NC State head coach Elliott Avent met with the media Friday afternoon as the Wolfpack prepares for its upcoming 2020 campaign.
“Jose Torres is a new guy that they should look at. He was a highly touted player out of high school for the Major League draft. He comes in with a lot of promise. Austin Murr is a junior college guy out of Minnesota who’s come here with a lot of energy. He looks like he’s going to be a big help to us. We’ve got some local guys: Sam Highfill, Chris Villaman from High Point, Matt Willadsen who was just on the mound, and Logan Bender. We’ve got a lot of local guys that fans have probably seen here play, and then they’re going to get a chance to see them again. We’ve got some good, young talent, but young talent takes time to grow. Hopefully, the leadership on this team and the way this team has bonded together since they’ve been here since August is going to help this team continue to grow.”
“He means a lot. You cannot minimize what that does for a pitching staff. Every catcher I’ve ever known that’s a good catcher makes the pitcher better. If he takes it to heart and does what he’s supposed to do, hopefully Pat can relax this year. It’s a big year for him. Obviously, there’s a lot of eyes on him. He gets all kinds of accolades. He obviously knows there’s so much money in the draft now, so that’s got to be on a young man’s mind. He’s going to have to relax to all that stuff, come out here, have fun so his skills can show, and not feel any of the eyes on him. There’s a lot of people. We had our first practice today; we changed it to 11:30 a.m. because of the weather, and you look behind the screen for the first pitch, and there’s 20 scouts back there.”
“Not yet. We don’t really have a set plan right now. We’ve got to narrow down some things, and the pitchers will show us where their strengths are going to lie and where they fit into the team. We have a lot of guys that are versatile like Reid Johnston, Dalton Feeney, and Cam Cotter that can fill any role on our team. We’ll see what’s best for the team and how it fits for them, but for right now, we’ll see how that works out.”
“I don’t know if he needs to do anything to elevate his game. Last year, we had Will Wilson and Evan Edwards; when you read our scouting report, ‘You can’t let these two guys beat you.’ Pat Bailey and Tyler McDonough were able to sit down in the background a little bit and flourish from that. When you read the scouting report of NC State this year, it’s going to be saying, ‘Don’t let Tyler McDonough and Pat Bailey beat you.’ What we’re going to have to do is have guys step up around them and allow them to try to flourish at this game without getting pitched around too bad. We’ve got to have some guys fill in their roles last year like they did for Will Wilson and Evan Edwards.”
“I don’t because he’s such a versatile guy. Catchers keep going down. We lost [Luca] Tresh for a while. He had surgery on his hand the other day, so Tresh is out. That takes one of the catchers out, and [McDonough] is also catcher. We’re just trying to see where everybody can fit in. J.T. Jarrett has come back playing better than he’s ever played since he’s been here, and he’s started a lot of games, so he gives us another option at second base. McDonough can play second and center, and he plays them both very well. It depends on if we need another guy in the outfield or if we’re going to need another guy in the infield. It might be how well Jarrett plays as opposed to how well [Terrell] Tatum, Devonte Brown, or Jonny Butler plays is where McDonough winds up.”