Matt, Clay (or anyone): Potential Pitching Improvements

Three years ago, Reindl and Loseke made significant improvement in the last part of the season and helped ensure our post season run to the CWS Finals.

Do you have similar expectations of any particular players on this year’s staff?

They will have to if they are to make a real run in OMA if they can get there

Noland will probably just be rounding into form about tourney time. I bet a couple of others do as well.

Monke has electric stuff when he’s on and if Wiggins can learn to have better control and master his offspeed pitches he can be really really tough,Morris is another that has really stuff and can be very good,Trest also has potential to get it going,Noland and Vermillion both can be very good so we have a lot of potential in this bullpen just got to fine tune some things

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It’s hard to say. I think there are a half-dozen or so pitchers (Bolden, Vermillion, Noland, Trest and Monke to name some) who have the potential to make that kind of second-half jump. Whether they will, who knows?

Loseke and Reindl provided some needed long relievers to set up Cronin in 2018. Kostyshock and Scroggins did the same thing the next year, but it took Wicklander stepping in as a starter for Scroggins to move to the bullpen. He started four SEC games.

The key, I think, is to get three starters established. There has been so much mixing and matching to offset for the short starts that back-end tendencies haven’t been established, aside from Kopps pitching in a lot of critical situations.

This team already has a great long reliever in Kopps, so I think the need is maybe one more good long-relief type, and maybe a traditional closer who is a good swing-and-miss type and who can take some stress off of Kopps at the back end. Wiggins has shown that potential, but SEC teams have made him labor through some outings. I think Vermillion has a good closer mentality, but he hasn’t been asked to do that this year. Trest and Costeiu were a couple of others who I thought were closer types before the season.

I think Lockhart, Vermillion and Noland are all good long-relief options if they aren’t starting. All seem to do a good job the first time through the order and don’t need to throw a lot of pitches to get outs.

I’ve thought about Kostyshock and Scroggins this week when thinking about Noland and Vermillion. In 2019, Kostyshock and Scroggins each sat out a couple of weeks due to arm soreness, then came back strong in the back half of the season. It is similar timing for when Vermillion and Noland will return, although Noland is a little different situation because he hasn’t pitched in so many weeks.

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I’m posting this separately because I don’t want to give the illusion that I think he is being considered in the same roles as the pitchers highlighted above, but I think there is a growing role for Heston Tole in more important situations.

The coaches have really liked his strike-throwing ability and how he hasn’t backed down against hitters in practice. They gave him an inning at the end of the Texas A&M blowout last week to see how he would respond, and he responded well.

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I was about to mention Tole. He has great tools. I think he’s going to be special but probably be next year.

Vermillion is the one I think will bring some really good innings to the second half of the season. Bolden might, too.

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