Overall rank: #39
Conference rank: #7 Pac-12
Oregon Team Page
On one hand, Oregon’s baseball team had a good season because the Ducks finished above .500. On the other hand, Oregon missed a qualifying berth in the NCAA tournament. The Ducks hope this is the year where they break through the top 40 and earn a berth in the regional round. Not to mention Oregon’s record represented a small drop-off from the 40-24 record posted in 2010. Oregon needs some more pop in its bats to make a splash in the standings.
2011: 33-26-1, 11-16
2011 Postseason: none
Coach: George Horton
The graduation of top hitter Danny Pulfer (.351 average, two homers, 20 RBIs, .467 slugging percentage) left a hole at the top of the lineup that will be hard to fill. Catcher Aaron Jones (see Who to Watch) will try his best, as will infielder J.J. Altobelli (.236, 12 doubles, 20 RBIs). Reserve Ryon Healy, who started half of the team’s 60 games, is an infielder and pitcher and his .320 average and four homers will go a long way in a revamped lineup. The Ducks only hit 19 homers as a team, a paltry number compared to some teams you see at the College World Series and in the NCAA super-regional rounds.
Top pitchers Tyler Anderson and Madison Boer graduated, leaving behind sub-2.50 earned run averages, a combined 11-9 record, 70 walks and 188 strikeouts. To fill that gap, the Ducks will rely on pitcher Alex Keudell (7-3, 2.89 ERA, 71 strikeouts in 90.1 innings) and pitcher Christian Jones (7-2, 3.24, 73 strikeouts in 77.2 innings). Keudell throws right and Jones is a lefty, so that should help the Ducks overcome loaded lineups on both sides of the plate. Everyone who had saves last year for the Ducks is gone, so the team will have to groom new closers.
Who to Watch:
This is the season where catcher Aaron Jones will have to elevate his game slightly to offset the loss of Pulfer to graduation. Jones only hit .270 in 59 games but had ten doubles and two triples among his 57 hits. A .365 slugging percentage isn’t the best in the Ducks lineup, but it will have to do as Oregon finds its way in a tough conference. If Jones can cut down on his 41 strikeouts and punch up his numbers, he might be the answer the Ducks are looking for in the lineup.
It’s going to be hard for Oregon to gain some traction if the losses of Pulfer, Anderson, Boer and other closers like Kellen Moen and Scott McGough can’t be overcome. The Ducks need more pop in the bats, more strikeout-oriented pitchers like Anderson and Boer, and a little more seasoning up and down the lineup in order to gain some much-needed victories.
Projected Postseason: NCAA
At bats: Aaron Jones, C, 211
Hits: Aaron Jones, C, 57
Home Runs: Ryon Healy, P/IF, 4
RBIs: Aaron Jones, C, 38
Runs: Aaron Jones, C, 29
Stolen Bases: J.J. Altobelli, IF, 7
Wins: Christian Jones, P, 7; Alex Keudell, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Alex Keudell, P, 90.1
Strikeouts: Christian Jones, P, 73