Baseball Preview: TCU Pitching

TCU should have another very good pitching staff this season and returns nine of their top ten pitchers from last year's staff that ranked in the top 20 nationally in team ERA and H/9 IP. TCU also has the highest rated incoming recruit in the country to add to all of the depth that they have on their pitching staff.

Starters

FRI – JR Steven Maxwell (RHP – 3-2, 6.10 ERA, 12 apps, 10 starts, 38 IP, 49 H, 10 BB, 27 K, 5 HR, .331 BA, 3 HBP, 2 WP) has had a slow path back from TJ surgery in 2008 after making only three starts that season (one was a win against Fullerton – 7 IP, 2 R). He started to get healthier in the fall and has a fastball in the 92-94 range and a power curveball. Maxwell threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings last weekend with six K’s but struggled with his control and allowed five BB’s. He is projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds in June and could move up several rounds if he shows he is healthy this season.

SAT – FR Matt Purke (LHP) was the 1st round pick of the Texas Rangers last June but couldn’t agree to terms with them and ended up on campus in Fort Worth. He has a fastball in the mid 90’s and a solid changeup and curveball. He went five innings last weekend and allowed 4 R (3 ER) on 7 H and 1 BB with 8 K’s.

SUN – Soph Kyle Winkler (RHP – 7-1, 4.15 ERA, 17 apps, 14 starts, 74 IP, 70 H, 35 BB, 48 K, 5 HR, .262 BA, 7 HBP, 4 WP) ended up being the best SP on TCU’s staff last year, not suffering his first loss until the super regional at Texas, and gives them an advantage over the Sunday SP of most teams that they will face this season. He has a fastball in the low 90’s, a power sinker and a solid curveball and changeup. Winkler has struggled at times with his control, including his start at Fullerton where he allowed 6 R (1 ER) on 2 H and 3 BB in 3 IP. He only threw three innings last weekend because TCU got out to a big lead in his start and turned it into a staff day to get other pitchers some work.

Relievers

TCU has a very deep bullpen with a good returning closer and several pitchers who have been SP’s during their careers.

SR Eric Marshall (RHP – 2-2, 1.48 ERA, 9 saves, 24 apps, 30 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 20 K, 1 HR, .206 BA, 5 HBP, 1 WP) came out of nowhere to take over the closer’s role after only throwing 26 innings in middle relief in 2008. Marshall is a control specialist who keeps the ball down. He gave up the game winning run in the Friday night game his only appearance last year at Fullerton.

SR Tyler Lockwood (RHP – 4-2, 4.71 ERA, 17 apps, 9 starts, 71 IP, 75 H, 18 BB, 44 K, 6 HR’s, .281 BA, 11 HBP, 1 WP) was the Fri SP in 2008 and 1st team all MWC and one of the weekend SP’s last year. This season, Lockwood will be one of the middle relievers due to all of the pitching depth at TCU. He has very good control and does a good job of keeping the ball down. Lockwood allowed 1 R in 2 2/3 IP in two appearances last weekend. He has allowed 2 R in 8 1/3 IP in three appearances (one start) against Fullerton.

SR Paul Gerrish (RHP – 7-2, 3.84 ERA, 17 apps, 9 starts, 61 IP, 61 H, 16 BB, 59 K, 4 HR, .261 BA, 4 HBP, 1 WP) started out as a midweek SP and middle reliever last year and ended up the season as one of the weekend SP’s. He is a control specialist whose best pitch is a power sinker. Gerrish threw one scoreless inning in his only appearance last weekend.

JR Trent Appleby (RHP – 4-1, 3.61 ERA, 24 apps, 57 IP, 57 H, 20 BB, 47 K, 3 HR, .270 BA, 9 HBP, 2 WP) is another control specialist whose best pitch is a power sinker. He has been effective out of the bullpen for two years and hasn’t been a SP but and is capable of throwing several innings per outing. Appleby threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his only appearance last weekend.

JR Greg Holle (RHP – 5-2, 3.89 ERA, 12 apps, 9 starts, 42 IP, 43 H, 15 BB, 26 K, 2 HR, .269 BA, 3 HBP, 2 WP) was a weekend SP two years ago and a midweek SP last season. He was a high profile recruit coming into TCU and still projects to be drafted in the first 10-15 rounds despite not having a major role on the pitching staff. Holle allowed 3 R’s in 1 1/3 IP in his only appearance last weekend.

TCU also has several Sophs who were high profile recruits last year with Erik Miller (RHP – 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 22 apps, 26 IP, 3 saves), Kaleb Merck (RHP – 0-0, 5.94 ERA, 17 apps, 17 IP, 1 save) and Walker Kelly (LHP – 1-2, 7.71 ERA, 11 apps, 12 IP).