NJ baseball preview: Pitchers to watch
Sam Ackerman, Montclair
One reason why the Mounties are a team to watch revolves around this junior, who already has 11 career wins.
Karl Blum, Toms River North
Good size, a reliable fastball and the exposure gleaned last season when he went 3-2 should make the junior right-hander even better this year.
Howie Brey, Middletown South
A gritty southpaw who loves to compete on the hill, the Rutgers-bound senior, who was 6-4 for the Central Jersey, Group 3 champion, will most likely be the staff ace with graduation of Will Siegfried. He is definitely wired to handle the role.
Tommy Burns, Don Bosco Prep
The right-handed senior figures to be the No. 1 for the Ironmen. He fashioned a 9-0 mark with 62 strikeouts and 1.53 ERA as a junior.
Sam Burum, Robbinsville
A first-team All-Colonial Valley Conference selection last season, the senior was lights out a year ago, flashing a 7-0 mark, 1.01 ERA and 46 strikeouts over 49 innings. Burum will be just one piece of a deep staff that includes senior Adam Vorraso (7-2, 3.28 ERA), junior Steve Krebs (2-1), sophomore Anthony DeChiara (3-0, 1.35 ERA) and senior Matt Samel (3-0).
Luke Cahill, Monmouth Reg.
The Seton Hall-bound senior righty operates (4-3, 2 saves, 2.21 ERA, 67 strikeouts, 18 walks, 48 hits in 57 innings) with pinpoint command and the utmost composure. Cahill also plays a solid third base and batted .413 with 31 hits.
Frankie Colasante, Paramus
The senior put up some rather impressive numbers in '11, going 9-2 with a 1.68 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 70 innings for 25-5 Paramus.
Alex Daniele, Jackson
Daniele, a senior righty, was 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA and fanned 21 in 22 innings. He opened his junior year by firing a five-inning no-hitter with seven strikeouts in an 11-0 triumph over Southern.
Michael Donellan, Dumont
The ace for the defending North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 champions, who has committed to St. Thomas Aquinas, is coming off an 8-2 campaign stamped by a mind-blowing 108 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA.
Kyle Driscoll, Toms River South
At 6-9, 222-pounds, the senior right-hander casts a rather imposing figure on the top of the hill and has a release point that feels like his delivery is coming from 20 feet away. The Rutgers recruit is recovering from injury and is expected to join the staff by as early as mid-April. He will join forces with senior John Leiter, who made a verbal to St. Peter’s.
John Dunbar, Point Pleasant Boro
Tested against some excellent competition, the senior fanned 81 and boasted a 2.19 ERA as a year ago for the Panthers. Dunbar counts on a lively fastball.
Michael Gomez, Don Bosco Prep
Heading to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the senior righty went 7-0 a 2.70 ERA and 45 strikeouts.
Joey Graziano, Gov. Livingston
A St. John’s recruit, the senior righty has a powerful fastball that touches the low 90s and he rode that heat to a 5-2 mark last season with 53 strikeouts in 50 innings of work for the defending Group 2 state champion.
Marshall Harden, Steinert
Harden, who is going to Penn, owned a 4-0 record and 1.29 ERA last spring. He recorded 43 strikeouts.
Max Herrmann, Montclair Kimberley
A 6-3, 190-pound senior southpaw, Herrmann fashioned a 6-2 mark with a 1.12 ERA. He fanned 40 against 17 walks over 54 innings. He will join forces with right-hander Mike Sasso to give MKA a solid pitching presence.
John Holland, Jackson Liberty
The senior right-hander who is heading to Felician posted a 6-1 mark with three complete games. He’s also formidable at the plate where he hit a team-leading .437 as a junior.
Brandon Holup, Jackson
The senior righty picked up five victories but may have pitched his best in the three losses he absorbed last season. He threw exceptionally well in a pair of 3-0 setbacks to Group 4 state champion Manalapan and had another solid outing in a 2-1 loss to Red Bank Catholic. He had a 2.16 ERA, struck out 40 and walked 10 over 45 innings.
Rob Kaminsky, St. Joseph’s (Montvale)
Kaminsky, a junior lefty, will be at the top of the Green Knights’ rotation. He picked up five wins, including a no-hitter over Wallington in last year’s Bergen County Tournament, 89 strikeouts over 53 innings and boasted a 1.85 ERA with a good mix of velocity and location. Kaminsky, who is a reliable outfielder, hit .534 with eight homers and 41 RBI.
Ari Kaufman, Ramapo
Kaufman is coming off a 2011 run in which he went 8-0 with a 2.10 ERA. The experience of the senior left-hander and his ability to work hitters will be instrumental to Ramapo’s cause.
Brian Kenny, Jackson
A transfer from Colts Neck, where he went 3-3 as a junior, the senior right-hander has good velocity and pounds the strike zone. He can also do damage with his bat that hit at a .411 clip with five doubles, a triple, three homers and 27 RBI.
Paul Mammino, Hillsborough
Mammino, a senior left-hander who is going to Wagner, counted four complete games among is 6-1 showing in ’11. He owned a 1.78 ERA in 43 innings of work.
Mark McCoy, Barnegat
The senior left-hander has excellent velocity with a fastball that peaks in the low 90s. A Wake Forest recruit, McCoy rang up 52 strikeouts in 42 innings with an ERA of 2.31 and a 1.18 WHIP.
Connor McMahon, Randolph
McMahon, a senior who also plays first base, was 4-0 a year ago with a 2.33 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 14 hits allowed over 36 innings of work. He hit .400 with four home runs and 32 RBI.
Jimmy Murphy, Columbia
Anyone willing to sleep on his deceptive 1-5 mark from a year ago will be exposed by the laser sharp fastball from the senior right-hander.
Tyler Pallante, Jackson Liberty
Pallante, a junior, went 4-3 and struck out 39 in 39 innings as a sophomore. He will team with senior John Holland to provide Jackson Liberty with a solid 1-2 punch in a rotation that could drive this squad on a deep post-season run.
Harry Paytas, Wall
In nine starts, Paytas went 8-1 with four complete games and a 1.78 ERA. The senior right-hander, who will join his batterymate, catcher Connor White, at Monmouth University, struck out 53 over 55 innings.
Matt Pidich, Christian Brothers
Hard-throwing junior, who has already made a verbal commitment to Pitt, the 6-3, 200-pound right-hander cuts an imposing figure on the mound.
Joey Rocchietti, Watchung Hills
The 6-2 junior went 6-3 on the hill last spring and will team with 6-1 classmate Tommy Giaimo (3-1) to head the Watchung Hills staff.
Kenny Roder, Hoboken
Roder gets the maximum out of his 5-7, 135-pound frame. The senior southpaw owned a 10-1 mark that included a whopping 137 strikeouts against 10 walks over 82 innings while owning a 1.28 ERA
Kurt Rutmayer, Cranford
The senior right-hander stamped a 6-2 mark with a three-hitter in a triumph over Gov. Livingston in the Union County Tournament final.
Mike Sheppard III, Seton Hall Prep
Heading to St. John’s, the senior righty was downright dominating last spring while crafting a 7-0, 1.55 ERA and ringing up 61 strikeouts over 40 2/3 innings.
Austin Solecitto, Indian Hills
The hard-throwing southpaw, with honed mechanics, is armed with a fastball that hovers in the high 80s. He has committed to Boston College.
Ryan Spahr, Red Bank Catholic
Wagner-bound senior righty was 5-1 with 65 strikeouts in 48 innings for a Caseys squad that brings back a wealth of experience from a team that went 26-4. Spahr will be an integral part of a rotation that will also count heavily on senior lefty Ryan Slate (5-0), junior Mike Rescigno and senior Nick Liggett.
Mike Sweeney, DePaul
A fixture for coach Joe Lennon over the last three years, Sweeney figures to be at the top of the staff for the defending Passaic County Tournament champion.
David Talpalar, Millburn
Talpalar will be one of two sophomores counted on in the Millburn rotation along with Evy Ruibal. Talpalar went 3-1 with a 1.84 ERA last spring.
Ryan Williamson, Cranford
A junior southpaw, Williamson (7-2) will team with Kurt Rutmeyer to give Cranford a 1-2 punch at the top of its rotation that was a combined 14-4 a year ago.
Gianni Zayas, North Bergen
A 6-2 senior right-hander who is committed to North Carolina State, Zayas is the headliner on a deep staff that will also feature juniors Marco Hernandez and A.J. Gale.
Gregg Lerner covers baseball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner