#16 Oregon State Baseball Preview

Oregon State Beavers

Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #5 Pac-12
Oregon State College Baseball Top 44 Team Preview
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If it had not been for that wild pitch, who knows what damage Oregon State could have wrought in the postseason? Sure, Dylan Davis let one pitch loose. It happens to the best of pitchers. It’s just that Davis’ pitch came at the most inopportune moment, as it scored a run for LSU and sent the Tigers to the regional championship in Baton Rouge. It was still a successful season for the Beavers, but 2013 finds them crowded in a very strong Pac 12 Conference baseball race. How will the Beavers fare?

2012: 40-20, 18-12
2012 Postseason: NCAA Baton Rouge regional
Coach: Pat Casey

Field Players:
Sophomore outfielder Michael Conforto (see Who to Watch) is the big, booming bat in this lineup. We’ll get to him a bit later. All of the other over-.300 hitters are back with the exception of MLB draftee Ryan Gorton. Tyler Smith (.343-1-39, 9 stolen bases) is an anchor in a strong hitting lineup that includes Danny Hayes (.307-5-27) and Nick Rulli, who got to play in eight games as a redshirt sophomore. Jake Rodriguez (.290-2-28) can catch and play infield, and Ryan Barnes (.284-2-24) possesses little pop with the bat but a pair of legs that can wheel around the bases (39 runs scored, 11 stolen bases). The bench of lower-hitting players is pretty deep, including Joey Matthews (.267, 24 runs), Max Gordon (.257, 29 hits) and Dylan Davis (.247, 12 doubles).

Just like the hitting has plenty of talent coming back, the pitching corps is by no means depleted. Jace Fry, Scott Schultz and Dan Child all have sub-3.00 earned run averages, and together they combined for a 14-8 overall record. Child also has a strong walk/strikeout ratio (25/79). On top of that Ben Wetzler (8-2, 3.10) is also back, and did we mention such backups as Matt Boyd (4-0, 3.41) and Tony Bryant (6-2, 3.82)? Keep an eye on Bryant’s strong ratio (8 walks to 35 strikeouts), as he could explode into star status if given some more innings to play.

Who to Watch:
Name an honor last year and chances are Michael Conforto picked it up. Conforto earned, among others, Baseball America All-American Second Team status, National College Baseball Writers Association Freshman Hitter of the Year honors, Louisville Slugger Freshman of the Year honors… you name it, this future star in the making likely earned it. All Conforto did to earn these honors was have quite an outstanding first year on the diamond. Conforto hit .349 with 13 home runs and 76 runs batted in to go with 76 hits and a .601 slugging percentage. The odds are pretty good you’ll see this face on a baseball card very soon with stats like those. In the meantime he is back and ready to lead the Beavers to more success.

Final Projection:
Our projected conference finish for Oregon State is fifth, and frankly that might be way too low. Do remember that the Pac-12 is quite loaded this year in terms of talented teams, but the Beavers bring back almost all of their hitting, a ton of quality pitching, speed on the base paths, plenty of strikeout power… in short, enough to do plenty of damage and possibly knock out a big team like LSU on the way to the College World Series.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Michael Conforto, OF, 218
Hits: Michael Conforto, OF, 76
Home Runs: Michael Conforto, OF, 13
RBIs: Michael Conforto, OF, 76
Runs: Tyler Smith, IF, 46
Stolen Bases: Ryan Barnes, IF/OF, 11

Wins: Ben Wetzler, P, 8
Innings Pitched: Dan Child, P, 106.2
Strikeouts: Dan Child, P, 79
Saves: Tony Bryant, P, 9

Madness 2013 MLB Draft Rankings:
#100 Adam Duke


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