Season Stats: 1-1, 3.48 ERA, 19 K’s, 2 BB’s, 10.1 IP in 2 Games Started
Last Week: 4.2 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K’s, 1 HBP on 81 pitches vs Arizona
This Week: 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K’s, 1 HBP on 95 pitches vs Dayton
University of Tennessee ace and presumed #2 pick Chase Dollander made his second start of the season last night against the Dayton Flyers in Knoxville. After a mixed bag last week in the Desert Invitational against Arizona where he only threw 4.1 innings. While he clearly wasn’t stretched out for the season, there was visible improvement on the mound as Dollander settled in after another mediocre 1st inning this time out.
This week, he went 5.2 innings, gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits while walking one and hitting a batter. The big number, however, is the 12 strikeouts that matched his Tennessee career high and was just one strikeout short of his career high as a freshman at Georgia Southern. He also got his first win of the season as Tennessee beat the Flyers by a score of 12-2.
While the broadcast didn’t display the velocity for pitches, the commentators did on occasion share Dollander’s velocity and the good news is that it was up from last week and seemingly sitting between 95-97 MPH throughout his entire start. That failure to display velocity on the broadcast has also made it difficult for me to give you a complete breakdown of Dollander’s pitch mixing this week, so apologies for that.
As mentioned last week, Dollander’s fastball normally sits 96-97 and can touch 99 so we can already say that he’s closer to be in-form for the season, as most of his fastballs were sitting in that range. In the 1st inning, the big righty struggled once again with the command of the fastball, as he often missed just outside the zone. Even with his 2 strikeouts in the inning, it didn’t seem to locate where he wanted it. Then he walked the #3 hitter with 2 outs and the payoff pitch for that AB was not close, missing well outside of the strike zone. That allowed Marcus Pujols to take a really good swing on a low pitch and put it over the fence for the 2 earned runs Dollander gave up.
But let’s look at what Dollander did really well after that. He only gave up one extra base hit (after an incredible 10 pitch battle with freshman right fielder Eddie Yamin IV) and really only 3 hard hit balls for the rest of the game. Of his 95 pitches, 69 of them were thrown for strikes which is absolutely insane, especially as we just mentioned his fastball command struggles. He was able to induce 16 swing and misses against Dayton, and 4 of his 12 strikeouts were looking.
Last week we gave the stud prospect a B- after a “meh” start against Arizona. This week we saw a lot of improvement and 12 strikeouts over 5.2 innings is extremely impressive. Despite the home run and the error, I’m going to give him a B+ after a pretty underrated performance against Dayton.
Chase Dollander’s next start should be at home in Knoxville on Friday, March 3rd against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 6:30 PM and can be seen on SECN+ on WatchESPN.
Weekend Grade: B+