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12 days till FSU baseball: Tyler Ahearn could be X-factor out of the pen

Junior RHP has the arsenal, but has to throw strikes to be reliable arm out of the pen / Haylee Blitch

Tyler Ahearn came into FSU as the eighth ranked RHP in the state of Florida due to a flamethrower of a pitching arm. Ahearn has shown the high end arsenal in his first two years at FSU, but hasn’t had the command to back it up. Through 34.2 IP, the junior has walked 33 batters, while striking out 29 batters. After posting a 5.50 ERA in 18 IP during his freshman year, the righty posted a 9.72 ERA in 16.2 innings. With the struggles in command, the righty saw the mound just 12 times in his sophomore season. Three appearances of 4+ runs inflated the ERA over 9, but he ended the year giving up just two runs in his last eight innings of work, while walking just three batters.

Of his 12 appearances, Ahearn walked one or less batters in six of them in which he combined to give up zero earned runs in 8.2 innings. In Ahearn’s other six appearances, he walked 13 batters and gave up 18 ER’s in 8 innings of work. When he throws strikes, he’s a dominant pitcher, when he’s not commanding the zone it gets away from him quick.

The RHP still has some of the best raw stuff of the FSU pitching staff. Ahearn’s fastball will come in at the 91-94 MPH range and touch 96 MPH. His main off-speed pitch is a hard-biting slider which he throws 82-84 MPH and can get swings-and-misses with against right-handed batters if it’s around the zone. The righty can also drop in a changeup in the low 80’s against left-handed hitters.

With a loaded pen this year, TA will have to throw strikes or else he will rarely see the mound and likely see another reduction in innings pitched. If he can consistently throw strikes, he’s a legitimate late-game pitcher that can shut down hitters. FSU will still have a good bullpen and pitching staff if Ahearn doesn’t break through, but if he finds the zone at a consistent rate, FSU will have another dominant right-handed arm to match up late in games. The fastball-slider combo can be deadly against RHH’s if he can get ahead in the count and use them how he wants to.