Joe DeMers, Washington

(Shotgun Spratling)

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Fall Report: Washington

Analysis

Down two key bullpen arms, Washington needed a quality start on Sunday in what had become a defacto Pac-12 championship game at Utah. Instead, the Huskies gave up 21 runs, including 10 in the first three innings, allowing the Utes to take home sole possession of the Pac-12 title.

Washington logoThat shouldn’t be an issue during the upcoming season. After a strong fall, Washington head coach Lindsay Meggs believes the Huskies will have more depth across the board. Starters return at seven of eight positions. Noah Bremer and Joe DeMers return to the starting rotation and they will be buffered by a slew of young arms. Bremer remains at the front of the rotation where he was 3-5, 3.01 last season. He has combined with all-Pac-12 catcher Joey Morgan to provide a backbone of leadership for a pitching staff that could feature several young arms in prominent roles.

None may be as important as DeMers, who the coaching staff thinks is primed for a “huge bounce back season” after going 3-5, 6.91 in 16 starts as a freshman. DeMers battled fatigue his freshman year after pitching consistently since he was 14 years old.

“If I was smarter, we would have given him some time off in the fall,” Meggs said. “He just never had a break and I think when the season started, he had a little dead arm to begin with.”

To give the 6-foot, 240-pound righthander a break, he was shut down in the summer despite having an invite to pitch in the prestigious Cape Cod summer league. The time off allowed DeMers arm to bounce back and he was the Huskies most improved pitcher since the beginning of the fall.

“The break has been good for him. He’s thrown four pitches for strikes all fall,” Meggs said. “He’s as firm as we thought he could be. The slider is tight. The breaking ball is more consistent and he’s always had a plus change. This is the guy we knew we were getting and he’s going to be a legitimate Saturday guy.”

Behind Bremer and DeMers are a cadre of freshmen competing for the Sunday role. British Columbia native Josh Burgmann is expected to make an immediate impact either in the rotation or at the backend of the bullpen with his low 90s fastball and an impressive power breaking ball that he can use as a strikeout pitch.

“There’s no fear in him,” Meggs said. “That’s the guy from Day 1 who has showed up and acted like he’s been here for three years. Has that attitude that you like. He loves to compete and he’s going to do a great job for us right out of the chute.”


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