Early thoughts on 2024 Pitching

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TN Sooner
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Early thoughts on 2024 Pitching

Post by TN Sooner »

I don’t mind the hate towards the Sooners from other fan bases - we’ve earned that and should wear it proudly.

I get irritated at the hate FROM alleged Sooners fans for the Sooners. Last night brought out the May haters from all over. You do realize she didn’t give up an earned run last night, right? After the obstruction call (which is an error), all 3 runs were unearned. Her stats over 3+ years are fantastic and anyone would be proud to call her a starter. She would be a strong #1 for all but about 5-8 softball programs in America. I think Sooners hate on her because she’s not a Parker or a Bahl.

https://soonersports.com/sports/softbal ... -may/16329
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Post by Bricklayer »

TN Sooner wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 7:00 am I don’t mind the hate towards the Sooners from other fan bases - we’ve earned that and should wear it proudly.

I get irritated at the hate FROM alleged Sooners fans for the Sooners. Last night brought out the May haters from all over. You do realize she didn’t give up an earned run last night, right? After the obstruction call (which is an error), all 3 runs were unearned. Her stats over 3+ years are fantastic and anyone would be proud to call her a starter. She would be a strong #1 for all but about 5-8 softball programs in America. I think Sooners hate on her because she’s not a Parker or a Bahl.

https://soonersports.com/sports/softbal ... -may/16329
So much of this. Could not agree more. Well said…
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Post by SoonerGirl1201 »

I don’t think it is hate to acknowledge the degree that a player is limited. I love what May had done for this team but it is insincere to not acknowledge that May got herself into the bind with some walks/hits well before the obstruction call notwithstanding. I’ll acknowledge the bad out fielding errors totally contributed for sure. If there isn’t repeated evidence that May struggles to fully take on the ace role we wouldn’t be having these discussions or comments. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge reality for what it is for a player despite how much you like them and root for them.

I keep waiting for her to prove me wrong. About this time last year everyone was pumping up May as being our ace over Jordy but even then you could clearly see it was Jordy. Im just saying as of last night it was clear Kelly is the go to shut down ace at this early point in the season. I really hope May settles in and challenges that but I have yet to a season where that happened.

In 22 it was Hope who overtook her, in 23 it was Jordy and it looks like in 24 it will be Kelly. I can totally appreciate the quality innings she gives us as she is an outstanding 2-3 pitcher. I just don’t see her being a 1 and that should be okay. We need a really good 2-3.
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Post by TN Sooner »

3rd in the nation in ERA in 2023. Behind Bahl, making her our “2”, but a solid 1 for most teams out there. She did scuffle a bit last night, but so did Jennings and Brito - I’m not demoting them because they made an error or didn’t do the job at the plate.

https://www.ncaa.com/stats/softball/d1

People remember a couple of bad outings, but softball is a long game and stats matter. May can pitch for me whenever the GOAT wants her to.
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Post by SoonerGirl1201 »

TN Sooner wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:28 am 3rd in the nation in ERA in 2023. Behind Bahl, making her our “2”, but a solid 1 for most teams out there. She did scuffle a bit last night, but so did Jennings and Brito - I’m not demoting them because they made an error or didn’t do the job at the plate.

https://www.ncaa.com/stats/softball/d1

People remember a couple of bad outings, but softball is a long game and stats matter. May can pitch for me whenever the GOAT wants her to.
Totally agree with this. OU is lucky to have May. Who pitched to close out the biggest games down the stretch last season? The season before? Who pitched to close it out last night? It was not May. That’s all I’m saying. You can get a pretty good ERA when you pitch against lesser talent and aren’t in at the critical times of close games - I’m not saying that was all the reason for Mays ERA, but again. Let’s be real.

This reminds me of the Dillon Gabriel conversations. You can acknowledge that a player is way above average and be happy they are on your team while also acknowledging that they have limitations.
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Post by SoonerGirl1201 »

Hey TN Sooner - I think I know where we will completely agree. Perhaps you are taking my comments of "Maxwell looking to be the ace this year" as a slight to May. That statement is not meant to slight May. May has been phenomenal in her role these past 3 years - playing it perfectly as a part of the 3 peat teams. We absolutely needed her in each season to win - without her, I doubt we win those 3 NCs.

I think to be successful in today's softball world you need 3 pitchers. 1 ace and 2 really good role players. The role players handle much of the work early, leaving the ace to slowly get to their stride nearing post season. Would it be great to have 3 aces - sure, but I don't see any team having that. By "ace" I simply mean the nails pitcher that can be their best when their back is absolutely against the wall and get outs. Take Stanford last year. Vawter was awesome, but you would agree that Canady was the ace right?

It is more than evident May has been a more than stellar #2 pitcher the last few years - and any team would no doubt LOVE to have her as their #1. She carried a ton of the load last year early (alongside Storako) and did the same the year before, alongside Jordy. It was actually Hope that really stepped up her game late in 22 to become the ace of that crew and clearly Jordy last year.

I would want no-one besides May as our #2 (even counting last year, as I think May edged Storako as the clear #2). All I'm trying to comment on early in this season, is that it looks like Maxwell is going to be that nails pitcher when we need her to be. The two things can both be true. May is phenomenal and Maxwell appears to be the ace.
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Post by TN Sooner »

I wasn’t trying to call anyone out specifically- that is why I came to this thread rather than add it to the other thread. My frustration started on another board - one with irrational posters. Then I come here and see some of the same. Example:
SoonerGirl1201 wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 9:18 pm I'll be honest after the bedlam Big 12 champ game in 22 that May lost I have not had faith that May can lock down an opponent (it was a walk that allowed OSU to score and win the game). I'm thinking Maxwell is going to have to be our Ace unless one of the others steps up.

Hoping May will prove me wrong, but I just haven't ever felt great confidence in her.
This was just the first example - there are several others in that thread.

All I’m saying - I’m not going to judge a 22 year old Sooner for a bad game 2 years ago, especially when I have 3+ seasons of really excellent work, with 2-3 games (innings, really) of bad work. Rather I prefer to marvel at how much May has contributed and how much better she has gotten, and, most importantly, how she has gained the confidence of the GOAT. Good enough for me.

That’s all I have to say about that.
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Post by AustinTXSooner »

SoonerGirl1201 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 3:59 pm By "ace" I simply mean the nails pitcher that can be their best when their back is absolutely against the wall and get outs. Take Stanford last year. Vawter was awesome, but you would agree that Canady was the ace right?
You and I have different definitions of ace. At times, our differing definitions will point to the same player. Other times not. My definition is, barring injury, the pitcher that throws the most innings. That pitcher has a level of trust from the manager/coach to get the job done. Go back to Paige Parker and Paige Lowery. I feel like your definition would point to Lowery. Mine would point to Parker. Patty would often bring in Lowery to close out games, when we needed the outs. Parker was the ace.

Stanford last year, Vawter was the ace. Canady came on strong late in the year, but Vawter is who they counted on the entire year.

And last year at this time, nobody thought Jordy was the ace. She started the season very rough. We hoped she would be the ace, but that didn't come until later.
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Post by inconnu »

Seems that Keeney and Maxwell have the best shots at getting the most innings, with May and Monticelli also playing quite a bit.
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Post by SoonerGirl1201 »

inconnu wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:31 pm Seems that Keeney and Maxwell have the best shots at getting the most innings, with May and Monticelli also playing quite a bit.
I think May and Kenney will split time pretty evenly I'm guessing and Maxwell will be considered what I call the "Ace" or pitcher you can count on to get outs. However, if ace simply means the pitcher that pitches the most, I guess I would say either Maxwell or May. Last year it probably wasn't Jordy and it just seems incongruent to say someone other than Jordy was our ace last year. So I guess I don't define that word like most.

I hold nothing against May, just a pattern I keep seeing year after year. As good as she is - she walks too many batters then has to rely on the defense to bail her out. If they do, her ERA is great, if they don't, they score runs against us and if our bats aren't alive we may very well lose.

I don't know what the right word is - but the "pitcher I want in there if we HAVE to win" appears to be Maxwell. I'm really hoping May develops into that and maybe even Kinney or someone else. But I think it is clear by who the GOAT put in the game against UW the last 2 innings that she probably aligns closer to me. She definitely didn't put May back in there.
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Post by AustinTXSooner »

Jordy was the ace last year, by both of our definitions. She had 147 IP and May was second with 107. Storako had 103.

I can only assume that you think May walks a lot of batters because you're comparing her to our other pitchers. Among Big XII teams last year, the average pitcher walked one batter every 2.5 innings. May walked a batter every 4 innings (0.26). Bahl was only slightly better than May in walks (0.25), but Storako was a lot better at one every 5.5 innings (0.18). Surprising to me was that May had more strikeouts per inning than Storako.

I want May and Maxwell to both succeed and I don't really care who is considered the ace. They are very different pitchers. Maxwell strikes out a lot of batters, but she also walks a lot. But I do agree with several others here that May is under appreciated.
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Post by TropicalSooner »

We sometimes seem to forget how May got her 'nickname'. Over the last three years....I have lost count how many times we have brought Nic into the game in late innings when we were in a real jam, bases loaded and or tying/winning runs in scoring position and without blinking an eye would just throw strikes or get ground outs or fly outs.
She didn't get her nickname "Ice" for no reason.
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Post by SoonerGirl1201 »

I've never tried to argue the value that May brings to this team and what she has brought in helping us get 3 straight. I don't want to disparage her in the least. I get that I'm calling the ace different than most perhaps. I'll be blunt. It appears to me this year Maxwell will be out best pitcher and May is #2. Hoping a clear #3 steps up from Keeney, Monticelli and Deal. When I say ace - I mean the best pitcher on the staff.

I think it is critical to have a #2 pitcher that you can throw at the less challenging teams and keep your #1 fresh. You have to have more than 1 pitcher to succeed. It is ideal to have at least another solid pitcher that can split time with the #2 and take the easy innings. When the rubber meets the road, you put in your #1 and if she is great you win in tough situations where most likely the #2 and #3 would not. I would love to see May get on a roll and start tearing it up. I saw a little of that last year, but against really good competition we were usually looking for Jordy to take the load. The GOAT chose May to start against Utah Valley and Maxwell to start against Duke. Just exactly what I would have done. It worked, starting May against Washington didn't work, thus Maxwell coming in to lock it down. Would have loved to see May not need that and be able to lock Washington down and finish out the game. In all bluntness I'm thankful May isn't our #1 and we have Maxwell. Super happy that we have a #2 as good as May though.
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Post by oufanforever »

The #1 can change throughout the season. No one had Bahl as our #1 last year until mid-March. May was our #1 in Feb and early March. May pitched the 8 inning gem so we can win 1-0 against Liberty. May came in and bailed Bahl out last year against Washington. Let's all be patient and see how this play out.
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Post by cushcreekmont »

VERY early yet. Much can change. However, from the two top teams the Sooners played, the CURRENT STORY is Maxwell as 1. May or Keeney may be two.


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