#1 Reliever: Dan Gentzler, New Market
May 8, 2009 - John Leonard
Our #1 pitcher has had an interesting journey already, and he's "only" a junior in college.
Dan Gentzler attended Mary Washington in the fall of 2005, but was cut from the baseball team that fall. He ended up transferring to Maryland, which, from a career standpoint, wouldn't look like a good move. Stands to reason, right? If he got cut at Division III Mary Washington, what would happen at Maryland, a Division I team in the ACC?
This is what happened: Coach Farr, the pitching coach, noticed the walk-on's loose arm and encouraged him to drop down to throw sidearm instead of over the top. How did the adjustment go? "The adjustment was actually pretty quick," Dan said. "I only threw three or four bullpens and one session to some of our hitters before I pitched in my first game. I got the hang of it quickly."
Yes, he did. While he didn't pitch a huge amount for the Terps in '08, he went 2-2, 2.12, with 1 save, an 0.88 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 6.4 K/9 in 17 innings.
Then he showed up at New Market. He proceeded to put together what I believe is the best season by areliever in 2008: 2-1, 0.30, with a 0.800 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 6.9 K/9, and .155 opponent's batting average in 30 innings. Of all the relievers I surveyed for this list, Gentzler came in first in WHIP, ERA, and batting average against. To put this in perspective, he gave up a grand total of one earned run in those 30 innings. He faced 119 hitters, and allowed 13 singles, 2 doubles, 1 triple, and 0 home runs. I think it's safe to say that he shut down opposing lineups.
Dan is also currently leading the Terps pitching staff in ERA, with 2.91. He is 2-2, with 6 saves, a 1.15 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and 6.9 K/9 in 34 innings (through May 3).
The only question mark about Dan at this point is if a major league team will take a chance on that side-wheeling loose arm. One scout I spoke to at the all-star game in Covington said that he had turned Dan's information in to his team (that shall remain unnamed).
Whether or not Dan gets an opportunity to throw at the next level, he had a fantastic year in the Valley. Congratulations!
(Action picture courtesy of Haymarket Joe)
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