AStateNation visited with Arkansas State Red Wolves pitching coach Caleb Longshore about the team’s projected lineup for the season, which begins Friday at Alabama-Birmingham.
Looking at the overall staff it will be interesting. We have a couple of younger guys coming in who I think will have a good chance with what we are going to try and do this year. Obviously, we have Tyler Zuber who we feel is slated to be The Guy on the mound this year and who can go out and set a good tempo. We also have two seniors, Adam Grantham and Cody Jackson, who both had good fall workouts who we feel like with do a good job competing for us at some point and time. A couple of unknown guys in Bryan Ayers, who took last year off with an injury and threw really well this fall, and some younger guys, Peyton Culberson, Brady Welsh, Zack Haake who can make an impact. We have some other guys from injury and we are looking forward to see how those guys compete. Overall I then we have a lot of depth if everybody stays healthy.
Tyler was a starter but then had some arm issues midway through the season that sent him to the pen. He has been super heathy. We anticipate him being a weekend guy for us. Hopefully, he stays healthy and can start and finish.
My thing has always been to have six guys for three or four starting spots. And from that we will decide who is going into those weekend slots. Tyler Zuber, Bryan Ayers, Cody Jackson, Zach Haake, Adam Grantham and Peyton Culberson are the six we will extend to get the pitch counts ready going into the first weekend series.
Cody had a good fall. He is back healthy. Arm feels good. Of that group probably had the best overall fall in terms of consistency.
I think the depth is a strength. There are some veteran innings with Zuber and Lee in there. One of those looking at a starting role and the other in the bullpen. The depth with the new guys coming in, JD, as a junior college transfer, and some of the freshmen have created and arsenal with some different looks with the way they pitch, some slider guys, some curve ball guys. And change up that we can mix and match through a lineup petty well.”
We have junior college transfer JD Miller from Crowder, definitely has some backend stuff. Tanner Ring is healthy again so he will be able to help us a little on the backend as well and a couple of the freshmen Brady Welsh and junior Coulton Lee, who did really well for us last year out of the pen. He (Lee) will have more of an expanded role this year, not just the left on left guy. I think he is really going to be able to solidify the sixth, seventh, eighth innings for us.
Bo Ritter will be in there in the mix with us some. He has some tendonitis in fall camp. Got behind the 8 ball a little there. How he progresses health wise will determine the role we go with him. Zach Patterson is out now. On track to contribute at some point and this year. Had surgery in May. Push comes to shove not a health issues.
Tanner Kirby had to fight through some stuff early. Some adjustments and pitch location and pitch. He will be the back end guy who comes in and spends the slider and hopefully help solidify that back end.
Colin Nord will be a middle relief guy who will likely spot start some there. If we get a lefty heavy line-up, he will be a guy who is real effective against them
Brandon Stuckenschneider kinda reminds me of Coulton as freshmen, spend a lot of time left on left. I think he will fill that role for us this year. Take what Coulton has done now that he has expanded his role some.
(Freshman left-hander Tony Ortiz and sophomore redshirt JD Rainwater will work as relievers but also be position players like Ring.)
ON THE SIDELINE
Senior Derek Birginske and redshirt freshman lefty Cole Jenkins.
We are somewhat similar. Tighe (Dickinson) and I talked before I took the job and after I took the job. At the end of the day all of us pitching coaches are looking to get 27 outs the fastest. That is kinda general idea would build your philosophy around. We might approach a few things a little different but for the most part on the same track. Tempo, get guys out and trying to create quality depth with our pen.
When I got here my main impression was we need some of these freshmen to be contributors at some point. There is some good leadership with Adam Grantham and Tyler Zuber and even Cody. He is a phenomenal leader. Last year he didn’t have the type of year that he wanted. You look at it and you have good leadership in there but it is also a lot of unknown with some of the freshmen and Bryan Ayers coming off injury. And Ring not going in a couple of years and JD Miller coming off an injury so it was really. You got your top, your got your new guys and those unknowns there in the middle.