Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Georgia Tech vs Duke

So this weekend I watched, 5 or 6 college games that I had on the DVR. I didn't watch all of them in their entirety but I watched almost every pitch of one, including every pitch from one pitcher Marcus Stroman.
When I watch college baseball, I expect to see inconsistency, flaws that need repetition to correct. Occasional mental lapses or just flat out inexperienced plays are the norm. Stroman is not the norm. Opposite of Stroman was a big RHP for Georgia Tech, Buck Farmer. He is about 6'4 and 225 lbs and controls his big frame well. That day he mowed down Duke hitters with 11 K's and controlled the game well. He got into a couple tight spots but pitched out of them well. Most games he would have been the star. He was controlling the strike zone and changing speeds to keep hitters off balance. He looked like a late 1st or 2nd round pitcher.
The thing is, that was it. Nothing dominant, nothing memorable. A solid middle to back of the rotation arm is solid but that is all he can be. Days later, I'm still thinking about Stroman.
Marcus Stroman, while not imposing on the mound at 5'9", 190, he is imposing as soon as he throws his first pitch. From an easy delivery, he leans back and fires strikes. In the first inning he may have only thrown one or two pitches other than his fastball. He looked good but not great. GT hitters were making contact though they weren't any damage. Kyle Wren pulled a well struck pitch to right field for a hit. A couple others made solid contact but they were timing the fastball and not doing much with it. This continued all the way through the lineup. The second time through the lineup, Stroman started throwing his breaking ball more and mixing in a very impressive change. The breaking ball was tight, with good break and he was even getting called strikes frequently on it, so it isn't just a chase pitch. The strike outs came in bunches. He worked in the strike zone with all 3 pitches and may have mixed in an occasional cutter as well. It was an impressive showing.
His fastball alone can get good hitters out, as GT has a strong lineup. His breaking ball can be unhittable. His change is much better than I expected and he didn't seem to struggle until his pitch count was in the 90 range. He ended up with 113 pitches according to the box score. He had a professional approach as a starter and didn't use his whole arsenal until he needed it. It showed his maturity and ability to succeed as a starter now and into the future.
After that memorable performance, it's hard to talk about any hitters because many were simply over matched.Wren is a slap hitting CF that has potential to be a top of the order guy. LF Brandon Thomas is an athlete not a baseball player right now. He has a lot of potential due to that. RF Daniel Palka is a big swinging lefty with power and quite a bit of swing and miss. Jake Davies is a big college 1B with power and the usual flaws of a college 1B. Not a great body, not really athletic and has a long swing.
The most impressive GT player may have been freshman Connor Lynch. He looked really good behind the plate and swung the bat well. He could be a fixture behind the dish at GT over the next few years.

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