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How the Wetzler Suspension Can Help

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Ben Wetzler is currently under investigation from the NCAA for talking with a financial advisor and could miss up to half the season if they get their way. Until the matter is resolved Wetzler will continue to sit, which is poor for the Beavers' immediate future, but it may prove beneficial at the end of the season.

Ben Wetzler is out, but it is not the end of the season.
Ben Wetzler is out, but it is not the end of the season.

As the formerly planned Friday starter, Ben Wetzler might be the best pitcher for Oregon State currently. A case could be made for Andrew Moore, who is probably the most consistent of the starters with a good mix of pitches. Jace Fry is commonly well-evaluated by scouts and might have the most raw ability, but Wetzler might still be the best of them as shown with his fifth round selection in the MLB draft last year.

While losing a player of that quality can never be a true positive there are some possible silver linings that can come out of this situation. With six freshmen pitchers and with other pitchers on the bench like Scott Schultz it does let some others get time on the mound as well. If it keeps Wetzler off the mound he will also be well rested for the post-season as well.

The Beavers have started stockpiling a lot of players and it is going to be hard to get them some game time, but this will open up some time. Chandler Eden has gotten a lot of publicity going into the season although he has not gotten off to a great start this season, but he should not be judged off of one bullpen appearance. Mak Fox from New Zealand played well in his national duty, but also had a rough start last weekend. Jake Thompson started and pitched seven scoreless innings. Kevin Flemer and Trent Shelton have also made appearances out of the bullpen and did fairly well.

With all this youth and with the starters being set in the preseason, it looked like there was no time for them, and that they would have to learn strictly out of the bullpen. One of the issues with the post-season run last year for the Beavers was a lack of depth in the bullpen, although more of a lack of consistency. This led to Matt Boyd coming out of the pen which has been a strategy of Pat Casey in the past, but it also forced the Beavs to use Andrew Moore against Mississippi State twice and they seemed to figure him out in the second meeting. With all these talented freshmen and even some returnees like Scott Schultz, Max Engelbrekt, and Brandon Jackson, getting them some extra time might really help later on in the season.

Another bonus might be from getting Wetzler partway through the season. With a little more rest, Wetzler might have his absolute best stuff at the end of the season. Last season Andrew Moore saw his velocity come down as the season went, as he was not quite able to withstand the rigors of the full season. With a rested Wetzler the Beavs pitching staff that has gotten them ranked in the top 5 in every ranking might be even better.

Despite all these positives that could be drawn from this situation, it has still been poorly handled by the NCAA and is a mess. It seems a mistake to punish a player for trying to make sure they are making the correct life decision, it is not the same as hiring an agent. Hopefully the matter will be resolved quickly and Wetzler can get back to pitching, but in the meantime things are not that gloomy.