Baseball Season Preview: The Pitchers

Feb. 17, 2010


The start to Oregon State’s 2010 season comes Friday night at Hawaii. The Beavers will open their newest campaign with a four-game series at Hawaii before returning next weekend to host Tennessee Feb. 26-28.

Let’s take a look at the team’s pitching staff for a preview of the 2010 season. Here’s what Oregon State assistant coach Nate Yeskie had to say.

“We should have depth with a lot of guys coming in with experience. Sam (Gaviglio) is one of two sophomores and he had a bulk of the work load last year. Ryan Gorton also got his fill of experience, both in the regular and postseason. Then you look at (Tyler) Waldron, (Greg) Peavey, (Tanner) Robles and (Kraig) Sitton. Taylor Starr, even though he didn’t play last year, was around and was able to get that experience. I’m sure there are even names I’m leaving out of the equation as far as veteran guys who have been in the mix.

“There’s a lot of familiarity and they realize they have to raise the expectations within themselves, which has been good, because their work habits have really improved. In the younger group of guys, (Matt) Boyd offers a real change of pace. It’s different, it’s funky, it’s left-handed. Tony Bryant has as good of a changeup as anybody on our pitching staff. I think he’s going to offer some unique versatility as a bridge guy to help us get to the back. He will also compete to have an opportunity to get some mid-week starts.

'But then you look at having Tanner, Kraig, Dylan Jones and Boyd; with them, we have four lefties. That’s nice. It’s nice to be able to mix it up. Last year, we would have made some moves earlier if we would’ve had another lefty, but we couldn’t.

'There’s a lot of depth and experience, and there are expectations, but that’s why they play the games. I guess we’ll wait and see, but certainly there’s been marked improvement for a handful of guys. The guys on the back end are closing in on the guys that are perceived to be leading the pack.”

Yeskie speaks to the team’s depth on the hill. That continues a trend with the Oregon State baseball team. There’s depth and there’s versatility, which, with a 57-game regular season that lasts less than four full months, is incredibly valuable.

Yeskie mentioned Gaviglio and Waldron, the two starters who ended last season as the Friday and Saturday guys. The two of them combined for 16 victories, including a freshman record 10 for Gaviglio. They also combined for eight of the team’s quality starts. Gaviglio, a unanimous freshman All-American last season, has already earned a few preseason All-American second-team honors this season. And for good reason; a better than 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 2/3 innings last season.

Robles and Peavey are the other two with the perceived inside track on starting spots this season. Robles threw a 6 1/3-inning gem against Washington last season at Safeco Field, and Peavey came on strong toward the end of the season, highlighted by a 6 1/3-inning outing against Oregon in Salem.

The team’s returning relievers include Rhoderick, who is already second in school history with 21 saves and like Gaviglio, has been named to various preseason All-America teams, as well as Sitton, a lefty specialist last season who inherited 33 runners last season but allowed just three to score (less than 10 percent).

Nygren could best be described as a bulldog on the mound and ended last season with a 2-0 record and one save in 18 appearances. There’s Gorton, who as a freshman went 2-0 with a 1.97 ERA, primarily in relief, and also Taylor Starr, who threw only once last season due to surgery, and Nick Stiltner (1-0, 4.76 ERA), and the group of returning relievers looks pretty good.

Yeskie also mentioned Jones and Boyd, two utility players for the Beavers who will contribute in the outfield, infield and on the hill. Jones was 6-2 with a 2,94 ERA last season at Mount Hood Community College and Boyd was 7-2 with a 0.84 ERA at Eastside Catholic in Mercer Island, Wash.

Bryant is also a native of Washington – Kennewick to be exact – and is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-7. He was a 25th round selection by the Minnesota Twins – Yeskie’s former professional organization – in the most recent draft, but spurned the club to play for the Beavers. He was drafted for good reason; two Pitcher of the Year honors and two All-State selections while at Kennewick High School.

Breck Ashdown rounds out the Oregon State staff as he is a freshman from Tucson, Ariz. Hailing from Catalina Foothills High School, he earned All-Region honors his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Oregon State opens the 2010 season Friday night in the start of a four-game series at Hawaii. Visit in the following days for full coverage of the team’s opening weekend.

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