Texas’ Johnston Finding GrooveAnalysis
FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas would be wise to look beyond the final score after losing all three games to TCU this past weekend.
Yes, that seems like a crazy thing to say considering the Longhorns dropped to 9-11 in the Big 12 Conference with the series sweep. However, two of the three losses were by a single run and the biggest development of all was Kyle Johnston’s performance in the series finale against the Horned Frogs.
Johnston, a 6-foot, 225-pound, junior righthander, before the past couple of weeks, had earned a reputation as very much a feast or famine type of pitcher. He has always had an explosive arm with unlimited potential. However, things had never seemed to completely click on a consistent basis, and that has caused his role at Texas to constantly change.
But as Johnston and the Longhorns head down the stretch and get ready for a potential postseason run, the righty might have found the perfect role – as UT’s Sunday starter. And that could be of great benefit to the Longhorns if he continues to throw at a high level moving into the postseason.
If you look around the country at elite and talented Sunday starters, a strong argument can be made that Johnston is the most talented No. 3 starter in the country outside of Florida’s Jackson Kowar, a sophomore righthander who almost assuredly will be a first-round pick in the 2018 MLB draft. Meanwhile, Johnston is ranked in the 60s among collegiate prospects with the ability to climb leading up to the draft.
Should the Longhorns make the NCAA postseason, which would be the case if the season ended today, Johnston’s rise could change UT’s fortunes in dramatic fashion, while also helping show scouts that the righty has what it takes to potentially start at the next level, though the consensus is that he’s destined for the bullpen.
“I think he’s one of the best No. 3 guys out there. He’s such a good guy to have at the end of the weekend, because let’s say you’ve had a rough first two days, he’ll typically keep you from getting swept,” Texas coach David Pierce said. “I think Coach [Phil] Haig has done a great job with him. The big thing for Kyle now is that he has a consistent routine. Before the game, in the bullpen, he’s figured out and gotten used to the same routine. Once he moves on to pro ball, he’s obviously going to have to learn a new routine, but he’s got it down now.”
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