At 30-6 on the season with a #5 national ranking, Oregon State Baseball is cruising along this season and looks poised for another postseason run. With 4 more Pac-12 series left, the Beavs are entering the final stretch of this season. So, where does this team stand entering the last stretch of the season?
In short, the Beavs are in dam-good shape.
Still, want a more thorough answer? Fine, here’s the gist...
First things first, don’t rush to conclusions based on the fact that the Beavers are currently tied for the same amount of losses at the end of last season. If you’re reading this article, then you understand how rare a season like last year was. There’s a reason teams don’t just rattle off 50 wins every year. It’s incredibly hard.
With that being said, Oregon State still has the second-fewest losses out of all teams in the top ten, behind only #2 Stanford. From a national perspective, the Beavs are still favorites to host NCAA Regionals and finish in the top ten, and possibly top five. That alone should be reassurance enough for Beaver fans.
When looking in-conference, it is worth noting that the Beavs have struggled more in conference play this season than last. The team is 10-5 overall in-conference and currently sits in third place behind Stanford and UCLA. The Beavs still have yet to play either team, so the Beavs can gain ground in conference placing as well as in national placing. Yet, you can’t help but notice that Oregon State has not been putting away teams consistently in conference play. That note leads to my first positional recap: the pitching.
At this point in the season, the pitching of Oregon State has come in at fourth overall in the conference. The pitching staff holds a team ERA of 3.56 with an allowed opposing BA of .234. This ranking may concern Beaver fans slightly after last season, but you should be quick to dispel those concerns. This team may not be posting the gaudy numbers of last year’s squad, but the team still has a respectable staff that has the ability to shut down any team in the nation. Ace Luke Heimlich and #2 pitcher Bryce Fehmel have both been up-and-down (by their standards) this year. Yet, both seem to have finally found a groove after quality starts against Oregon in their last appearances. What has been a pleasant surprise on this staff has been the emergence of Sophomore Grant Gambrell as the Beavers #3 pitcher. Gambrell has posted an ERA of 2.98 and has come in big for the Beavs over the past few series.
It’s not been the starting rotation that’s been the crux of this team, however. The bullpen has struggled to find consistency throughout the year. Dylan Pearce, Jake Mulholland, and Brandon Eisert, along with glimpses of brilliance from Jordan Britton have helped the Beavers bullpen this season. The rest of the bullpen, however, has not been as strong. Some of this can be attributed to the youth of the rest of the bullpen, as many of the remaining pitchers are in their first or second year of collegiate pitching. It’s been trying at times to close games this year with a bullpen that has problems with consistency, but that doesn’t mean the pitching is in bad shape. The team still has one of the better rotations in the conference and they only look to be getting better down the stretch.
Oregon State is statistically in the middle of the pack in terms of their fielding at this point of the season. The Beavs sit at fifth in the conference in overall fielding. To no one’s surprise, leading the way has been all-star catcher Adley Rutschman with 298 putouts, and right on his heels is Zak Taylor with 220 putouts. Returning infielders Cadyn Grenier and Michael Gretler have been solid for the most part while Steven Kwan has been excellent in the outfield.
Despite some strong individual performances, it’s been no secret that there has been a noticeable decline in overall team fielding to this point of the season. Part of that could be attributed to the absence of Nick Madrigal (though Andy Armstrong has filled in admirably for the Beavs). Part of the problem could extend to some pitching woes that have plagued the Beavs to this point of the season. The fact of the matter is, the Beavs’ fielding isn’t what it was last year. More has to be expected of a roster that returned almost it’s entire infield and outfield from a postseason run to Omaha a year ago. Injuries have plagued the Beavers offense, so hopefully, as this squad gets healthier, the fielding will improve as well.
And now, saving the best for last, we arrive at hitting. The Beavers are first overall in the Pac-12 conference in hitting. That’s right. First. Place. Booyah.
The team as a whole boasts an average of .311 and have plated 263 total runs to this point in the season, good for first and third overall, respectively. The team has also vastly improved their power, as they’ve slugged 12 home runs to this point in the year, which is tied for third most in the conference. The bats of the Beavers have come alive this season, and have been the driving factor to this team’s success.
Leading the way has been (Surprise) Adley Clutch-man with a whopping average of .392, with Trevor Larnach in second overall with an average at .342, and in 3rd is Kwan and Grenier who both have a .319 average. Also, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the emergence of Andy Armstrong in the wake of Madrigal’s injury. Armstrong has stepped up big time at the plate and in the field and has earned a starting place on this roster. Oh, and how can I not forget Nick Madrigal, who is casually hitting a cool .512 (sure he’s been injured most of the year, but it’s fun to hype up this stat)? This team boasts five starting hitters who are hitting over .300 and a sixth starter, Tyler Malone, who is hitting .299. That is just bonkers and, not to mention, totally unfair to other pitching staffs.
Beaver fans should be thrilled with how the teams bats have awoken this season. They’ve carried this team to this point of the season, especially when the pitching has faltered.
This team has had its ups and downs this year. That was to be expected after such a dominant season a year ago. However, the Beavs have still managed to scrape their way to the #5 overall ranking in the nation. With a little more than a month left of college baseball, Oregon State is in great shape for another deep postseason run. If the fielding and pitching continue to improve, the sky is the limit for this team.
The Beavs still have tough matchups versus Stanford and UCLA to prove their worth in the PAC-12, but any Beaver fan should be thrilled with the overall status of this team. There’s still work to be done, but the Beavs are in great shape as we head toward the final stretch of the season.
What do you think Beaver fans? How has the season gone in your opinion? Vote below and sound off in the comment section with your opinion!
How has the Beaver Baseball team fared this year?
This poll is closed
We’re in great shape!
Meh. Could be better
Terrible!!! Full-on panic!!!!!