It’s great to have options, and when it comes to his pitching staff, despite some personnel losses, TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle has some options.
In particular, he’s got a couple of good options when it comes to using veteran right-hander Sean Wymer.
The Flower Mound, Texas, native began his career with the Horned Frogs as a useful reliever in 2016. He appeared in 16 games, with 14 of those coming out of the bullpen. In 32.2 innings, he had a 4.68 ERA, 39 strikeouts, and a .258 opponent batting average.
It was in 2017, though, that he took a huge step forward and became one of the most reliable bullpen arms in the country. Last season, he appeared in 30 games, all in relief, throwing 55.2 innings. He had a 2.10 ERA, a 66/10 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a .182 opponent batting average.
Clearly, he’s shown that he’s a real weapon out of the bullpen, so it’s understandably temping for Schlossnagle and pitching coach Kirk Saarloos to not mess with what works and leave him in his relief role. But Wymer has also shown the ability to stretch out and throwing multiple innings. He averaged nearly two innings per relief appearance, and he had outings that were near the length of a start as well.
In TCU’s marathon game against Texas A&M last year at the tournament at Minute Maid Park, for example, Wymer threw five perfect innings, striking out nine along the way. After the game, Schlossnagle more or less admitted that the idea of Wymer starting games wasn’t crazy and that he and his staff had considered stretching Wymer out to become a starting pitcher.
So it really comes down to figuring out where the pieces to the puzzle fit best.
The Frogs seem set at two of the three weekend rotation spots. Jared Janczak returns after putting up a 2.31 ERA in 93.1 innings with a .181 opponent batting average in 2017. Behind him, you have to figure that sophomore Nick Lodolo will hold down a spot. He had an up and down freshman campaign, but ended up with solid numbers, including a 4.35 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 78.2 innings.
With Mitchell Traver and Brian Howard gone, there is that third spot to fill in the rotation, and Wymer would slot in nicely. On the other hand, with relievers Durbin Feltman (3.64 ERA, 29.2 IP, 17 SV), Cal Coughlin (1.59 ERA, 22.2 IP, .210 OBA), and Haylen Green (3.10 ERA, 20.1 IP, .155 OBA) back, with Wymer also in the fold, TCU has a chance to have one of the best bullpens in the country.
It’s a tough decision to be faced with heading into the season, but it’s the type of tough decision that every coach in America would be willing to have to make if it meant they’d have a pitcher like Sean Wymer at their disposal.