Future of Red Raider Baseball: Pitchers

With most of the Red Raider Draft picks signed and off to the Majors, it is time to look at what Tech has coming back and joining the team. Joshua Koch first takes a look at the pitchers.

The future for Texas Tech baseball is young and inexperienced.

Simply put.

There is no way of avoiding this very true fact, because of the nine players being drafted in the MLB Draft, and the majority of them already inking deals with their respective teams.

First let's look at the pitching.

You lose the ace from last season, Duke von Schamann, who went 6-4 with a 2.08 ERA, and led the staff in those respective categories and also innings pitched and strikeouts as well.

No surprise von Schamann took his talents to the next level, but then you have to look at the other pitchers that packed it in on their collegiate careers.

John Neely, Rusty Shellhorn and Shan Broyles have all also inked the Major League deals and are leaving Texas Tech.

When you combine the four pitchers that are leaving they went 16-16, threw 256 innings of work and struck out 190 batters in 2012.

Looking at what Tech is losing it is hard to be optimistic about the 2013 season, but there are reasons to be.

New Texas Tech baseball head coach Tim Tadlock, has done well in recruiting some great players to replace these aces in the staff.

First name that comes to mind to replace von Schamann as the ace is Logan Ehlers out of Howard College.

Ehlers was drafted in the 20th round by the Detroit Tigers, but has signed with Tech, which is a good thing. He went 12-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 81 IP with 104 strikeouts and just 33 walks.

With those kinds of numbers it is no surprise that he was named an NJCAA 1st Team All-American and also he's a southpaw.

He will be a good replacement for Shellhorn as a lefty on the staff, and also will more than likely find himself in the rotation of weekend starters.

Another stud pitcher coming from the junior college level is Corey Taylor from Cisco College.

Taylor helped lead the Wranglers to the NJCAA Region V Championship against Howard in early May.

The Kennedale, Texas native, appeared in 13 games, went 11-1 with a 1.39 ERA and struck out 48, compared to just 17 walks allowed in 78 innings of work.

Adding two arms like that to the staff will help, now the question will be can that success transfer to the Division I level and more importantly against Big 12 Conference competition.

Now adding those two electric arms to the staff will add to what is returning.

Most notably among the returners will be Trey Masek.

Masek was efficient when called upon, went 2-4 with a 3.98 ERA in 2012, and was always transforming his roles on the staff.

Masek started, came in in relief and was even called on at times to close out the games.

Along with Masek returning, Tech does have Jerad McCrummen, Andre Wheeler and Jamen Parten also retuning for the 2013 season.

Not only will the Red Raiders have the pitchers coming back, and the aces of junior college staffs coming to Lubbock, there will be some young talent coming as well.

Back in November, the early signing class for the Red Raiders was announced and among the seven players that signed, five were pitchers.

Two of the five were ranked in the Top 100 in the State of Texas by Perfect Game, Luke Downs checking in at No. 53, and Johnathon Tripp at No. 90.

Along with Downs and Tripp, Reid Meyer, Matt Withrow and Joe Zurawik are also set to join the Red Raiders in 2012-2013.

So yes the staff for 2013 might be inexperienced on the Division I level for some, and for some it is just getting more work under their belts.

But the fact is, these are the pitchers that the Red Raiders will have to lean on for support this season.

They might be young and inexperienced, the learning curve for some might be large, but in the end growing up with experience against big-time opponents will be the best for this 2013 pitching staff.

And success will be determined by how fast they grow against the gauntlet of what is the Big 12 Conference.

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