Will Texas baseball’s 2018 starting lineup have a new face at catcher?
Hill College catcher DJ Petrinsky committed to David Pierce and the Longhorns on Thursday, according to Burnt Orange Nation.
The JUCO sophomore posted a .358 average, bashed 12 homers, and struck out only 25 times in 189 at-bats in 2017. Those numbers were not a fluke — as a freshman he also knocked 12 homers his freshman season, hit for a .390 average, and only struck out 23 times in 164 at-bats.
Petrinsky could also be the newest member of the Texas’ “Sneaky Wheels” club, as he had 13 total stolen bases in his two years at JUCO.
He was a first team All-Conference selection for NJCAA Region 5 in both of his years at Hill College. He also made the All-Academic team for his conference.
Where Petrinsky will likely need to develop at Texas is on defense. He allowed 12 passed balls in 2017, and 16 in 2016. Petrinsky’s runners caught stealing percentage this season was .455, up from .359 in 2016. He caught 15 runners stealing as a sophomore, and 14 as a freshman.
Texas coaches are clearly still confident that Petrinsky can be a force not just at the plate, but behind it as well. As director of baseball operations Drew Bishop said in reference to Petrinsky, “You steal, you out.”
Out of high school, the Magnolia native was rated by Perfect Game as the 33rd best catcher in Texas and the 272nd best catcher in the class overall.
The 6’1, 190 pound prospect originally committed to Alabama in April, but obviously will no longer be a member of the Crimson Tide.
Texas adding a catcher is a fascinating development due to the fact that the ‘Horns are currently have four catchers on the roster for 2018. Michael Cantu and Michael McCann are set to return, and the Longhorns have also signed Episcopal High School’s Turner Gauntt.
Gauntt will likely redshirt, and Petrinsky could be used as a DH in addition to playing catcher. Still, it will be interesting to see if there is a shake up at the catcher position.
David Pierce and company added Petrinsky this late in the recruiting cycle for a reason, and it is likely that the newest Longhorn will be a starter or a heavy contributor on the 40 acres in 2018.
If his JUCO numbers are any indication, he certainly has the talent to make an impact.