#2 Oregon State Baseball 2014 Preview

Oregon State Beavers

Overall Rank: #2
Conference Rank: #1 Pac-12
#2 Oregon State Baseball 2014 Preview
Oregon State Team Page


Oregon State had a very successful 2013 season, returning to the College World Series for the first time since the Beaver’s back to back National Championships in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.  They won 52 games last season and won the Pac-12 Conference title.  After sweeping the regional they hosted, Oregon State rebounded from a loss in the opening game of the Super Regionals to make it to Omaha and then eliminated Louisville and Indiana before falling to eventual runner-up Mississippi State.  This season, a number of key returnees are back and there are high expectations in Corvallis.

2013: 52-13, 24-6
2013 Postseason: CWS
Coach: Pat Casey

Field Players:
The outfield duo of Dylan Davis and Michael Conforto lead the attack at the plate for the Beavers.  Davis led the team in batting average at .335 and in RBI’s with 61, while also hitting five home runs.  Conforto was equally as impressive, hitting .328 with 47 RBIs and a team-high 11 home runs.  Conforto also drew 41 walks and was hit by 14 pitches, posting a .447 on base percentage.  Andy Peterson and Kavin Keyes both return after posting solid junior seasons.  Peterson was second on the team with a .333 batting average and added 28 RBIs, while Keyes hit .316 with two home runs and 34 RBIs.  The Beavers lose a lot of production beyond those top four, but some players return looking for increased roles.  Senior Jared Casper should see more playing time after starting 20 games last year.  He hit .167 with 11 RBIs in 66 at bats.  Outfielder Jeff Hendrix appeared in 32 games as a freshman and hit .259, while infielder Gabe Clark hit .161 in 15 games.  Nate Exposito could also see an increased role after starting 13 games at catcher last year.  A highly ranked recruiting class should compete for multiple spots.  Infielder Trevor Morrison leads the group.  He was Baseball America’s 139th best prospect in the country and turned down a 38th round draft selection by the Boston Red Sox.  Michael Howard joins the team from junior college and could contribute in the outfield after hitting .325 at Yavapai College.  Other newcomers who could contribute are catcher Logan Ice, infielders Billy King and Tyler Mildenberg, and utility player Dan James.  

The pitching staff is what makes the Beavers a dominant team.  Ben Wetzler and Andrew Moore return from last year’s staff after posting great numbers.  Wetzler went 10-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 2013 and turned down a fifth round selection in last June’s draft to return for his senior season.  Moore was a consensus All-American as a freshman after going 14-2 with a 1.79 ERA.  They will be joined in the weekend rotation by Jace Fry, who missed most of last season after Tommy John surgery.  He was 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA in six games last year.  Max Engelbrekt and Scott Schultz will anchor the bullpen.  Engelbrekt was 5-1 with a 1.30 ERA and totaled five saves in 22 games as a freshman.  Schultz figures to be the closer after saving ten games in 2013.  In 27 games, Schultz posted a 2-1 record with a 2.08 ERA.  Brandon Jackson also returns after posting a 4-1 record and a 2.48 ERA in 19 appearances.  He will be joined by Tyler Painton, who appeared in 11 games and had a 2.40 ERA.  A pair of freshmen, Jake Thompson and Chandler Eden, could both have key roles after stellar prep careers.

Who to Watch:
Watch for the return of Jace Fry this season.  Fry had a great first season on campus, going 5-3 with a 2.25 ERA with three complete games in 13 starts in 2012.  His numbers earned him spots on numerous All-American teams and he was also honorable mention All-Pac-12.  Fry missed most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but looks healthy and ready to go this year.  Fry will be the Sunday starter and his experience will be key to replacing Matt Boyd in the rotation.

Final Projection:
With the talent that Oregon State has back, expectations are high for the Beavers.  They have multiple All-American caliber players on both the mound and in the field.  The Beavers will be tested early, as they face reigning West Coast Conference champ Gonzaga to open the season and follow that up with three of the top teams in the Big Ten: Indiana, Michigan State and Nebraska.  Oregon State eliminated Indiana from the College World Series last season and the Hoosiers will look for revenge.  They return almost their entire team and the matchup should be a measuring stick to see where the Beavers sit this year.  Oregon State has all the talent to win these games and more and should find themselves back in Omaha this year.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Dylan Davis, OF, 257
Hits: Dylan Davis, OF, 86
Home Runs: Michael Conforto, OF, 11
RBIs: Dylan Davis OF, 61
Runs: Andy Peterson, C, 49
Stolen Bases: Andy Peterson, IF, 14

Wins: Andrew Moore, P, 14
Innings Pitched: Andrew Moore, P, 131
Strikeouts: Ben Wetzler, P, 83
Saves: Scott Schultz, P, 10

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#23 Michael Conforto
#41 Dylan Davis
#72 Ben Wetzler
#85 Jace Fry


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