Grading Beaver Baseball: The Outfield

Michael Conforto was the leader of the Oregon State outfield troika. - Andy Wooldridge

The Beaver outfield was one of the best in the country, delivering the majority of the offense and creating their own highlight reel with their defense.

Jeff Hendrix

Hendrix was exceptional once he finally got into the starting role. It took some time as he initially struggled with some injuries, and Casey was trying to decide between a glut of other potential center fielders, but with his bat and defense Hendrix would take a hold of the position. Among regular starters he was the leader in batting average with .351 , second with a .509 slugging percentage, and second with an on base percentage of .447.

Those last two stats were only behind Michael Conforto on the season, again demonstrating just how well Hendrix was hitting all year. In all three of those stats he was actually third in the Pac-12 as well. Towards the end he may even have been the top offensive player for Oregon State.

He had multiple big games, batting in winning runs, go ahead runs, but his greatest asset might have been his defense. He showed great range and seemed to read the ball off of the bat well. He made a number of diving catches all over the field, even one-upping last years human highlight reel Max Gordon. His best play on the year was probably when he stole a home run against USC:

The best part about the sophomore is that he still has a lot of room to grow. He showed glimpses of power, he is already hitting for average, his arm is acceptable, and he has great speed, as shown by his 5 triples which was tied for first on the team with Trever Morrison.

Expectations were low for Hendrix, but he completely exceeded all of them. He was trustworthy to the end and at times was the best player on the field. That earns him top marks.

Grade: A

Dylan Davis

In a way this was both a down and an up year for Davis. His batting average went down to .283 this season from .335 last season, but his RBI total stayed high. His total of 64 RBI was good for the Pac-12 lead, 8 above second place Michael Conforto.

His approach was poor for most of the year, swinging at bad pitches with a lot of first pitch swinging that ended in quick outs. He had a K% of 11.9% and a BB% of 8.1%. This shows that he generally at least made contact, but he did not see out a lot at bats, which would bring plate discipline into question.

Davis was still one of the most talented players on OSU, and was a known quantity coming in as a power bat with decent athleticism, and a decent defender. His defensive highlight of the year was probably in the regional when he slammed into the wall in the victory against UC Irvine to take away a hit. OSU still needed more offense out of him with Conforto slumping though and he could not deliver that.

He did end up as the fourth starter also as he has been clocked as up to 100 mph, but he generally lacks control, and despite starting 5 games he ended up with no decisions in every game without too few innings pitched in the game. He did end up with a 1.12 ERA and a .143 batting average against, which was tied with Ben Wetzler for the team lead.

This was not a banner year for Davis, but he did contribute a substantial amount in several areas for the Beavers and he will leave a large hole out in right field.

Grade: A-

Michael Conforto

Conforto is a Golden Spikes award finalist, which is for the nation's best amateur player, and was the 1st round pick of the New York Mets. He led the Pac-12 in runs scored, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and walks. He was second in RBI, third in doubles and homers, fourth in batting average and total bases, and seventh in hits and doubles.

With that massive stat dump it illustrates Conforto's resume for the season. Although it was a great a campaign though, anyone following OSU baseball knows that his hitting slump was the story of the failed postseason run.

Before his slump Conforto was batting around .400, and the fact it ended at .345 was indicative of how tremendous his early stats were. He was the heart and soul of the offense though, and when his bat suffered the entire team suffered. It is not fair to place all the blame on his shoulders, as he is just one player in the order, but as a leader on the team it did hurt.

His defense was excellent on the year though, he got fooled once against UO, but other than that he did not make any glaring mistakes, instead using his arm to score some amazing assists. The best throw came in a non-conference matchup against the University of Oregon:

His arm was accurate his entire career, similar to two throws last post-season, once against Kansas State, and once against Mississippi State to beat runners at the plate. He was a solid and reliable defender and would occasionally make a special play.

In the end it seems hard to rate Conforto hard for one bad slump, the only one in his career. It brings down his score a minuscule amount, despite how much he has done, as it was at a critical time in the season.

Grade: A-

Group GPA: 3.8

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