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Baseball Preview – Pitchers



For the next week or so Anthony Slater and I will be previewing the OSU baseball season. This is the first installment from Slater taking a look at the pitchers you need to take note of.

Friday – Andrew Heaney (7-4, 4.03 ERA, 51 Ks, 23 walks)
For two years, pro scouts have converged on Stillwater, radar gun in hand, to watch this hard-throwing lefty. On the surface Heaney has all the makings of an ace. Low-90’s fastball with some bite. Dirty off-speed with nice control. But each of those first two years, Heaney has shown promise before spiraling into an extended tailspin. Now, after a dominant summer in the Cape Cod League, Heaney has been anointed Frank Anderson’s Friday night starter and deemed ready to lead the staff. We’ll see.

Saturday – Kyle Ottoson (3-1, 3.38 ERA in 2011 at ASU)
You could call this a lucky break. Last June, Ottoson was pitching late in the NCAA Tournament, wrapping up a solid junior season at Arizona State with a nice performance in the Super Regional against Texas. But after the year, violations were revealed and ASU came under postseason sanctions. Ottoson was given a free transfer and the Colorado native chose OSU. He’s an experienced, live arm that stabilizes the rotation. And if you want proof of his talent, Ottoson has been drafted four times.

Sunday – Randy McCurry (2-4, 2.91 ERA, 36 Ks, 16 walks)
An Oklahoma high school baseball legend, McCurry’s effectiveness may parallel the Cowboys’ 2012 success. Two seasons ago, on opening day, McCurry blew out his elbow in warm-ups, forcing him to get Tommy John Surgery. In 2011, he eased back into throwing shape. Now, two years removed from the infamous procedure (a time when most pitchers return to full strength), McCurry has secured the Sunday slot. Teammates have raved about his preseason bullpen sessions, even joking that McCurry is a little too amped at this point of the season. Good sign for the early months – yes. Beneficial to his elbow’s long-term durability – yet to be determined.

Setup man – Blake Barnes (3-1, 3.38 ERA, 30 Ks, 9 walks)
A country kid from Texas, Barnes is a prototypical late-game pitcher. He’s coming out fired up, he’s coming out angry and he’s coming out throwing fastballs. You half-expect him to sprint in from the bullpen – John Rocker-style – with a huge dip in his mouth, wearing a Cowboy hat and jamming out to Jason Aldean. All kidding aside, he pitched well last year and will be an anchor in the back end of OSU’s bullpen, which lost Chris Marlowe to the San Francisco Giants.

Closer – Gabe Weidenaar (0-0, 0.42 ERA, 18 Ks, 6 walks)
It was a surprise on media day when Anderson basically anointed Weidenaar as the closer. Not because of his talent – last year’s ERA speaks for itself – but because of how much the Cowboys rely on him for everything else. You will see Weidenaar’s true value in tomorrow’s hitting preview, but just know that there will be at least a few games where he has four at-bats in the middle of the lineup, plays eight innings in the field and then gets thrust onto the mound to close out a one-run game.

You can follow Slater on Twitter at @anthonyvslater or email him at pistolsfiringblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

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