Position Breakdown: Pitchers/Catchers
Utah baseball is about to get its 2021 season underway and returns almost everyone back from last year's team giving the Utes a lot of depth across the board.
The pitchers and catchers are in a good spot heading into the season.
With the majority of the pitching staff returning as well as some of the additions with signees and transfers, it's one of the deepest and most talented pitching group Utah has ever had.
"Pitching depth is the key here," head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "With everyone returning and coming back from injury, it looks like they're going to be healthy or on the way to recovery. Right now, our pitching staff has as much depth as its had headlined by Justin Kelly and David Watson. Both experienced starters and have a chance to lead us on the weekends. In my estimation, it's the deepest staff and most quality staff we've had in a long time."
Kelly and Watson were the top two starters for Utah last season. Kelly started on Friday nights last season and held a 2.66 ERA. He allowed seven earned runs while striking out 14. Watson led the team in strikeouts with 19. He had a 4.50 ERA.
There are as many as seven potential starters on the team. Kyle Robeniol is using his extra season granted by the NCAA for how last season abruptly ended. Dustyn Schramm went 1-1 last season with a 4.30 ERA. Brett Brocoff and Randon Hostert are back from injuries and will also provide great depth.
Out of the bullpen, Zac McCleve has pitched a lot of innings and they also had Brayson Hurdsman transfer in from Houston that has a lot of experience.
Trey Clarkson will also provide depth while also getting playing time in the field.
Gage Webster, Ben Kibbe and Derek Soffe are the three freshmen pitchers on the roster.
On the catcher side, they did lose Zack Moeller, but have Brock Rudy and Jayden Kiernan that have some experience.
"Right now, with Jayden and Brock Rudy, they've both worked very hard," Kinneberg said. "They will see the majority of the innings behind the plate. Owen has come back from an arm injury and has a chance to catch some for us. Catching will be a plus for us I think."
Kiernan was second on the team last year hitting .314 while leading the team with 11 RBI. Rudy saw action in five games and had one home run and four RBI.
Owen Mortensen and Caleb Manuel will also provide depth at the catcher position.
Utah gets the season started with a series beginning Friday, February 19 at UTSA.