Privateer Baseball Preview: Pitchers
NEW ORLEANS – Our 2023 New Orleans Privateers baseball season preview concludes with a look at the pitching staff. A mix of returners who have been big impacts along with a bevy of newcomers will undoubtedly be a big key as it is with any team at any level of baseball.
Starting off the preview is who started off the weekend throughout last year. Tyler LeBlanc made big strides in a sophomore season that saw him lead the team and finish fourth in the Southland in strikeouts with 74.
LeBlanc also co-led the team in wins with seven and earned Third Team All-Southland honors. In the preseason this year, he was elevated to Second Team.
Brandon Mitchell brings a lot of innings pitched to the table. Entering 2023, Mitchell has thrown 206.1 innings for the Privateers. Last season, he earned his first collegiate complete game as he accomplished the feat against McNeese. The Houston native has appeared in 48 career games for the Privateers.
Collin Horton earned national recognition as one of the National Players of the Week for his fantastic start and near no-hitter against Youngstown State. For the season, Horton, who was a Sunday starter for most of the year, fanned 53 batters in 46.2 innings.
Joining him as potential starting options are several guys: Beau Blanchard lengthened out to a 7.2-inning appearance in a win against nationally ranked LSU. Colton Mercer was used mostly in relief last season at Chipola JC, but he did have three outings of three or more innings. Mercer was a three-time All-Region pitcher in high school. Jose Cabrera transferred from Indiana State and was NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention at Wabash Valley where he struck out 103 batters in 69 innings.
Ryan Delorbe is another name mentioned as a potential multi-inning option. After having to sit out last season, Delorbe is ready to make his Privateer debut in 2023. He was a First Team All-Conference selection at Hagerstown CC.
Jack Williams was looked at a lot in key situations. Williams earned seven wins out of the pen and only walked five batters in 37.1 innings. Williams also inherited the most runners of any pitcher on staff last season (18).
Caleb Seroski has been in the closer’s role for most of the last two seasons. He has accrued 13 career saves which is tied for third most in program history. He has 91 career strikeouts in two seasons with the Privateers.
Tod Gauthe is back for one more season after pitching in 12 games last year with the Privateers. The former Stephen F. Austin closer picked up his first career save with New Orleans against ULM in a series sweep against the Warhawks.
Jacob Mead was used in late and close situations as well. Coming off a season-ending injury in 2021, Mead appeared in 12 games. He did not allow an earned run in his first six appearances with the Privateers.
There are a host of other options. Nolan Daniel is a senior transfer who brings over experience after pitching in 30 games at Purdue. Matthew Maldonado played three seasons at Lipscomb and had 76 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. Caleb Menina returns after doing well when called upon last season (1.86 ERA in seven appearances). Canaan Clayton is a freshman who was part of a state championship team at Jesuit in 2021. Davis Benton struck out 46 batters in 38 innings at the JUCO level last season.
Thomas Amador, Connor Handy and Trey Usey are back and available after redshirting last season. Andrew Duran is a hard thrower who recorded eight strikeouts in seven innings. Keegan Rich and Connor Macip are both in their junior season with the Privateers.
“I think Tyler understands the process of things. Friday night is a very important role and he’s capable of executing in that. I think he needs to just come into his own and I think he’ll have a really great year for us.”
“Brandon has so much talent. This is his last year and we need him to go out and put it all together. He’s very capable of doing it.”
“Blanchard did very well in spurts last year. We’re just trying to figure out if he’s a four or five inning guy or possibly a closer. Horton showed stints of brilliance. Mercer is a lefty option who has a three-pitch mix. Cabrera can throw four or five innings. I think we have options, it’s just about finding the right combination.”
“There are so many options. Duran is capable. Delorbe can potentially be a multi-inning guy. Canaan can get some innings for us.”
“We have a lot of guys that can contribute in this pitching staff. The key is we let go of some leads late last year and we have to button that up. It takes a different mentality to get outs at the end of the game.”
Stay tuned for our first weekend preview which will be out on Thursday afternoon.
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