We’re less than a month away from college baseball season, you guys. Where did the time go?...I’m not complaining, but it seems like yesterday that we were all losing it over the Beavs’ third national championship back in June. Now, we look ahead to this new campaign.
In the Pac-12, there’s a lot to be excited about this year if you’re a baseball fan. But who will take the crown in the conference of champions? Here’s how we see the league shaking out this season...
- Oregon State: For starters, they’re the defending national champions and this is an OSU blog. What did you think we were going to say? On top of that, they have what may be the top player in the nation in Adley Rutschman and had a team batting average of .408 last season. Even with the personnel losses, the Beavs should lead the pack again this season.
- Stanford: Even with a first year head coach, Stanford rolled for most of last season, which gives me hope for the Beavs’ upcoming year with Pat Bailey...but I digress. Stanford doesn’t have an obvious weak point and they have quality experience at almost every position. I’d be very surprised if Stanford weren’t at least regional winners in 2019.
- UCLA: There are some high expectations for the Bruins this year, evidenced by the fact that D1 Baseball has them at #5 in the nation heading into opening week. In the recent past, that has not worked in their favor, but maybe this is the year. It helps their cause that their star players last year were very young and come into this season a little more seasoned alongside another tough recruiting class.
- Washington: Fresh off their first trip to Omaha, the well-coached Huskies have the tools to make another good postseason run. Joe Wainhouse is bringing his massive, home run hitting self back for one more year. For that reason alone, I’m looking forward to seeing the Huskies hang some offense on people.
- Cal: Two words: Andrew Vaughn. The rising junior won the 2018 Golden Spikes Award and was named National Player of the Year by both Rawlings and Perfect Game. It’s a shame the Golden Bears don’t have more pieces around him because that kid is something special.
- Oregon: Between Ryne Nelson and Kenyon Yovan, the Ducks have some some really quality pitching this season. With 21 games against ranked teams this year, it should be an interesting test for them.
- Arizona: The Wildcats are Perfect Game’s #32 team entering the season, so there’s clearly potential. However, aside from preseason All-American infielder Nick Quintana, there’s not much that really excites me.
- USC: The Trojans have enough talent for me to confidently say they’re the fourth or fifth best program in the greater Los Angeles area.
- ASU: Arizona State have drastically underachieved the last two seasons. A big part of that has been struggling with conference play. Their non-conference schedule this year is tough as well with trips to Fullerton and Nebraska on the docket along with home games against San Diego, Long Beach State, and others.
- Washington State: WSU and Utah each won 16 games in 2018. They’re usually good for one crazy feat a year like when Scotty Sunitsch no-hit Oregon last season (which is just fun to talk about, regardless) but it seems unlikely that they’ll be anything better than a below-average team this season.
- Utah: Like the Cougs, Utah are good for one or two weird upset series wins a year and then they will block a few sweeps. But there’s simply not enough there in terms of talent to think that they’re legit.