The national champion Beaver baseball team is returning a lot of talent in 2019. It’s just not the same talent that we saw most of the time the last two seasons. Last week, we talked about how the new pitching staff has the potential to be even better next year. While we’re less confident about the rest of the team, there’s still plenty to be excited about.
Centerfielder Steven Kwan was as reliable as can be offensively and defensively with the sixth best batting average and second most hits in the entire league. Right fielder Trevor Larnach scored more runs than anybody in the league. Big shoes to fill right? Well, let’s take a look at what OSU is working with in the outfield moving forward.
Departures: Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach, Kyle Nobach, Jack Anderson.
Kwan’s speed and defensive capabilities are going to be especially missed. Trevor Larnach was a massive piece of the puzzle offensively. Those two are off to the majors. Both Nobach and Anderson were leaders of the team in many ways. Their absence depletes a lot of the depth from this group.
Who’s Back: Joe Casey, Elliot Willy, Preston Jones, (sort of) Christian Chamberlain
These returning players combine for 15 starts in the outfield...13 of those were Preston Jones. The speedster saw time in 38 total games filling in for Kwan as well as a pinch runner when needed. Due to being the most experienced returning outfielder by a long shot, Jones will need to be a group and team leader in his junior season.
Casey and Willy, both rising redshirt sophomores, will need to grow up quickly also. Casey played in 18 games in 2018 and started just twice. Willy played in only three games all year and had no starts. Both seem likely to fill the starting left and right field positions. Chamberlain is listed as both a pitcher and an outfielder on the roster, which provides a nice option, but it stands to reason the coaching staff won’t tear him away from his pitching duties. Which leaves room for the freshmen to make an impact...
Who’s New: Carter Booth, Greg Fuchs, Jake Harvey
All Washington products, theres some decent versatility in this group. Booth is the only one who’s solely an outfielder, while Fuchs also plays some catcher and Harvey the infield. Booth seems like the most likely candidate to contend for time immediately based on his accolades at the high school level, including being a four year varsity player and playing for the Royals in the MLB area code games.
How do you think this new look outfield will pan out? Good enough to get back to Omaha? Let us know with a comment or tweet at us.