2019 Preseason Top 25 Preview: No. 10 Oregon State
2018 Record: 55-12-1 (20-9-1 in Pac-12); won national championship.
Final Ranking: No. 1.
Coach (record at school): Pat Bailey (first season).
Top 100 Draft Prospects: C Adley Rutschman (No. 1).
The Good News: The Beavers, the defending national champions, will be looking to fill many holes from last year’s team. But with the return of star players such as junior catcher Adley Rutschman, the 2018 College World Series Most Outstanding Player, righthander Kevin Abel, the 2018 Freshman of the Year, and veteran righthander Bryce Fehmel, the Beavers have something to build from. Oregon State will rely on a deep pitching staff, along with what looks to be a strong bullpen anchored by junior lefthanders Jake Mulholland and Brandon Eisert. Even with some new faces in the field this season, the strength of the defense—always a hallmark of Oregon State’s teams—should compliment the solid pitching staff. Oregon State also adds a solid recruiting class to this year’s mix, including 6-foot-7 righthander Jake Pfennigs, who could make an immediate impact.
The Bad News: One of the keys to last year’s team was the strength in the middle of the diamond. With the loss of second baseman Nick Madrigal, shortstop Cadyn Grenier and center fielder Steven Kwan, the Beavers will need to find capable replacements to fill those holes. Shortstop Beau Philip, a transfer from San Joaquin Delta (Calif.) JC, will play a critical role. Freshman Jake Harvey and junior Andy Armstrong give the Beavers some capable options on the infield. In the outfield, both sophomore Kyle McMahon and junior Preston Jones will battle it out to find a replacement for Kwan in center field.
Player To Watch: Tyler Malone, OF.
Malone tied the College World Series record with three home runs in eight games, landing him on the CWS All-Tournament Team. Oregon State will be looking for him to carry that momentum into this spring. With the likelihood that Malone could be hitting behind Rutschman, rolling over that late-season power surge will be needed in this year’s lineup.
Path To Omaha: Repeating as a national champion is always tough in any sport, but Oregon State was able to do so in 2007 under the leadership of recently retired head coach Pat Casey. Now that daunting task will be handed to Bailey, Casey’s longtime assistant and a replacement very capable of leading the Beavers this season. In his first year at the helm, Bailey will have a team that returns a very deep pitching staff and has shown they can play defense with anyone in the country. Oregon State is also helped by the return of Rutschman, who is the early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in this June’s draft. Even though this team will have to deal with the departure of some star players, many players remain from the national championship team. Those returners, along with the addition of some talented newcomers, give the Beavers a chance to once again repeat as national champions.
College Player Of The Year Watch (4/5/19)
At the halfway point of the season, it's time to take stock of the College Player of the Year race.
|2B||Jake Harvey||Fr. (HS -- Kennewick, Wash.)|
|SS||Beau Phillip||Jr. (Transfer -- San Joaquin Delta (Calif.) JC|