Kirk Saarloos is working hard this offseason to address TCU Baseball’s soft spots — namely starting pitching.
Earlier this month, he locked in Oregon starter Brett Walker, a veteran arm who should immediately compete for a spot alongside rising star Austin Krob in the weekend rotation. This week, he secured the services of Caleb Bolden, a Texarkana native who spent the last four years on the bump for Arkansas, where he pitched in 31 games across his career, including 17 in 2021 as the Razorbacks rose as high as #1 overall in the collegiate baseball rankings.
Bolden went 3-0 as a freshman with a 4.40 ERA, but played in just two games over the next two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and the whole pandemic situation that cut his 2020 season short. He was off to a roaring start in his return from injury, allowing just two runs in his two starts and four total appearances, striking out 15 and walking just three batters. This past season, he started ten games for the Hogs, compiling a 2-0 record and 4.50 ERA while striking out 44 and walking 24 as he moved in and out of the weekend rotation, ultimately missing the Fayetteville Regional due to a sore arm. He entered the portal a week later.
Bolden was not a big time recruit coming out of high school, initially committing to go the juco route after being a 16th round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. But he signed with Arkansas at the last minute, developing into a quality arm that could both start and operate out of the pen. He has the ability to paint the black with his fastball and has a swing and miss curve and an impressive changeup, and with the development he will continue to receive at TCUm, projects into a solid and potentially great right handed arm for the Frogs this spring. He also will immediately compete for a role on the weekends, where TCU is likely looking for two new starters.