2009 Baseball Season Preview: A Look At The Pitching Staff

Feb. 12, 2009

The 2009 Oregon State baseball season opens on Feb. 20 when the Beavers visit Tennessee.

With the season less than two weeks away, here's a look at the club's pitching staff as it prepares for the upcoming campaign. This is the second of a four-part look at the Beavers.

If one thing can be said of the Beavers' pitching staff this season, it is that Oregon State will have plenty of horses in the stables.

In Oregon State's trips to Omaha, the Beavers relied heavily on their pitching staff. It was talented, mature and had a lot of different pieces that fit together nicely.

That's what head coach Pat Casey and pitching coach Nate Yeskie envision for the 2009 staff.

Reyes returns as the veteran of the staff after a year, that, by his own admission, wasn't up to his standards. But the former Most Outstanding Player at the 2007 College World Series came back strong in the fall and will be an anchor in the rotation.

Following Reyes will be a multitude of pitchers who have the capability to make a mark in the starting rotation. One such pitcher is Tyler Waldron, a sophomore transfer from Pacific. Waldron made his mark at Goss Stadium last year in the Beavers' final game of 2008. Waldron lost, but held the Beavers to just two runs over seven innings.

Greg Peavey and Josh Osich both started games last season and have proven quite capable of starting the game on the hill. Peavey had a slow start to his collegiate career in 2008, but impressed as the year went on. Osich, meanwhile, had a season similar to Peavey's and is a power pitcher from the left side.

The list doesn't stop there. Tanner Robles gives the Beavers another left-hander who can make the start on the hill. He started off strong with three straight wins. He was joined by bulldog James Nygren, who made impressive starts against the likes of California and Portland. Like seemingly every Oregon State hurler, both Robles and Nygren can work in relief.

Those who don't start will join a talented and multi-faceted bullpen that is anchored at the end by Kevin Rhoderick and Taylor Starr. Rhoderick had 12 saves as a freshman and was virtually unhittable for a majority of the season. Starr, meanwhile, came on later in the season and led the club with a 1.61 ERA. He is perfectly suited to the setup role and the closer's spot to spell Rhoderick.

Oregon State has two veteran left-handed pitchers in Kraig Sitton and Kyle Foster. Sitton was a valuable middle reliever last season and stranded runners like they were going out of style -- only eight of the 33 he inherited came around to score. Foster didn't see much action last season, but meshed well with Yeskie in the offseason.

Those two will join a set of right-handers who will help comprise one of the best bullpens in the Pac-10. Among those returners is senior Mark Grbavac, who tied for the team lead with four victories last season. Grbavac is Oregon State's only four-year pitcher and lends a great amount of experience after being drafted by the New York Mets after last season.

He will be joined by Brad Kidd, a transfer prior to the 2008 season who didn't see much action but has a chance to make his mark this season.

Newcomers to the staff this season include freshman Sam Gaviglio from Ashland High School (Ore.) who had a strong fall, and sophomore Nick Stiltner, who was with the club last season but as a catcher. Ryan Gorton, another freshman, has the potential to be on the mound, as does Brent Warren, a lefty, but both consider the outfield their primary positions.

Head Coach Pat Casey's take on the 2009 Oregon State pitching

'The pitching staff is something we have some real depth in. We feel like you're going to have to have five to six starters the way the schedule pans out. We like the quality and depth of our arms. Here again, we think the year of experience for this year's sophomores is going to pay off. It's going to pay off big-time for those former freshmen guys.

'You've got people like Jorge Reyes, who has obviously been around and is in his third year. You've got people like Kevin Rhoderick, who has been in big games, as well as Tanner Robles, and Greg Peavey, and Mark Grbavac. There's just a lot of names there. Josh Osich is a guy who can show you signs of brilliance.

'The overall key is the fact that we have a lot of depth there in our pitching staff. At the end of last year, a guy like Peavey, he was starter, then went to be a reliever, then ended as a starter, was one of our best arms. Taylor Starr has really come on and had a great summer. He's a guy who is versatile enough to pitch in a lot of roles.

'I think we had seven freshmen pitchers who were on our staff last year and when you have that, sometimes inexperience shows up and sometimes those guys look brilliant. The year of experience will be great. I like the fact Grbavac came back and has shown leadership on our staff. I think Reyes is a guy who has gotten a lot better. He pitched well at the end of the summer. You have a newcomer in Tyler Waldron who brings a lot of experience. I think all of those guys, as a staff, have the opportunity to contribute.

'If you take Peavey, and Osich, and Reyes, and Robles, all of those guys started big games for us last year. We just have to fill in the gaps and get guys in roles that help benefit the team the most. If those guys can slot in those rolls, I think they've seen how successful that's been in the past. We'll have a lot of versatility there.

'I'm sure there is somebody I'm missing in there but I just think we have good balance and good depth. You need that. The window of opportunity from the time we return from Christmas break until the time we start playing is a time where there will really be a Spring Training format for those guys.'

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