Early this morning, the Aggie baseball team released the first edition of the 2016 weekend starting rotation. With the dismissal of Tyler Stubblefield last month, the rotation does not look like everyone thought it would coming into this season. That being said, this pitching staff is deeeeeeep, and the announced rotation should be able to compete with the elite rotations around the SEC and the country.
Friday: RHP Kyle Simonds
Sr. 6-4, 200 lbs. 1L
Simonds joined the Aggies prior to the 2015 season coming off of a 2014 season at Hutchison Community College that saw him earn National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Pitcher of the Year. In 2015, Simonds was unable to crack the weekend rotation initially, and spent the first half of the season coming out of the bullpen. He struggled with his command at times, but still managed a 3-2 record with a 2.39 ERA in 52.2 innings. If anyone was able to catch any of his starts throughout the fall scrimmages, you saw Simonds absolutely dominate every hitter he faced. If there is someone more ready to take on the Friday night duties on this pitching staff than Simonds, I certainly don't see it.
Saturday: RHP Corbin Martin
Soph. 6-2, 200 lbs. 1L
Martin only appeared in 14 games in his freshman season in 2015 (and only 18.1 innings at that), but in those appearances, he posted a 2-0 record with a 2.95 and 21 strikeouts. More than a strikeout per inning as a freshman in his first appearances in Division I baseball? I'd say that's pretty damn good. Martin earned a relief win against South Carolina late in the season, and threw 1.2 shutout innings against Vandy in the SEC tournament. Oh, and he struck out four of the six batters he faced in that appearance against Vandy's ridiculous lineup. Also, you know the bubble phenomenon that swept throughout Olsen last season? The now-famous, fish-shaped bubble machine, #WHAMMY, is the brain child of Martin and recent graduate Patrick McLendon. Already a leader in the locker room, this kid is ready to show what he can do out on the field as well.
Sunday: RHP Tyler Ivey
Fr. 6-4, 200 lbs. HS
Ivey was one of Rob Childress' most prized signees in his most recent signing class. Ivey was named the District 12-5A Pitcher of the Year from 2013 to 2015. In his senior year, Ivey posted a 10-1 record with a 0.27 ERA (what), 121 strikeouts and 11 walks in 69.0 innings. Just from that stat line alone, you can see why baseball nuts around Aggieland are so excited about this kid. Throwing a true freshman out there in the weekend rotation might seem like a bit of a risk, but Childress is known as one of the best pitching coaches in the country for a reason. I expect this decision will pay off in a huge way, especially if the Ags are rocking the black jerseys and looking for a series sweep when Ivey takes the mound on Sundays.