Well, there you have it. Here are our opening weekend starting pitchers:
Though Freshman Jack Leiter is the bigger name (and may well be in the weekend rotation by the end of the season), I did predict it would be Rocker, Hickman, and Eder on Opening Weekend at the MLB4 Tournament in Arizona in my Starting Pitching Preview.
You already know all you need to know about White Castle and The Stonecutter, but here’s what I wrote about The Eder of Souls:
The Reliever Who Will Battle It Out With The Freshmen
#39 Jr. LHP Jake “Eder of Souls“ Eder (2-0; 2.97 ERA)
You know Eder as the man with the ball in his hand, collecting the three inning save when we won our 2nd title this past June. If he stays in that role, we will have the best one-two punch of Set-up man (Eder) and Closer (Brown) in all of college baseball. However, if he can hold off Leiter, Doolin, and Hliboki and win the Sunday starter jerb, we may well have to change the name to Jake “Innings” Eder.
The truth is, Jake was always expected to be a starter when he passed up a pretty sizable MLB bonus to pitch at Hawkins Field.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Baseball America had to say about the big lefty when they ranked him the #11 prospect in the Cape Cod League:
11. Jake Eder, LHP, Orleans (Junior, Vanderbilt)
Eder was one of Vanderbilt’s most-trusted relievers this spring and helped the Commodores win the national championship. After their triumph in Omaha, he reported to Orleans, where he pitched impressively in the rotation.
Eder certainly passes the eye test at a listed 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. He has a smooth delivery that generates easy velocity. His fastball sits in the low 90s and reaches 94 mph with the chance for more velocity down the line. He has a good breaking ball and is developing a changeup, giving him the makings of a solid three-pitch mix. He pitches with average control. Eder’s biggest knock right now is that he hasn’t proven himself as a starter for an extended period of time. He’ll likely have a chance to do so this spring at Vanderbilt, but the early look scouts got of him this summer as a starter for Orleans was an encouraging one.
In fact, I expect him on the mound two Sundays from now against Cal Poly St. Luis Abysmal in the MLB4 tourney in Scottsdale, AZ. Not only does Eder give us a lefty in the rotation, he’s one heck of a talent on the mound. Hell, if Jack Leiter didn’t do the same thing Kumar did in ‘18, and spurn offers of $4 million + by MLB teams, we’re not even having this conversation.
With two mid-week games against South Alabama (Feb 18th and 19th) at The Hawk, Leiter and one of freshmen Hliboki or Doolin (or maybe even sophomores Chance Huff or Ethan Smith—sweet sassy molassy, we’re deep!) will still be able to start in our first five games.
I expect the Sunday starter job to be a battle all year, as we’ve got at least 6 pitchers who would be weekend starters on any other team in baseball (hell, our closer, Tyler Brown would be the Friday starter on most of the teams in our exceptionally tough conference).
I mean... wouldn’t you just hate to be one of the teams on our mid-week schedule?
Two days to go. Anchor down.