Breaking News: Auburn Tigers Confirm the signing of another top talented star

This offseason, the message is clear: Auburn needs pitchers. Head coach Butch Thompson said at the end of the season that he might not have the right players on his roster and that he would use Auburn’s disappointment in missing the postseason as a springboard for recruiting after his team finished the season with a league-worst 7.57 ERA in SEC play.

On Monday, the last day to watch the Super Regionals from home, Auburn added its first new pitcher. After completing his first year at Cal Baptist, Ryan Hetzler declared on Monday that he had chosen Auburn.
Hetzler doesn’t seem to be the answer to Auburn’s troublesome starting rotation, but even in a supporting role, his rookie statistics represent a big improvement over the majority of Auburn’s pitchers in 2024.
Snow was unanimously chosen for the first team All-AAC and won the AAC defensive player of the year award in 2023. He was an All-American Freshman in Collegiate Baseball as well.

Snow has a.327 in 2023. He hit.248 in 2024. He had 36 RBIs and six home runs in 2023. He scored ten RBIs and hit one home run in 2024. Compared to 2023, he made five more mistakes in 2024.

Snow was a shortstop at USF, and since Cooper Weiss, Auburn’s prior shortstop, is no longer eligible, the team does not have an immediate starting. Deric Fabian was a three-base hitter who could also play shortstop.

Auburn wants to return Snow and Steele to their exceptional freshman performances rather than the statistical declines they experienced in 2024. Both should, at the very least, fill depth positions in the lineup by 2025.
Hetzler pitched 41.1 innings in 25 appearances (2024), all out of the bullpen. His ERA was 2.59 and he had a 5-1 record. Four saves were made by him. He was hitting.284 versus opponents.

Hetzler threw 95 pitches in six innings of relief on May 24, following up the game’s opening pitcher who gave up five runs in 0.2 innings. However, Hetzler’s lengthy relief appearance was by far his longest of the season. Three innings was his next-longest.

It’s too soon to tell what function Auburn intends to give Hetzler. He is an instant boost, assuming he stays in the bullpen. The two greatest relievers for Auburn in 2024 were Hayden Murphy and John Armstrong, rising seniors, yet their ERAs were both over four.
Auburn is still in need of starting pitching support, thus it’s unlikely that the team would get more pitchers through transfers than Hetzler. Pitching will be the focus of its incoming freshman class this autumn, but its two top arms, Christian Chatterton and Connor Gatwood, may be selected in the MLB Draft this summer.

Two previous freshman All-American hitters who had declining stats as sophomores in 2024 were also added by Auburn.

Catcher Lucas Steele will go from Samford to Auburn. Steele was a Hoover high school athlete.
Steele was a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and the SoCon freshman of the year in 2023. As a freshman, he had 16 home runs, 51 RBIs, and a.315 average. He participated in 61 games and started 57.

Steele’s hitting average fell to.245 as a sophomore, a substantial decline. He did, however, still have 13 home runs, raising his RBI total to 61. He also saw a decline in his on base percentage and slugging.

Steele will not be expected to start as frequently at Auburn as he did at Samford, where he made 111 starts over two seasons. Steele covers first base and catcher. Ike Irish, a top player for Auburn, and rising sophomore Cale Stricklin, who showed some promising flashes at the close of the 2024 season, provide catching alternatives already. Given that first baseman Cooper McMurray has not made a public decision regarding his status for the upcoming season, Steele may have an easier time getting to first base.

Eric Snow, a transfer from USF, presents Auburn with a comparable scenario.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.