#5 Oregon Baseball Preview

Oregon Ducks

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
Oregon College Baseball Top 44 Team Preview
Oregon Team Page


When you think of the Pacific Northwest, baseball usually does not come to mind. The rise of the Oregon football program has kind of overshadowed other sports at the school, but the Ducks have had a strong baseball program for years and figure to do so once again in 2013. The Pac-12 is as loaded as it ever was for competition, but Oregon seems to cut through the red tape every year and put up a team capable of sweeping straight through to the College World Series. They play baseball the right way in Eugene.

2012: 46-19, 19-11
2012 Postseason: NCAA Super Regional
Coach: George Horton

Field Players:
The loss of Aaron Jones means Oregon will have to do without one of its top home-run hitters from a year ago. The good news is Kyle Garlick (.287-6-41, 9 SB) returns to the field for another year and should anchor the Oregon power game. Even better news for the Ducks comes with the return of the team’s top two average hitters, Brett Thomas (.313-1-25, 9 SB) and Ryon Healy (.312-4-42). The Ducks’ top speedster, Aaron Payne (.277-1-27, 16 SB), is back for another go-round. J.J. Altobelli and Connor Hofmann are also back in 2013, meaning Oregon has six of its eight top starters back. Also look for reserve player Ryan Hambright to see more than just 102 at-bats in the upcoming season.  

Oregon’s top starter, Alex Keudell, is gone and takes with him an 11-5 record and 2.38 earned run average. He didn’t have too many strikeouts last year (74) but Keudell definitely displayed a lot of control (only 30 walks). Keudell may be gone, but top starters Jake Reed (8-4, 2.92) and Jeff Gold (8-4, 3.66) are back for 2013 and should provide plenty of air cover until the team can groom a replacement third starter. Brando Tessar (4-1, 3.42) could be that third starter, but his ratio (33 walks, 37 strikeouts) leaves a little bit to be desired. The same goes for Jordan Spencer (4-2, 4.26), although he will certainly be utilized. Jimmie Sherfy (5-3, 2.20) saved 19 games last year and will be back as the team’s closer. A sign of Sherfy’s value comes in the ratio column (34 walks, a team-high 93 strikeouts).

Who to Watch:
He may not make an impact right away in 2013, but Garrett Cleavinger may be a pitcher to watch in future seasons. If Cleavinger gets on the mound this season, keep an eye on what he can do. Cleavinger led Lawrence (Kansas) High School to a state championship in 2009 and regional titles in 2011 and 2012. He has plenty of World Series experience with travel-ball teams and could give the Ducks’ pitching rotation some stability. Everyone will keep an eye on Garlick, but this freshman could make an impact real soon.

Final Projection:
It looks like Oregon has enough in the tank to make another strong run through the field in 2013. Garlick’s home-run power will help protect the offense, as will Payne’s base stealing ability and the fact six starters are back on offense this year. Pitching is the same way. Keudell’s loss will sting a bit, but Reed and Gold will lift the squad on their backs if they have to do it. Oregon opens with a trip to Hawaii and goes through a non-conference schedule that includes Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge before opening Pac-12 play in mid-March.

Projected Postseason: College World Series

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Ryon Healy, IF, 253
Hits: Ryon Healy, IF, 79
Home Runs: Kyle Garlick, OF, 6
RBIs: Ryon Healy, IF, 42
Runs: Aaron Payne, IF, 42
Stolen Bases: Aaron Payne, IF, 16

Wins: Jake Reed, P, 8; Jeff Gold, P, 8
Innings Pitched: Jake Reed, P, 114.0
Strikeouts: Jimmie Sherfy, P, 93
Saves: Jimmie Sherfy, P, 19

Madness 2013 MLB Draft Rankings:
#105 Ryon Healy

Madness 2013 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#52 Cole Irvin


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