Stetson’s Logan Gilbert Stays Hot

Stetson played its first 21 games this season at home, in the friendlyand warmconfines of Melching Field in DeLand, Fla. This weekend, however, the Hatters ventured north to play at Maryland and found winter when they arrived Thursday in College Park, a day after a snowstorm moved through the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The Hatters embraced the conditions and made a snowman.

“We were laughing about it and said we’ve just got to play loose,” coach Steve Trimper said. “A lot of these guys are from Florida. We had about nine guys yesterday who saw snow for the first time. We’re just keeping it loose.”

The snow was gone before Friday’s series opener between Stetson and Maryland, but the cold weather remained and the wind chill made the day feel colder than the game-time temperature of 46 degrees. Stetson again embraced the conditions and rolled to a 12-3 victory at Maryland.

The weather may have been unusual for the Hatters, but it didn’t faze ace Logan Gilbert, ranked No. 16 on the Top 300 draft prospects list. The righthander struck out 10 batters in 8.1 innings and held the Terrapins to two runs on four hits and a walk.

Gilbert, an Apopka, Fla., native, said Friday may have been the coldest game he’s pitched in, with only a trip to New Jersey Tech during his freshman year coming close. But the cold didn’t bother him at Maryland.

“It was a new experience but once you get going, it’s the same as always,” he said. “I felt like I had my pitches for the most part and didn’t really bother me too much with the offspeed gripping, so I felt pretty good.”

Gilbert’s fastball sat 90-92 mph Friday, down a tick from his typical velocity this season. His curveball played well against the Terrapins and he also worked in a slider and changeup. Gilbert gets great extension on his delivery, making him even tougher to hit and he controls his fastball well.

Trimper said two areas Gilbert has made the biggest strides in this year are his control and his mentality on the mound.

“He keeps calm and the other thing is he’s really been spotting that fastball,” Trimper said. “Logan usually gets inside with that pitch. That’s something that he didn’t have quite as much last year, but he’s really been pinpointing his fastball.”

Gilbert is listed at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, which is up from the 210 he was listed at over the summer in the Cape Cod League. He can probably still add some weight to his long frame, but already Gilbert is becoming a workhorse. Friday was his longest outing of the season and he said improving his efficiency so he can continue to pitch deep into games is one of the things he’s working on this spring.

 “I really like taking the stress off the bullpen, especially on Friday when we have a few more games on the weekend,” he said. “Anything I can do to make it easier on the team, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

So far this spring, Gilbert has done just about everything Stetson could ask of him. With Friday’s victory, he improved to 5-0, 2.57 and he has a 60-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 42 innings.

Stetson has produced a pair of high-end big league starters in recent years in Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom. Gilbert has the tools to follow in their footsteps, but he figures to get drafted much higher than either Kluber or deGrom, who went in the fourth and ninth rounds, respectively. Gilbert has the look of a first rounder and could become the highest drafted player in program history, surpassing Brian Snyder, who was selected 26th overall by the Athletics in 2003.

There’s still a long way to go from a cold March afternoon to the draft this June. And, for now, Gilbert is focused on helping the Hatters win. Stetson is off to one of the best starts in the country at 19-3 and the Hatters just want to keep the wins coming.

“Everything’s clicking,” Gilbert said. “I think the thing is everyone’s picking each other up, whether it’s pitching or hitting, everybody’s getting the job done and passing it on to the next guy. We’ve got a lot of momentum.”


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