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Texas Tech Baseball: The Pitchers

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We already took a look at the position players, now we take a look at the pitchers for next season. Who will be the starters and key relievers for next season.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Now you've seen all the position players, but now we'll take a look at the pitchers for the upcoming season. Who will be the Ace of the rotation? Who will be the weekend starters? Who could be the weekday starters? Who will step up in the bullpen? All that answered right now.

The Ace

Cameron Smith (SR.) Started for Tech in postseason, 2.79 ERA, 44 K's, .211 AVG %

Tech loses their ace in Chris Sadberry, so they need a new leader in the rotation. I believe that Cameron Smith will be the Ace for his senior season. He started off last season in the long reliever role, but became a starter towards the end of the season and was starter in the postseason. Cameron was the starting pitcher in Tech's 4-0 victory over Miami to win the Coral Gables Regional and the starting pitcher in a 1-0 win over College of Charleston to advance to the CWS. The New Mexico JC pitcher is one of the top pitchers returning this year, and I think he'll be the ace because of his experience and how he finished the 2014 season. It also gives Tech a LHP in the starting rotation, which can be beneficial. That's why I believe the All-Big XII Honorable Mention pitcher will be the Friday Starter this upcoming year.

Second Starter

Dylan Dusek (SO.) Started for Tech is postseason, 1.94 ERA, 8-0,

Dylan Dusek started his freshman campaign as a weekday starter, but ended up moving to a weekend starter near the end of the season and became a big contributor when the postseason came. Now, Dylan comes back as one of the top pitchers on the roster, despite him only being a sophomore. Impressive. The reason why I predicted that Duesk will be Saturday starter is because he went 8-0 last year (won 12 of 14 appearances if my math is right), was a Louisville Freshman All American and proved last year that he can preform on the big stage. He didn't preform well in his one appearance in the Red and Black series, but maybe he just had a bad start. My bet is we'll see Dusek get the Red Raiders wins on Saturdays.

Third Starter

Johnathan Tripp (JR.) Ty Damron (SO.) Ryan Moseley (SO.) Jacob Patterson (FR.)
2.73 ERA, 16 K's, .250 AVG 5.23 ERA, 10 K's, 1 save 2.84 ERA, 41 K's, .201 AVG Freshman from Berkner HS

This may be a surprise to some people, but I ultimately think that Jacob Patterson, the true freshman, will earn the final weekend starting spot. I know it's strange to have a starting rotation full of left handed pitchers, but from what I've seen and heard, Patterson is doing really well. During the Red and Black series, in 8 IP, he had a 1.12 EA, gave up 5 hits, and struck out 4 batters. The Red Team only won when he was on the mound.

However, I'm not sure who will be the the Sunday starter. Tadlock could want to insert a RHP here to balance his rotation. A prime canidate would be Ryan Moseley, who started in the Regional and CWS. Although both games were losses, they were not Moseley's fault. He did well in both starters. So Tadlock may want the Sophomore from Lubbock Cooper here instead. LHP Ty Damron is another option, but I haven't seen a ton of him. He only pitched 10 innings last year and didn't do very well in those games. RHP Johnathan Tripp could also be here, the junior who had an impressive ERA, but had a 5.00 ERA in his 3 starts. We probably won't know the postseason starter until the season is over with.

Weekday Starter

Dominic Moreno (SR.) Garrett Bruce (JR.) Math Withrow (Jr.)
Former Ace, 3.14 ERA, 56 K's, .252 AVG Transfer from Hill College 5.65 ERA, 42 K's, .255 AVG

All the starters above will likely also be candidates for the weekday start, along with these pitchers. Weekday starts usually change a lot throughout the year, so the coach can look at how various pitchers do and determine would be good starters. So we'll likely see a lot of pitchers here this year.

RHP Dominic Moreno was the Ace last year, but after few bad starts once Big XII started (and a slot Big XII start by the Red Raiders altogther), Tadlock moved Moreno is the bullpen and tired out other pitchers here. We'll see if Moreno can get a starting job back this season. RHP Garrett Bruce was at Hill College last season and played well in the Red and Black series, but was charged with a DWI a few weeks ago. I don't know how Tadlock will deal with this and I don't know if he'll stay on the roster. Matt Withrow started some games last year, but didn't do too well. He could get a shot sometime this season.

Key Relievers

Patrick Mahomes (FR.) Corey Taylor (SR.) Dalton Brown (Jr.) Jackson Lancaster(FR.) Hunter Raley
Freshman from Whitehouse HS .261 ERA, 32 K's, 2 Saves 4.05 ERA, 17 K's, .222 AVG Freshmen from Midland Not listed on roster
Justin Bethard (JR.) Matt Custred (JR.) Sean Thompson (SO.) Heath Harrington (SR.)
7.36 ERA, 7 K's, 7.1 IP 1.2 IP, 5 ER 6.75 ERA, 1.1 IP 0.2 IP, 1 K

Most likely all these guys will see some action, but here is who I think the main relievers will be. Corey Taylor probably comes in as the top reliever. The senior did well as the long reliever last year, having a 2.21 ERA and a 4-0 record when relieving. He's probably Tech's most reliable guy. Dalton Brown also did well last year as a reliever. He had a few bad appearances (hence the bad ERA), but did pretty well for the most part. Finally, I expect Texas Tech's QB to contribute this year. While he won't do too much this year (Spring Practice), he should contribute early on and possibly in postseason play.

Some of the possible starters will also contribute in the bullpen this year. Ty Damron was a 13th round pick in 2013, and has a lot of heat on his pitches. It's possible we'll see more of Ty this year. He didn't have a great ERA last season, but I bet that improves this season. Ryan Moseley had a 2.49 ERA last year as a reliever, and if he doesn't start down the stretch, could be one of the top relievers in the bullpen. Dominic Moreno was used in the postseason last year and didn't give up a single run. If he can't crack the starting rotation, he'll do well as a reliever. Johnathan Tripp is also pitcher that I could see doing well in the bullpen if he doesn't crack the rotation.

Closer

Corey Taylor (SR.) Dominic Moreno (SR.) Ryan Moseley (SO.) Ty Damron (SO.)
2.17 ERA (as reliever), .266 AVG, 2 Saves 2.81 (as reliever), 56 K's, 2 Saves 2.49 (as reliever), 41 K's, 3 Saves 5.23 ERA, 10 K's, 1 Save

Tech loses their closer in Jonny Drozd, who was consistent and proved a reliable arm in the bullpen. Now, Tadlock is looking for another arm to replace him. I believe that these 4 pitchers have the best shot to replace Drozd as the closer. My choice would be Moreno is replace Drozd. He has good speed on his pitches and has a good assortment of pitches to keep the batters guessing. He's also a senior and understands what it takes to wins games. If Moreno isn't the closer, then Moseley would be another good candidate. He did well as a reliever last year and did well in crucial situations. He should be able to take the pressure.