12.Feb.2015 Baseball 2015 Season Preview

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Best time of the year (sans we’re another year older and balder) is baseball season.

Unfortunately I don’t have time to write a detailed piece on each player, but you can find their brief bios here.

What can we gather from all this? Another team built around pitching, slashers, defense..this year’s team looks to have more speed. I read up on these guys months ago. What I gathered about Gillette: he’s a bit lean, so I don’t expect much power from him right away. Maybe next year. He’s more of a slasher type right now. KJ Harrison has pop. I project him middle of the lineup. Cary hit .520, but is also lean, so we have to assume he projects as another high average hitter/slasher type. Gretler looks to be a high ball, line drive hitter with good pop. Balls lower in the zone and he has a slight loop in his swing, seen here. This could result in warning track power rather than finding gaps or hitting HRs. He should be a great gap hitter, in theory. We’ll see if that’s been corrected. Hendrix needs to hit in the 2 hole, so people need to step up around him. Maybe bat Gabe Clark or Logan Ice leadoff (~.400 OBP) and pray he/they hit a little more this year. Hendrix is ideal as a 2 but could drop to 3. I don’t like him leadoff.

Drew Rasmussen has a bit of Sonny Gray to him. Similar build, and fastball, changeup, curveball pitcher. From what I watched of him, looked to struggle controlling the changeup at times. Luke Heimlich  is the guy I expect to move into the #2 slot, or higher, at some point this year. I think he’s better than Rasmussen and maybe better than Andrew Moore.

It’s hard to research baseball recruits thoroughly because there’s just not much out there. We see numbers, project things based on the talent level they played, where they were drafted, etc. We’re almost better off waiting until next weekend to do a season preview, after we see them all in action for a few days.

The big question is how quickly these guys gel and their mettle. We will find out tomorrow. Early in the year, I expect nerves, jitters, struggles on offense. I wouldn’t judge the team until the 3rd or 4th weekend. At that point we’ll know. Next weekend I can speak more to specifics about each guy after seeing them in action, too.

In terms of whether this will be a good year for the Beavers, I think so. They have a lot of talent and a great coach, so what is not to like? Experience is overrated. We see 10 year old prodigies playing Beethoven behind their backs, and of course there are the Doogie Howser MDs who are graduating college with Doctorates at 12. Point being, if a guy can play he will be fine no matter his experience or age. I’m not worried about that at all. I’m worried about them gelling quickly/finding good chemistry, finding defined roles, and getting over the inevitable jitters sooner rather than later. Once all that happens, I expect to see good baseball. Hopefully it happens quickly. I don’t see a championship, but I can see a good season where they finish 3rd in the Pac.

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  • Jack says:
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    These are what I think will be solid at their positions:
    C – Ice
    1B – Clark
    2B – ? Mildenberg/Hamilton/Donahue?
    3B – ? Hamilton/Gillette/Soto?
    SS – Morrison
    LF – ? Howard/Jansen/Gillette?
    CF – Hendrix
    RF – Cary

    Anyone know where Martinek is right now? Is he RSing? We could use another lefty on the mound.

  • Numbers says:
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    Go Beavs! Im in Tucson for the weekend and considering the 2 hr drive up to surprise for the season openner. Rather windy here today.

  • That Guy says:
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    Rotation for the weekend

    Game 1: Andrew Moore
    Game 2: Travis Eckert
    Game 3: Luke Heimlich
    Game 4: TBD

    Also Howard won’t play in the field until he recovers from his shoulder injury, but he will see time at DH.

  • beavergopher beavergopher says:
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    How and when did Thompson break his foot? Big loss for the rotation.

    • That Guy says:
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      Broke it during the fall, how I don’t know. Right now he is throwing 65-70 pitch bullpens. They will most likely ease him back in, but he will be back before too long.

  • angry angry says:
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    Why do you guys like Jake Thompson?
    It’s not like he was very good last year.

    • That Guy says:
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      There may be some people who weigh on experience a little more than you. But really outside of Moore, no one on this roster has any legitimate experience on the mound.

      Moore, Fry, Wetzler, Schultz, and Davis made up 75 percent of the innings pitched a year ago. Only Moore returns.

      And only Thompson has more than 30 innings from a year ago.

      • angry angry says:
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        From another coach constantly reloading:

        http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/2011/03/20/WVU-Notebook-Kentucky-s-Calipari-will-take-talent-every-time-over-experience/stories/201103200256

        I agree with J.C. Always take talent…they gain experience quickly.

        • That Guy says:
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          Well it should be very easy for the Beavers to do that this year. No one has experience.

        • beavergopher beavergopher says:
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          That is true if you are getting the ultra elite players.

          • That Guy says:
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            This is a complete out of left field claim. But I would not be surprised if the only upperclassmen for Kentucky are walk-ons.

            But the Beavers do a great job at reloading talent, so it kind works for OSU as well.

          • angry angry says:
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            Beavs do get ultra elite players.

          • That Guy says:
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            I would say they get ultra elite players before the MLB draft. there were 17 total players who could have been back from last years team who are gone now.

          • beavergopher beavergopher says:
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            One or two a year is not same as a basketball team where they all are top 20 players.
            The MLB draft is the issue. Hendrix is a prime example that experience matters. I hope one of the frosh pulls a Conforto or Moore, but none of them did last year. Ice, Morrison, and Hamilton were very solid on D, but struggled to hit. Eden was an ultra elite recruit and struggled to throw a strike. I hope I am wrong, but I see the team taking a big step back this season.

            BTW, how many year does Berg get play of fUCLA? It seems like he has been there forever.

          • angry angry says:
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            I never thought highly of Eden. There are throwers and pitchers, and it’s easy for me to distinguish since I pitched ~10 years. Those guys who get by on throwing hard at low levels never translate. Luke H is the guy to watch this year.

            K Rhod was another example of a thrower. He had experience, “stuff”, and still blew goats as an effective pitcher.

  • beavergopher beavergopher says:
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    He had some moments, including pitching very well in the regional last year.

  • helmsley says:
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    Is Mak Fox expected to contribute this year?

  • helmsley says:
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    Duh – of course he’s expected to contribute – but how much? Where? bullpen, mid-week pitcher?

  • JD says:
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    One advantage that freshmen pitchers have is that none of the batters that they will be facing have ever seen them before. I would say that Moore was a better pitcher last year but was more effective the year before as a freshman because other teams only had a limited scouting report to go off of and hadn’t actually faced him in person.

    • oneoldbeav oneoldbeav says:
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      Interesting, I hadn’t thought of that angle. Wonder if there is a way to evaluate the competition he faced in the two years.

  • wannabeav says:
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    OSU fans have had the “experience” narrative drummed into their head by Riley and his apologists. I’m with Angry on this one. To take a recent and proximate example: Mariota was better as a redshirt Freshman than Sean Mannion was as a 5th year senior.

    The Riley seniority system was a corollary to the experience trope.

    • G Joubert says:
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      That goes hand in hand with the unnecessarily complex playbook.

    • That Guy says:
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      I don’t know. I would say baseball is pretty much the same team-to-team, year-to-year, the sport does not change. Football on the other hand is extremely diverse from team-to-team so experience holds a little more weight.

      For all of Riley’s faults, playing player you know will make the right reads, knows all the right audibles, and knows his role within a scheme of the game plan is not a bad game plan

  • G Joubert says:
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    Conforto produced as a freshman.

    • beavergopher beavergopher says:
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      One of the exceptions. Moore is another. Perhaps the catcher from islands will be another.

  • beavergopher beavergopher says:
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    One of the other factors to be determined is the impact of the the new ball being used.
    I have read that many experts think it will carry an average of 20 extra feet. The other concern is that a lot of people think it will be harder to control by pitchers in cold, wet weather. No problem for Corvallis LOL. Has PC addressed this in any interviews?

    Baseball starts! Go Beavs.

    OT: Those bastards form UC Irvine are coming to Minneapolis in May. They ruined the BIRG for #Beavernation. Any messages for them?

    • Bill says:
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      It won’t be harder to hold onto. It’ll be harder to impart spin on the ball with the seams lower. Should lead to more offense because pitchers will have to throw more fastballs.

      Could be a concern for freshman since they will go from pretty high seams in high school to low seams. It’s a rough transition for pitchers who are dependent on high seams to spin the ball.

      But the positives will be college pitchers will be more ready for the pros since they don’t have to adjust to new seams. You could say the transition would be seamless.

      • Fred says:
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        More two seam fastballs which are harder to hit than 4 seam with new ball i

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