I haven’t heard anything good said about the man all year. From fans, and even players’ families have had many complaints about him. That said, the talent of our pitching staff does seem to be improved, Lockhart most of all in my observation. He’s made some terrible in game decisions for sure. I’m not here to defend or criticize him, so much as ask those here who know more about the ins and outs of the team than I do. How much blame and/or credit is on the shoulders of Rooney?
I do not like his management of the the staff. I also question his 2 strike philosophy at times.I believe He has overused Fred, and Devo. There has also been several games where you can see guys starting to lose it and He is slow to react. Just my 2 cents worth and I slept at a Holiday in Express last night.
I have not made as many games this year, but I found out from other fans the same reaction to Rooney as you have stated. They believe that the credit of the pitching success (2nd in AAC) goes to the talent of the pitchers. They believe that their success is in spite of CTR. He has a good track record as a head coach & pitching coach and susposed to be a good recruiter! I guess it is hard to say.
All I know is that Houston was at the top and powerful-looking when it had a great pitching coach (Anderson). When he left, it just has not been the same.
I also have the same observations on Rooney as stated above.
(Edit: Good lord, I wrote a book, I apologize. TLDR…Rooney’s got issues with bullpen management, but otherwise has been pretty good at turning guys into solid pitchers)
It’s tough, because he’s coming right after Frank Anderson and a lot of the kids still here were recruited or chose to come here because of Anderson. He’s not the same type of pitching coach that Anderson is either which may be where some of the complaints might stem from.
However, pitching has carried us this season and it carried us last season as well so it’s hard to be too upset about the job he’s done. Last year, we saw Fletcher go from closer to starter, Pulido become a reliable enough arm that he ended up in the minors, and Henry seem to get his control issues in order to be one of the best closers in the NCAA. This year, we’ve seen Lockhart seemingly come out of nowhere to be a fairly reliable ace of the staff, Aguilar continue to show the promise that he showed last year as a freshman before getting hurt, Villarreal and Roedahl have become two of the best relievers in the NCAA, and Bretz developed into a pretty good arm. I don’t think you can just chalk all that up to talent.
My issues with him stem from his use of the bullpen. I do think he tends to latch on to 2 or 3 guys out there and will go to them no matter what as the season goes on. I think Henry may have suffered last year due to that and ended up having an arm injury that has lingered into this year. Our bullpen also seemed tired by the time the postseason rolled around and wasn’t as effective. He seems to be doing the same thing this year with Roedahl and Villarreal and we’ve seen Villarreal, especially, have issues at times as of late. His bringing Villarreal in Saturday night for Game 2 in the 10th after he pitched in Game 1 was inexcusable and might have cost us yesterday’s game if Bond hadn’t come through. There really doesn’t seem to be any reason as to why Bond and Hurdsman (or even Pettitte) can’t see action in a game or two to help shore up the bullpen instead of pitching Bretz, Roedahl, and/or Villarreal multiple innings in multiple games throughout the week. It’s doing the team a disservice and it’s doing those young kids’ careers a disservice.
Other than that, I really don’t have too much of a problem with him. Again, he’s not Frank Anderson, but I’m not sure who else is that comes close at this point in time that we could hire. Rooney seems to be recruiting kids pretty well for the pitching staff and I know parents that love him. If he could just trust more than 2-3 arms in the bullpen, I think we’d be in better shape.
I quoted this specific section because I think it mirrors my criticism. The in-game management can be easily questioned in real time and some of the results have cost us valuable games in conference play. I get that you want to have 2-3 high leverage guys… but we keep seeing Villareal and Roedahl come in for 5-6 run leads that would be well served to be handled by Bond, Hurdsman or even 1-2 of the other relievers we haven’t seen in a month.
The standard was set impossibly high by the last coach, Frank Anderson, because quite frankly he might be the best pitching coach in college. He’s certainly among the best handful and we were lucky to have him for 5 seasons.
I’d grade Rooney two-fold:
- Off Field Development: A-. This year’s staff is almost entirely guys with no or minimal D1 pitching experience and yet the numbers say we have the league’s 2nd best staff behind ECU. The players deserve a healthy amount of credit, but so does the pitching coach. Guys like Lockhart, Villareal, Aguilar, Roedahl and Bretz were hardly sure things coming into 2019 and yet are all having good to great seasons.
- In Game Management: C-. We overuse certain pitchers to the detriment of winning games and to some degree those pitchers’ health. You don’t need to have a 10-11 man bullpen, but using the same 3 guys for anything remotely approaching a high leverage situation is going to burn your high-end arms out come postseason time.
Ultimately, our hitting has been what’s failed us more often than it should the last 2 years. Our pitching has been frustrating at certain points, but make no mistake our pitching is the main reason we’re back in the postseason projections.