Pac-12 Conference Preview
SEE ALSO: College Preview Index
Baseball Members (First Year): Arizona (1979), Arizona State (1979), California (1916), UCLA (1928), Oregon (1916-1981, 2009) Oregon State (1916), Southern California (1923), Stanford (1918), Utah (2012), Washington (1916), Washington State (1919).
Checking out: None.
Team to Beat: Oregon State The Beavers have the depth of hitters and arms to bounce back after mising the NCAA tournament last season.
Player of the Year: K.J. Harrison 1b/c, Oregon State Harrison rallied late and nearly matched his 2015 All-Freshman numbers, but the Beavers hope he can take a step forward as a junior.
Pitcher of the Year: Tristan Beck rhp, Stanford Beck became the third freshman to start Opening Day for the Cardinal since 1988. Just three Pac-12 starters last year posted better ERAs than Beck’s 2.48 mark.
Freshman of the Year: Nick Quintana 3b, Arizona The Las Vegas prep product is the highest drafted unsigned freshman in the conference and has a bat ready to contribute from Day One.
Top 25 Teams: Oregon State (9), Washington (12), Arizona (22), Stanford (23)
|Best Pure Hitter: Nick Madrigal, Oregon State|
|Best Raw Power: K.J. Harrison, Oregon State|
|Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Madrigal|
|Best Athlete: DaShawn Keirsey, Utah|
|Fastest Baserunner: Keirsey|
|Best Baserunner: Christian Donahue, Oregon State|
|Best Defensive Catcher: Joey Morgan, Washington|
|Catcher/Best Arm: Morgan|
|Best Defensive 1B: Matt Winaker, Stanford|
|Best Defensive 2B: Madrigal|
|Best Defensive 3B: Adalberto Carrillo, Southern California|
|Best Defensive SS: Cadyn Grenier, Oregon State|
|Infielder/Best Arm: Grenier|
|Best Defensive Outfielder: Keirsey|
|Outfielder/Best Arm: Quinn Brodey, Stanford|
|Best Fastball: Colton Hock, Stanford|
|Best Breaking Ball: Tristen Beck, Stanford|
|Best Changeup: Jayson Rose, Utah|
|Best Control: Griffin Canning, rhp, UCLA|
Other Projected Regional Teams
Arizona State: The Sun Devils are still trying to turn the corner in coach Tracy Smith’s third season, and could be on its way due to a touted, seventh-ranked recruiting class led by Fr. OF Hunter Bishop, the kind of toolsy, physical player Smith thrived with at Indiana. Arizona State traveled to the Dominican Republic for a productive fall ball trip, but in late December Smith shook things up when he removed pitching coach Brandon Higelin—who’d been with him at Indiana—choosing to handle those duties himself.
UCLA: Injuries derailed the Bruins and led them to missing the NCAA Tournament last season, but they have the talent to bounce back in 2017. Jr. RHPs Griffin Canning and Jake Bird lead the rotation, with exciting but wild So. LHP Justin Hooper ready to take a step forward.
Notable Storylines: Following a lackluster regular season last year, no Pac-12 team hosted a regional. It was the first time that had happened since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999. While the conference nearly produced the national champion, it will still be looking for a bounce back this spring. . . . Utah won the Pac-12 for the first time last season and made its first regional appearance since 2009, despite an overall record under .500. Now the Utes will try to improve on last year's finish. Jr. RHP Jayson Rose (8-5, 2.89) has the league’s best pitch with his double-plus changeup, while his brother Sr. Josh Rose (.290/.372/.456) returns to an athletic outfield that also includes So. DaShawn Keirsey (.293/.349/.358, 11 SB). The club’s X-factor should be draft-eligible So. RHP Riley Ottesen (2-2, 6.38), who has touched 96-97 mph at times and moves into a rotation spot. . . . California entered last season ranked No. 8, only to see its season derailed by injuries and it missed the NCAA tournament. The Golden Bears will be much younger this season after losing catcher Brett Cumberland, the Pac-12 player of the year, and ace Daulton Jefferies to the draft. This season, Cal will turn to its talented underclassmen. Coach David Esquer said the makeup of this year’s team reminds him of the 2010 club, which formed the core of the 2011 College World Series team. Cal brought in the 24th-ranked recruiting class a year ago and this fall landed righthander Jared Horn, the 32nd-ranked player in the 2016 BA 500. Horn was the highest-ranked player to reach campus and, while he will have to learn how to compete against Pac-12 competition, he has the stuff to make an instant impact. The Golden Bears will need him and a few of their other freshmen and sophomores to do so to get back to regionals.
Rays Stay Busy, Trade Austin Pruitt To Astros For Prospects
Just hours after sending Matthew Liberatore to the Cardinals, the Rays made another trade to acquire prospects.
|2017 Top 20 Prospects||2018 Top 10 Prospects||Top 10 Newcomers|
|1. Tristan Beck rhp, Stanford||1. Nick Madrigal 2b/ss Oregon State||1. Nick Quintana, 3b, Arizona|
|2. Colton Hock rhp, Stanford||2. Justin Hooper lhp, UCLA||2. Jared Horn, rhp, California|
|3. Griffin Canning rhp, UCLA||3. Kyle Molnar rhp, UCLA||3. Hunter Bishop, of, Arizona State|
|4. David Peterson lhp, Oregon||4. Tanner Dodson rhp, California||4. Erik Miller, lhp, Stanford|
|5. Drew Rasmussen rhp, Oregon State||5. Cadyn Grenier ss/of, Oregon State||5. Daniel Bakst, 3b, Stanford|
|6. Jayson Rose rhp, Utah||6. A.J. Graffanino ss, Washington||6. Christian Jones, 1b, Washington|
|7. K.J. Harrison 1b/c, Oregon State||7. Parker McFadden rhp, Washington State||7. Grant Gambrell, rhp, Oregon State|
|8. J.J. Matijevic 1b/of, Arizona||8. Joe DeMers rhp, Washington||8. Adley Rutschman, c, Oregon State|
|9. Mitch Hart rhp, Southern California||9. DaShawn Keirsey of, Utah||9. Ben Baird, ss, Washington|
|10. Jake Bird rhp, UCLA||10. Cesar Salazar c, Arizona||10. Ryan Kreidler, ss/3b, UCLA|
|11. Quinn Brodey of, Stanford|
|12. Joey Morgan c, Washington|
|13. Tim Susnara c, Oregon|
|14. Elliott Cary of, Oregon State|
|15. Noah Bremer rhp, Washington|
|16. Cal Stevenson of, Arizona|
|17. Riley Ottesen rhp, Utah|
|18. Sean Bouchard 1b, UCLA|
|19. Bryce Carter c, Stanford|
|20. Christian Donahue 2b/of, Oregon State|