottom of the order, so he isn't expected to do a whole lot on the offensive end.

9. RF Zach Davis (JR) - Zach Davis was a key pinch runner last season and I think he would be a great replacement for Devon Conley this season. Like Conley, Davis is fast and is a threat to bunt or sacrifice at any time. He only got 30 ABs last season, but he did have a .367 AVG. Not only that, but he has a descant glove. Tanner Gardner and Alec Humphries could also play the outfield

Starting Pitchers:

Ace: LHP Dylan Dusek (SO) - Dusek came into last year as a freshmen and played extremely well, having the 4th lowest ERA in the Big XII at 1.94. He didn't lose a single start, posting an 8-0 record in 14 games. He also was lights out in the regional and super regional, not allowing a single run in two games.

2nd Starter: LHP Cameron Smith (SR) - Cameron Smith started off the season last year as a long reliever, but has proved that he can be valuable starter for the Red Raiders. He had a 2.79 ERA last season, improving as the season went on. He pitched a crucial regional final against Miami. He could also be the ace for the Red Raiders.

3rd Starter: RHP Ryan Moseley (SO) - Mosley went from the bullpen piece to a starter late in the year like Smith and pitched well in the regionals and College World Series. Moseley has a good fastball and I believe he'll take the next step and become even better next year. He was taken in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB draft and has a lot of upside.

4th Starter: RHP Matt Withrow (JR) - Matt Withrow was a starter at the beginning of last season but lost his starting spot late. He had a not so good 5.65 ERA and a 3-3 record. I think he returns as a starter this season and tries to get back to 2nd starter he was at the beginning of last season. Another guy that could be here is Johnathon Tripp, who was a starter late into the year or Jacob Peterson, who is starting Game 2 in the Red and Black series.

Long Relief: RHP Johnathon Tripp (JR) - I think who ever doesn't become the 4th starter ends up being the key long reliever for this team. Tripp had a 2.73 ERA last season and made some starts later on.

Short Relief: RHP Dominic Moreno (SR) - The former ace was moved to the bullpen last season after he struggled as a starter and couldn't seem to get back to form. He still had a respectable 3.14 ERA last season and pitched some eye innings in route to Ohama. With Moreno's assortment and movement on his pitches, he would be a valuable reliever for Texas Tech.

Closer: LHP Ty Darmon (SO) - Even though Ty had a bad 5.23 ERA last season, I think he takes over as the closer this season. He was drafted in the 13th round in 2013 and has a deadly fastball. Darmon has the tools to become a great pitcher, and with Ray Hayward as the pitching coach, I think Darmon shuts down opponents this year.

Well 3,500 words later, my offseason review is finally over. I believe that Texas Tech will be a #1 seed this year in the NCAA Baseball Tournament and make it back to the College World Series this season. I think TCU will win the Big XII title, but the title is definitely in reach for Texas Tech. It'll be a fun season, with reliable players and talented new recruits, and I can't wait for it to start. The season begins February 13th, only 4 months away.

Who's ready for some Red Raider baseball?