As we are just about halfway through the month of January, we are just over one month away until West Virginia baseball’s opener on Feb. 18 against Central Michigan in Conway, South Carolina at Spring Brooks Stadium.
Between now and then, manager Randy Mazey will have the tall task of sorting his roster out and deciding which of his ballplayers will sprint out to which positions when the season rolls around next month. Even by then, Mazey and his staff won’t have the clearest idea of their team’s strengths and weaknesses but knowing your players and putting together a depth chart is where it all begins.
Today, we took a look at which starting pitchers are projected to be in the starting rotation this spring considering last year’s team as well as newcomers in the form of freshmen and the transfer portal. West Virginia lost their number one starter to the MLB Draft last summer in lefty Jackson Wolf who was selected by the San Diego Padres in the fourth round.
Ben Hampton – Sophomore – LHP
Hampton started in 10 games as a freshman last season being a part of the weekend rotation while collecting four wins as opposed to his three losses. The left-hander registered the third most strikeouts on the team last year behind Wolf and junior left-hander Adam Tulloch.
Hampton’s most successful outing of the season came against Kansas on Mar. 27 when he didn’t allow a single hit and struck out two batters through three innings of work. The freshman’s longest outing of the season was against Baylor on April 11 in which the southpaw worked 6.2 innings, surrendering four hits and three earned runs while striking out four batters.
Carlson Reed – Sophomore – RHP
Reed was the final starting pitcher on the team last season and the lone righty of the squad coming back making seven starts and allowing 29 runs through 32 innings of work. Reed finished the season with a win-loss mark of 4-5 and notched an ERA of 7.59 while striking out 34 batters and surrendering a .289 batting average against.
The Marietta, Georgia native’s cleanest game of the season last year was a lone inning pitched against Marshall on April 14 in which he struck out one Thundering Herd batter while not allowing a single run or hit. His longest outing of the season was against Pitt on May 5 when the righty hurler allowed one run and four hits and struck out six batters.
Zach Bravo – Lamar – RHP
Bravo is one of the transfer-starting pitchers coming over to the Mountaineers this season after coming over from Lamar University where he started in 16 ballgames. The right-hander registered a 5-2 mark along with a 3.50 ERA and 47 strikeouts last year. The starter originally began his collegiate career at Eastern Arizona College in 2018 as well as Butler Community College in 2019.
Chase Smith – Pitt – RHP
Smith is one of the other transfer-pitchers coming from up the road at longtime rival Pitt where he tossed 129.2 career innings. The former Panther also recorded an 8-10 record with a 3.33 ERA while making 107 strikeouts during his career in Pittsburgh. Smith recorded the most pitching appearances in a Pitt single season with 33 appearances in 2019 as a sophomore. The righty will add to a versatile Mountaineer pitching staff in 2022 with a number of other transfer pitchers joining the program this year as well.
Trey Braithwaite – Navy – RHP
The right-hander Braithwaite comes to Morgantown from Navy where he was the team’s closer for four seasons. While playing baseball in Annapolis, the hurler racked up an all-time school record number of saves with 17 saves. Through four years at Navy, the righty tossed 67.1 innings while compiling a 6-4 record and a 3.07 ERA. Braithwaite has also been featured on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch List a number of times at Navy.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography