Overton will assume the coveted “Friday Night” role this season. He’ll get the ball in those weekend series against the opponents’ aces. What makes OU special is Gray will follow him in the rotation with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s and an equally burgeoning draft stock.
The junior’s body of work might not be as deep as Overton’s at OU, but he went 8-4 last season with a 3.16 ERA and was the Sooners’ most dominant pitcher in the second half of the season.
“I found more comfort in the environment and the pressure and the speed of the game,” Gray said. “Every time I went out there, I had more confidence in what I could do. I felt more comfortable. I knew what I could do and I went out and did it.”
Golloway went out and added coveted junior college transfer Billy Waltrip to that three-man rotation. The left-hander was a 12th-round pick out of Seminole State in June. He came to OU because he’s projected to go higher with a season at the Division I level.
Waltrip will get all the attention required to move up. If college baseball has turned into a pitcher’s game, then the Sooners are adequately stocked.
But it won’t last for long. All three are juniors. This will likely be their only year — together — in OU uniforms.
“It’s a young man’s game, even at the professional level. You need to get out and start that professional journey early, because they can still come back and finish their degree,” Golloway said. “That’s why we don’t try to talk them out of it (turning pro). We understand minor league baseball and going through the system … Every one of them believes he’s gonna play or pitch in the big leagues someday. We like that, we want that, we recruit that.”
This season, OU has that kind of talent in its starting rotation. It will ride it as far as it goes.
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