We continue our preview of the Oregon State Baseball Roster with a look at the relief pitchers. The bullpen will be a major asset for the Beavs this season, so let’s look at who we can expect to see this season.
Last season, Oregon State received a huge boost from their pitching that helped propel them to the national championship in 2018. The team boasted an ERA of 3.27, which came in at the 12th-lowest team ERA in Division I baseball. The pitching helped keep them in almost all of their games throughout the season. The bullpen served a massive role in giving the roster a boost, especially in Omaha.
As most of us remember, the starting pitching was unable to find a groove throughout most of their time in Omaha. Pat Casey ultimately deferred to the bullpen early and often in the College World Series, and received incredible performances from key players such as Christian Chamberlain, Dylan Pearce, Brandon Eisert and Jake Mulholland. These players rallied to shutdown multiple elite teams, such as the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The good news for Beaver Nation, Oregon State will be returning 10 of their top 11 arms in 2019, this includes starter and relievers. Only downside of this stat is that the one player not returning is starting pitcher Luke Heimlich. As a result, the Beavers will need to pull one of their quality relief arms to replace Heimlich’s vacant spot in the starting rotation. The most likely players to fill this role will include Chamberlain, Eisert and Grant Gambrell, with Pearce also getting a shot here and there.
Even after pulling one of the bullpen arms, Oregon State will still have one of the top bullpens in the entire nation. They will be returning other major contributors including Sam Tweedt, Mitchell Verburg and Nathan Burns, as well as the previously mentioned pitchers. This isn’t even mentioning the Beavs fantastic closer, Mulholland. Needless to say, the bullpen will be loaded in 2019.
Beaver Nation will need to keep their eyes out for a few newcomers in the coming season. This could include the return of left-handed pitcher Andrew Walling from Tommy John surgery in 2017. Walling came out of high school as the number two prospect in the state of Washington, and the Beavs pitching staff has been eagerly awaiting his highly-touted return. Other players could include freshmen Jake Pfennigs and Joey Mundt, who have performed in practice as the two best of the group of incoming freshman.
As stoked as Beaver fans should be for the starting rotation in 2019, the orange and black faithful should be equally excited for the relief pitching. Oregon State should feature an elite pitching staff once again in 2019, and that should have the Beavs primed for another deep postseason run this year.
Is there anyone in the bullpen you are excited to see in 2019? Do you think we can see a true freshman again in 2019?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!
And while you’re here, take a look at our preview of the Beavers starting pitchers for this coming season!