Young Pitching Staff and Two Transfer Catchers Look To Lead the Tide This Weekend
Baseball coach Brad Bohannon noted in his opening statements during media availability on Thursday that the Crimson Tide was a little newer on the mound this season. However, the two catching transfers Alabama brought in this season should help this new staff grow and create a powerful battery for the Tide.
On a team that is bringing back a lot of experience in the field, the pitching staff is relatively young or inexperienced in SEC play. Alabama is losing pitchers who made up for 378 of its 514 innings last year.
"It’s unbelievable the amount of innings, you know for me to say how confident I am in our pitching and you look at how many starts and innings we lost from last year, it doesn’t make sense. But we’ve got a lot of arm talent, just guys that haven’t done it here or done it in the SEC," said Bohannon about his young staff.
The staff is returning seven of its pitchers from last season, including redshirt-senior Brock Guffey and redshirt-freshman Dylan Ray who missed last season after having Tommy John surgery. Shelton State transfer junior Garrett McMillan will be getting the ball in the opener on Friday in his first game with the Tide squad.
Though this group of arms is a bit more inexperienced, it'll be caught by two transfers who bring a couple of years of experience to the table.
Junior Dominic Tamez spent his freshman year at Arkansas and started a pair of games for the Razorbacks that year before transferring to McLennan Community College. He helped the McLennan Highlanders win a NJCAA Word Series Title in 2021, batting .526 in the five final games played for that title, before deciding to transfer his talents to Alabama.
Junior catcher Graham Crawford spent his 2020-2021 season with Pearl River Community College. While at Pearl River, Crawford earned All-Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference first team, NJCAA Region 23 team honors, and NJCAA Third Team All-America. He led the team in walks and on-base percentage and ranked second in home runs, RBI, runs, and slugging through 44 games in his sophomore season.
Though this catching tandem doesn't bring a lot of SEC-specific experience outside Tamez's short experience at Arkansas, they have played at a high level at their respective community colleges and bring the advantage of playing in big games during their careers.
"You know, Dom is a, and Graham too, and Will Portera who’s going to catch some, their all just pretty positive kids by nature, I mean I would say that about a lot of players but I think all of those kids that catch have done a good job of being really positive," Bohannon said.
These catchers have shown coach their ability to lead a team despite the big shoes Sam Praytor leaving left Bohannon to fill. Bohannon seems confident in the talent level these arms can bring to the mound despite their inexperience, he just notes it'll take gaining some playtime to grow as pitchers.
"You know, there’s gonna be some growing pains on the mound, and I think having an older group of position players and being strong defensively is gonna help that as well. But, you get better at playing baseball by playing baseball, you get better at pitching in the SEC by pitching in the SEC and they're just gonna have to go through it. There’ll be some ups and downs but we’re all gonna have to have a positive influence on them," said Bohannon.
Alabama opens play tomorrow at 3 p.m. versus Xavier at Sewell Thomas Stadium and Tide100.9 FM will have coverage of all the action over the weekend series on tide1009.com.