It’s been a rollercoaster year for college baseball and keeping pitchers healthy. An all too familiar trend in recent seasons, talented arms have succumb to injury at a frustrating rate. This week saw two of the most electric pitchers in the country return to the bump, both flashing the premium stuff we’re accustom to seeing from them.
Arkansas righty Brady Tygart missed close to two months dealing with general arm soreness, something he’s dealt with on and off since high school. He shined as the opener in his lone inning of work against Texas A&M, issuing one free pass and not allowing a hit. That took his season total to 7.1 innings pitched. He’s punched out ten batters this year, allowing just six hits and two walks along the way.
Happy @BradyTygart 🤗 pic.twitter.com/L3me9TY8Pz
— Arkansas Baseball (@RazorbackBSB) April 28, 2023
Tygart has some of the most obscene stuff you can find in college baseball. His 2-seam fastball produces immense sink and arm-side bore with huge spin rates. Tygart has been up to 96, but mostly breaks knuckles and bat handles at 94. There’s some command woes here, but it’s pretty unique stuff. He pairs the fastball with a huge sweeping slider in the low-80s, a pitch that resulted in a 35 percent whiff rate and a 30 percent chase rate in 2022. He’s got the stuff to become a shutdown reliever at the next level and will be talked about as one of the Top 100 prospects for the 2024 MLB Draft so long as he’s able to stay healthy entering next season.
Texas righty Tanner Witt took the mound for the first time since February 27, 2022. Witt underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow last spring resulting in a 14-month recovery. In two seasons and 68 innings for the Longhorns, Witt has punched out 87 batters and walked just 28. He’s pitched to a 2.91 ERA and the opposition is hitting just .198 against him in his collegiate career.
It wasn’t a good outcome for the Houston product, but that hardly matters. Having not pitched in over a year, folks just wanted to see a healthy Witt. They got that. While his fastball command left much to be desired, he operated in the 90-93 bucket and grabbed 94 once. The curveball was the typical ~3000 rpm bender scouts are accustomed to seeing. He also mixed in a low-80s slider and a changeup, though the latter wasn’t competitive. Control and command woes allowed Witt to surrender five baserunners in just 0.2 innings, but this was always supposed to be a “knock off the rust” outing.
What a sight to see for @TexasBaseball!
For the first time since Feb. 2022, Tanner Witt is back on the bump starting for the Longhorns!#HookEm | @KVUE pic.twitter.com/EnM9AHabOv
— Tyler Feldman (@TylerFeldmanTV) May 1, 2023
Witt will be on a leash over his first few outings this year, but figures to move into an expanded role down the stretch so long as his health holds up and his command snaps back to what we’re used to seeing out of him. He was widely regarded a potential first round talent for the 2023 class before getting injured last year. There’s a bit more uncertainty on his profile given the durability concerns, but he’ll have the chance to skyrocket up boards in May and June if he looks back to full strength. It’s without question first round upside.
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