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Oregon State Baseball: Previewing The 9 Freshmen for 2018

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The latest batch of Pat Casey’s additions look promising for next season.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-LSU vs Oregon State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season is over and while the Beavers were tripped up short of the national championship, there’s reason to be optimistic in Corvallis. Losing arms like Jake Thompson and Max Engelbrekt (maybe Drew Rasmussen?) and the offense of KJ Harrison is going to be tough to replace. That being said, these nine incoming players should compliment Pat Casey’s returning pieces for a good chance at a return trip to Omaha.

Pitchers

Kevin Abel - San Diego, Calif.: Abel’s home town pro club, the San Diego Padres, seemed to think that he was ready to pitch at the pro level now when they selected him in the 35th round of this year’s draft. Abel chose to come to Corvallis, however, so we may even see him on the mound this year. As a RHP, Abel ranked #46 nationally at his position and #131 overall for the class of 2017 according to Perfect Game. At 6’2”, he’ll be an intimidating presence on the mound. Oh, and his fast ball has been gunned in the low nineties. Abel’s for real.

Michael Attalah - Redmond, Wash.: The #3 RHP in the state of Washington (#376 nationwide) comes to OSU from Cedar Park Christian in Redmond. Another 6’2” kid with a quality fast ball (high eighties), Attalah comes from an athletic pedigree. His mom played volleyball at St. Mary’s in the 1980’s while his father played pro soccer in Italy. Over his high school career he had an impressive 17 wins. While his high school team came one win short of the state championship this season, Attalah had a great overall last game with six strikeouts in six innings pitched.

Nathan Burns - West Bend, Wis.: Burns finished his high school career as the #2 recruit in his home state of Wisconsin, according to Perfect Game. The most impressive thing scouts seem to have taken away from Burns’ body of work is his command of the plate and the variety of pitches which excels at. Prep Baseball Report clocked his fastball between 89-91 mph, his curve ball and his slider in the mid seventies, and his changeup at 80 mph. He’s a confident and technically sound pitcher which can take him a long way.

Infield

Kyler McMahan - Lynnwood, Wash.: Lynwood’s shortstop found himself ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 high school prospects prior to his senior season. Perfect Game also called him the #108 shortstop in the country and the #6 recruit in Washington. While many thought he may be a late round pick in this year’s draft, McMahan’s name wasn’t called and he’s set to make his college debut. In an interview with a local paper in Everett, his high school coach Fraser Dizard absolutely raved about his defensive ability.

“He’ll make some plays where you think he has no chance and has to dive and gets up and throws a laser to first base and the guy is out.”—Fraser Dizard via the Everett Herald

Ryan Ober - Snohomish, Wash.: Ober played second base in high school at Glacier Peak and was ranked the #10 prospect in Washington by Perfect Game. He turned in an impressive senior year where he batted .441 in 20 games with 26 hits, 21 RBIs, and a home run along with eight extra base hits. He played year round with Taylor Baseball Club in the summer and on the Mariners’ Fall Scout Team. Defensively, Baseball Northwest ranked him in the top one percent of infielders. It’s almost a shame that the Beavers have such a young, quality middle infield already.

Outfield

Darius Foster - Atlanta, Ga.: Foster’s drawn some great praise from across the recruiting world. Perfect Game called him “an outstanding runner”, which is obviously what you want out of a center fielder. PG also calls him the #376 recruit in his class along with the #71 ranked outfielder. Additionally, Foster bats left handed, but throws right handed. Most scouts seem to think that he can stand to develop a bit offensively, but the makings of a quality athlete are here.

Utility

Christian Chamberlain - Reno, Nev.: Chamberlain can do it all. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper named him an All-American this past season. At the plate, he hit .485 with six doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs and 43 RBI. He also stole 20 bases. As a pitcher, he was 9-1 with a 1.06 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 59 innings. He even threw a no hitter as a junior. It’s not yet clear where he would get thrown in the rotation, but there’s so much potential for Chamberlain to really be something special.

Zach Clayton - Oconomowoc, Wis.: Clayton verbally committed to OSU all the way back in 2015 after Andy Jenkins came across him while visiting family in Wisconsin. Clayton ranks as the #16 overall recruit in the state of Wisconsin. He played mostly shortstop and pitched a little in high school, but the coaching staff indicated they intend to move him around in the field to see where he fits best. He excelled at three sports in high school (basketball, football, and baseball) and managed to win the WIAA’s Scholar Athlete Award. Clayton seems like a born winner.

Catcher

Troy Claunch - Vacaville, Calif.: Perfect Game ranked Claunch the #4 catcher in California and the #26 catcher nationwide for the class of 2017. Offensively, this kid is a legitimate threat. In his junior high school season, he batted .316 and drove in 21 RBIs. As a senior, he batted .318 with 27 hits, 11 RBIs, and a home run. He’s already improving upon his impressive resume this summer with the Corvallis Knights earning 10 hits in sixteen games so far. The Beavs have yet another bright young catcher coming through the system with Claunch.