Monday, May 17, 2004
Back from WichitaPosted by Matthew Namee
I'm in Lawrence again, after spending the weekend in Wichita. In three days, I caught four Wichita State baseball games against conference rival Southwest Missouri State (Bill Mueller's alma mater). The Shockers swept the series, including both ends of a Saturday doubleheader to clinch the regular-season conference championship. A few quick notes...
- Friday night's starter was sophomore Mike Pelfrey, one of the top pitching prospects not named Jered Weaver. After a bumpy first inning, Pelfrey settled down to pitch a complete-game two-hitter, allowing only one run (and that was in the first). I was scared when he came out for the ninth with a 5-1 lead, having already thrown 105 pitches, but Pelfrey retired the side on 7 pitches to run his record to 9-1.
- Injuries to a couple starters forced super-reliever Tommy Hottovy to make his first NCAA start on Saturday. Hottovy is a senior lefty... I talked about him last month, and he looked even better this weekend. It's been suggested to me that Hottovy's curve is the best in the college game. That's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it's a damn good out pitch.
So far this year, Hottovy has a 71-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 57 innings, with a 2.21 ERA and only 2 homers allowed. He's completely under the prospect radar, but ratios like that (for a top-25 team, no less) shouldn't be ignored. Plus, he had a very nice start on Saturday (6 IP, 3 R, 6 SO, 0 W) and, I'm told, is a starting pitcher in summer ball. He seemed to tire a bit in the 5th-6th innings, but he was utterly dominant in the early going and held his own later, despite having not started an NCAA game in his life.
Okay, so that was two notes, and not particularly quick. It's late now (or early, depending on how you define "late" and "early" -- it's half past midnight, anyway), so I'm off. More later, I'm sure...
Matthew Namee cofounded The Hardball Times in 2004, when he was working as the assistant to baseball author and Red Sox executive Bill James. Matthew still lives in Kansas, where he is currently pursuing a law degree. He can be reached at mfnamee [at] gmail [dot] com.