It’s officially college baseball season and we here at BTD are obviously extremely excited.
With the opening weekend looming, we tossed around a few questions about this latest edition of the Beavs amongst ourselves in the form of a roundtable discussion. How did we manage to make something round with only three people? Read on to find out.
We may be bad at geometry, but man do we love Beaver baseball.
In 2017, the team was 56-6. Can they possibly live up to what last year’s team was able to do?
TJ - No way. I mean even if this team is somehow better, a record like that is once in a lifetime kinda thing. The game of baseball is too random and unforgiving to allow that to happen again.
RP - I’d say no, but it’s not impossible. Last season was historic for a reason, teams just don’t get 50+ wins like the Beavs did. Now, there were some bonker games that went in favor of OSU last year that I don’t expect us to be quite as lucky as this season. Still, this is a great team that I still expect to get over 45 wins this year.
JL - The team’s in store for another fantastic season. However, getting to that win total is something we are unlikely to see two years in a row. It’s up to them to separate themselves from the 2017 team in some way, preferably with a national championship.
What series are you most looking forward to and why?
TJ - Oregon. Cause nothing is as fun as beating the Ducks
RP - Most likely everyone and their mothers will say the Cal State Fullerton series. And with good reason. A rematch of the first round of the CWS from a year ago? Count me in. This series will feature 2 elite teams and will test OSU arguably more than any other opponent. Outside of the Fullerton series, I’d watch for the series vs Stanford. OSU and Stanford will probably be the top 2 teams in the Pac-12 standings at the end of the year, so their matchup is also must-watch baseball.
JL - Travis and Ross bring up some of the great ones, but I’d like to point out one other one. The Beavs travel to Missouri State for a three-game series in the middle of April. Missouri State won the Fayetteville regional in last year’s NCAA tournament and finished the year ranked 17th in the nation, per Baseball America’s rankings. Winning that series at that time of year will be a great addition to the Beavs’ resume.
What areas do the Beavs need to improve on from last year?
TJ - Honestly I don’t know that there is one. I guess I would say hit into less double plays(They led the league). Oh and demand video review of controversial things, even if it’s not available, just to practice for the postseason.
RP - Power hitting. Oregon State severely lacked in the power hitting (specifically HRs) as compared to many other teams in the conference, as well as the nation. And things aren’t getting better with KJ Harrison, our best power hitting, leaving for the MLB. The Beavs have to find a way to make teams consistently fear the long ball.
JL - For as many runs as they scored last season, they also left quite a few on the table. Hitting into 52 double plays was frustrating to watch, so hopefully, they can clean that up just a bit.
The Beavs are the #2 team in the nation to start the year according to every major poll. Too high? Too low? Or just right?
TJ - I don’t know the details of the other highly ranked teams, but with how 2017 went and the number of returners I would have been surprised if this team wasn’t in the top 3
RP - Anywhere within the top 3 is fine by me.
JL - Florida, the defending champs, are the consensus #1 and considering pretty much all of their team is back (along with a great recruiting class) it’s understandable they’re in that position. The Beavs are in that same category, however, so them being in the top two is very well deserved. I’d love to see these two meet in the postseason.
Which of the freshmen have the best chance to make an impact right away?
TJ - It’s gotta be Kevin Abel who is already competing for a rotation spot.
RP - I agree with Abel. Dude’s a true freshman and has a legit chance at the starting rotation. At the very least, he’s going to get good work out of the bullpen for the Beavs.
JL - Abel is a great player, but also keep an eye on Christian Chamberlain. The kid can do a lot of things very well.
Who’s the best player on this team not named Nick Madrigal?
TJ - I gotta go with Steven Kwan. He may not get the pub some of the other guys do, but he is so freaking fundamentally perfect it’s insane
RP - Adley Rutschman. Arguably the best catcher in the nation already. We saw how great his glove was during our postseason run last year. His bat is going to keep improving as well. I expect a big year out of Adley.
JL - I have to agree with Ross and say Adley Rutschman. Great reaction time, strong arm, a monster piece of that defense.
Is there anything Nick Madrigal can’t do?
TJ - I doubt it. I’m pretty sure he could toss a perfect inning or two on the bump if needed.
RP - Can he play quarterback for the football team?
JL - I hear juggling is really hard.
Win-loss record prediction for this year?
TJ - I'm just going with the regular season. 56 scheduled games. I'll go with 46 wins, 7 losses, and 3 rainouts
RP - Regular season, and on the (poor) assumption of no rainouts. I have 47 Wins and 9 losses.
JL - I’ll say 44 wins, 9 losses, 3 rainouts. We’re bound in to get a few of those, especially up in this part of the country
Oregon State opens the season on Friday against New Mexico at noon PST. Follow BTD on Twitter for commentary and keep checking the site throughout the year for recaps, previews, and other goodness.