Oregon St. freshman pitcher Andrew Moore has quickly become one of the best pitchers in the college game, and is a huge part of the success the Beavers, who are a win away from locking up the 2013 Pac-12 Championship. In a conference with multiple pitchers who are going to be high draft picks in the upcoming MLB draft, Moore was the first to post 11 wins.
Last Saturday's complete game 2 hit shutout win over Oregon was his second such line in his last 3 outings, following up his total frustration of California and a dominant performance at Stanford, and earned him both the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and national Co-Pitcher of the Week honors.
His accomplishments would be notable for a 3rd year veteran, but to get the kind of performances Oregon St. coach Pat Casey has gotten from Moore in the middle of his weekend rotation are unprecedented, never mind unexpected.
When the mid-week game of the Civil War rained out, I had a chance to chat with Jay Reese to find out more about Moore's background, and how he has been able to burst onto the Pac-12 scene immediately. Oregon St. fans know Jay for his work filling in for regular Beaver radio play-by-play voice Mark Parker early in the baseball season when the schedule overlaps and conflicts with the end of basketball season, and heard Jay alerting them to what Moore would be bringing to the team.
For those who don't know, Jay is also the host of "The BIGGEST Little Sportstalk Show in Oregon" on ESPN Radio 940 AM in Bend, OR, that airs weekdays at 5 PM. If your out of range, you can listen live or catch podcasts and read more at jayreesesports.com/the-biggest-little-sports-talk-show.
But Jay has also been on the southern and central Oregon sports beat for years, and seen as much high school and American Legion ball, and the stars that have emerged from those programs, as anyone, and so he saw Andrew coming.
Thanks, Jay, for taking time to talk some baseball, not that its ever hard to get you to do that!
You were one of the first to tout Andrew Moore's abilities when he first arrived at Oregon State, based on having covered him in high school and Legion ball, and you were spot on about him! When did you first see Andrew?
I believe the first time I saw him pitch was the summer of 2009 with the Eugene Bi-Mart Challengers American Legion team. I was broadcasting and reporting games for the Medford Mustangs who locked horns with Eugene twice that summer.
Medford went on to win the NW Regional, and played for the National Championship in Fargo, North Dakota with the likes of CF Max Gordon, and 3 other pitchers who went on to D1 programs. Brady Shipley (N.Medford HS-Nevada), Matt Mauer (N.Medford-Pepperdine), and Jordan Lewis (Phoenix HS-Houston).
Medford lost to Michigan. Shipley earned MVP honors at the AL-World Series along with Mauer. Shipley is now touted to be top-10 MLB draft pick June 6th. Ironically, OSU passed on him.
Moore seemed to match those guys talent and poise as perhaps just a freshman at the time.
About how many times did you get to see him, either with North Eugene High or his Legion team?
Perhaps 7-8 times I saw him pitch.
The most memorable was in the OSAA 2010 Class 5A Title game where he shoutout Ashland, 3-0 to win the Championship. Ashland had a very solid lineup after having won the Title in 2008 behind the stellar pitching of Sam Gaviglio.
Ashland's kid Ian Kendall (now in the Rays' minor league system) and Moore went toe-to-toe that Saturday afternoon at Volcano Stadium in Kezer.
Kendall struck out 12, I think, but some fielding miscues (3-4 errors) cost them the Title. Moore did what he does today in giving up only 2-3 hits, and relying on his team to get him some runs late which the Highlanders did. I think Moore went the distance, but Kendall left in the 6th, after he threw over 100-pitches in their semifinal win.
I remember that day well as I broadcast the game on the OSAA Network, and it was followed by Ben Wetzler, and Clackamas beating my boys from South Medford at the time to claim the 6A Title.
Can you walk us through how he progressed?
Well, generally speaking he was a gem the season of 2010 with North Eugene as I mentioned, and leading Eugene's Legion team to the State Tourney in Klamath Falls. He was tough to beat in the AL Tourney that summer which Roseburg won it all with Brandon Jackson, Jordan Priestly (Oregon), and Josh Graham (Oregon).
But, Eugene lost early in the Tourney, and had a tough schedule to have any shot to come back through consolation bracket to make the Finals, and there just weren't enough days rest where Moore could have won them one more game to maybe make the Championship game.
Roseburg took down Medford twice in that Tourney including the Title game, and went on to play in the World Series in Spokane. Moore beat Roseburg and Medford earlier in the summer, but Jackson and Graham came to life when it counted. Roseburg (Doc Stewarts) were .500 heading to the Tournament, but got on a roll. Had Eugene won their first game, I'm most certain Moore and the Challengers would have played for the Title at Kiger Stadium.
It's easy to see why he's so successful in watching him; he has great command of location, speed, and movement with multiple pitches, and a "clean" motion that doesn't even tire him, much less put him at risk of injuring himself. Did he have such uncommon command throughout his high school career, at least relatively speaking?
Absolutely. Once some coaches in Area-4 Legion ball told me about him, I began to take notice of him more. No question, he had then, what he has now. He always seemed so in control, and never got flustered even as 16-17 year old.
I recall at Swede Johnson Stadium one summer night while calling game on radio that Medford blasted 2-3 Home Runs off him, but he never got rattled, and Eugene got him some runs back to make a game of it. And, after every HR he gave up, he came right back with a first-pitch strike to the next batter as I recall, and got them out on a strikeout. That much I remember for sure.
His composure is even more impressive than his command. That ability to throw any pitch anywhere in any situation certainly helps, but I noticed almost immediately that you can't tell what happened with the last batter by how he pitches to the current one. Usually only very experienced pitchers have that ability. Did you see this aspect of him early on? Is it something that he's been gradually developing?
Like I mentioned, he has a demeanor that is like that of a heart or brain surgeon. He never gets flustered, or nervous when things get tense. I've seen alot of kids over my years lose it on the mound, and they never recover. Andrew you could see was well coached, and trained on the mental aspects of the game.
I think his Coach at North Eugene, Corey Nicholson, might be one of the most under-rated coaches in the State. Andrew has same type demeanor as Nicholson...cool, calm, quiet, under control, and enjoys the game.
His versatility, composure, and that non-violent delivery that doesn't tire him out has resulted in him going deep into games, including 2 complete games in his last 3 starts, which saves the bullpen for another game. Has he been an inning eater all along too?
Not sure exactly, but not too many times did I ever see him leave a game early in the 6-8 times, or so, I saw him in his younger days.
Both school ball and Legion ball are a pretty big deal in southern Oregon, more so than in some areas. Do you think the competitive level of the baseball he was involved in prior to Oregon St. put him ahead of the average incoming freshman?
No question. I know there's been some great ball over the state in the youth level, but I have to say Area-4 Legion ball, and the 6A/5A-Southern Oregon Conference & 4A-Skyline Conference has produced some top-notch talent which have gone on to major College programs, and pro ball.
Have to credit the many great coaches in those Leagues, and where Moore played who deserve credit like Nicholson who has had many good teams, but could never get over the QF hurdle until 2010.
But coaches in Area-4 and the prep ranks in the southern half of the state have made baseball in Oregon very very competitive.
Coaches such as Pete Whisler, Joe Tachinni, Scott Shaver, Sandee Kensinger, Todd Ziegler, Brett Wolfe, Jeff Sturgeon, Brett Watts, Don Senestraro, Eric Austad, Mike Reese, Dan Keck, and many others I'm sure I'm missing. These guys know how to teach the game, and kids buy in, and you can see like in Moore, what the end result produces.
I think between all those coaches as players, and coaches today there might be 25 or more Championships. Seriously.
Finally, he's passed the great Sammy Gaviglio for most wins as a freshman in Oregon St. history, he's the leader in the Pac-12 (which has several pitchers who will be high draft picks in the MLB draft) in wins, and was just named the National Pitcher of the Week. As a freshman. You called it that he would be a star for coach Casey and the Beavers. But truthfully now, did you expect this, or at least something approaching it, so soon?
I would say yes, as Andrew has been one of those guys on the mound that has all the ingredients to be very successful. He showed it early on in his playing days, and has worked extremely hard to develop his skill set, and hone his mental approach to the game, and each batter he faces.
With Andrew playing for Coach Casey and pitching coach Nate Yeskie, I knew he would be a quick learner, and step up big time to the D-1 game. He's a great young man, and just enjoys his craft, and quietly and silently loves a big challenge. It's been fun to watch, wouldn't you agree?
I agree completely, it has been a lot of fun to watch. Unless you are a Duck/Bear/Cardinal/Bruin... having to deal with him!
Thanks again Jay!