With the 2018 season set to kick off on Friday night in California, the time has come to take an in-depth look at this year’s Boston College baseball team, starting today with the pitching staff.
For some perspective on the upcoming season: in 2017 Boston College pitchers combined to throw 453.1 innings. In 2018, BC returns 400 of those innings. That’s correct. The Eagles return the vast majority of their staff this season, including all three weekend starters from a year ago. This type of continuity from season-to-season is very rare in college baseball and should play heavily in Boston College’s favor this spring.
Likely getting the starting nods once again on the weekend will be junior righthander Jacob Stevens, junior lefthander Dan Metzdorf, and senior righthander Brian Rapp. Stevens, a 33rd round draft pick in June, logged a team-high 83 innings on the bump last spring, while compiling a 5-7 record to go along with a 5.10 ERA. Right behind him was Metzdorf, who threw 80 innings with a 5.06 ERA and 4-6 record. Perhaps the biggest surprise in 2017 was Rapp. Used primarily out the bullpen early in his career, the 5’11 Rapp came on strong a year ago, flashing a fastball in low 90’s, while striking out 56 batters in ten starts on the season. The trio should benefit from the experience of last year and will present a huge challenge to opposing lineups. Junior Jack Nelson excelled as the Eagles’ primary midweek starter in 2017, posting a 4-1 record and 2.41 ERA in 37.1 innings pitched. Look for him to remain in that role in 2018, or push for a spot in the starting rotation should someone struggle early on.
Boston College’s bullpen is the deepest of any during head coach Mike Gambino’s tenure and will look to solidify the back end of games this season. Leading the way will be senior co-captain, and recipient of Sonny Nictakis’ #8 jersey, Carmen Giampetruzzi. Last year, Giampetruzzi appeared in 16 games and posted a 3.66 ERA. The lefty has been one of the most improved players on the roster since arriving at BC and will likely see an expanded role this season. Beyond Giampetruzzi, Gambino has a plethora of options in relief. Junior righty John Witkowski enjoyed a strong summer in the Cape Cod after posting a 6.06 ERA in 19 appearance for the Eagles in 2017. Also look for Vanderbilt transfer Brendan Spagnuolo to see the mound early this season after sitting out 2017 due to NCAA transfer rules. The righthander has great size at 6’2 and 195 pounds, and has shown great pitchability during his time at BC. Sophomore Matt Gill will likely assume a large role in the Boston College bullpen this spring, as the 6’5 righty has shown great velocity on his fastball, and flashes of advanced offspeed pitches, in his short time on the Heights. Look for juniors Sean Hughes and Thomas Lane, and freshman Jack Hodgson to see opportunities early this spring after impressive showings during the fall practice season, as well.
Perhaps the most intriguing story line to keep an eye on this spring will be the roles of three redshirt freshmen: Mikey Giordano, Michael Marzonie, and Joey Walsh. The trio are all healthy after missing the 2017 season with injuries and should provide quality depth for Gambino and pitching coach Alex Trezza. All three were decorated high school players, with Walsh earning Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2015. It will be interesting to see how each adjusts to the college game in their first action since injury.
The pitching staff is as deep and experienced as it has been in a long time at Boston College, and that should make fans excited for Friday night. We’ll be previewing the Eagle’s hitter and will project the starting lineup later this week, as well as preview this weekend’s season-opening match up with Santa Clara, so stay tuned!