Full disclosure: I got busy. With work, being a dad, and life in general. I’m sorry.
I finally had some time available and thought I would give you my thoughts on Texas Tech baseball’s season, thus far.
When I think of this season, I am reminded of the 1979 hit “The Kids are Alright” by the British rock band The Who.
I don’t mind,
Other guys dancing with my girl.
I know’em all pretty well.
But I know sometimes I must get out in the light
Better leave her behind
With the kids they’re alright
The kids are alright.
Currently through nine games, your Red Raiders are 8-1 and heading into a big weekend in Tallahassee (say it without an accent, I dare you). They will face off against No. 9 Florida State and a single game against a pretty good Florida Atlantic squad.
On that 8-1 record: this squad’s lone loss came on a freezing night in Round Rock against a Tennessee Volunteer team that is currently taking college baseball by storm; complemented with a guy on the mound that Tadlock himself tried recruiting.
The overwhelming storyline of the 2020 season so far has to be the offense. It’s the first thing that jumps off the page - even with “bad” baseball teams they played opening weekend. Say what you want about the level of competition, but scoring 65 runs in the first weekend is elite stuff.
It also probably felt pretty good from the player’s perspective. Not just because scoring a ton of runs is fun (confirmed: good thing), but it answered the question “how are they going to replace the offensive production they lost?”
This team answered it in a big way and as the aforementioned song says, it starts with the kids. Specifically the freshman and newcomers for this Red Raider squad. Nate Rombach was a HUGE get.
The 6-foot-4 freshman catcher is making a statement with a 1.103 slugging percentage (!!!). Rombach leads the team with 20 RBI and six home runs, which includes the one above. I have been watching Texas Tech baseball for a long time, and I cannot recall a ball hit over that part of the ballpark. This kid is impressive and the smooth power swing from the right side is crazy.
Another impressive freshman has been Jace Jung. It’s apparent that Jung is the guy Tadlock has trusted to replace the void left at third base by his brother. Jace has had some stumbles defensively, but it doesn’t seem to be a detriment. Offensively is where Jace has impressed me; currently hitting at a .294 average with a .588 slugging percentage. That’s good enough for right behind Rombach on the team with 14 RBIs.
Jung understands launch angles, because his swing’s pathway from the left side has the PERFECT amount of lift to pitches. If he is given a pitch on a flat plane, he is going to park it over the fence. This is evidenced by his swing he placed on the foul ball that should have been a home run in Round Rock. Jace is currently hitting at a .294 average with a .588 slugging percentage and only behind Rombach for second on the team with 14 RBIs.
As far as pitching goes, the current weekend rotation of Beeter-Bonnin-Becker (or what I have dubbed as the Killer B’s) was probably not the weekend rotation many thought they would see, but so far it has been nothing short of spectacular.
Tadlock has said this squad doesn’t have any shortage of dudes who can hit 90mph on the gun at any given moment, and it has shown. Beeter has shown an almost effortless ability to hit 95mph with a smooth delivery. Other than a small blimp on the radar last Friday night, he has been lights out.
Overall, I’ve been mainly impressed with Bonnin and Becker’s ability to get deep into ball games. The best way to give your bullpen a boost is to have your starter have the ability to go 6 innings every night, and they have shown that ability every time they step on the mound.
Tadlock has also the luxury of bringing in a guy like Micah Dallas out of the bullpen now. I cannot stress enough what kind of luxury it is to have a guy, who would the Friday night guy on every other Big 12 team, be a weapon out the bullpen.
And honestly, that goes for SEVERAL dudes on the Tech pitching staff. It’s so deep, I had to delete some of this writing due to word count and I haven’t even touched on McMillon, Dobbins, Montgomery or Brustoski. This pitching staff is just so deep, and I think that is going to pay some major dividends this season.
Going forward this weekend, I’m interested to see how the Killer B’s perform against more NCAA tournament-level competition and who takes hold of those corner outfield spots that seem to have some competition.
But regardless of result, I think it’s safe to say that the kids are alright.