Baseball Season Preview: The Outfield

Feb. 16, 2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. - 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 outfield for a preview of the 2010 season. Here’s what Oregon State assistant coach Pat Bailey had to say about the team’s infield and catchers.

“Well, the first thing I want to say about our team, as a whole, from a work-habit viewpoint, is that this is the best group we’ve had. They show up early; we start practice at 1 p.m., and we’ve got guys showing up at 12:30 p.m. that want to get extra work. If we’re lifting weights at 6:30 a.m., we’ve got guys there at 6:15. It’s just a really great group of guys this year. They seem really close as a team, and I think they’re going to fight for each other. I’m just really excited about that viewpoint of just how they’ve been getting there early, and having the passion and wanting to get better.

“Outfield-wise, we have quite a few guys back, a fair number of returners. We are veterans in the outfield. Our biggest position that needs to be filled is in center field. Alberto Santos is the best athlete on our team. That’s where we have him playing right now. He just hasn’t played out there a lot. We had him play a little left field last year. He’s really improved tremendously just from fall baseball to now. We’re hoping he can fill that spot. The corner spots are going to be guys who have been there and played a lot. I’m really excited about our outfield from the viewpoint of how we’ve improved. I’m also a little concerned about it, just because center field is such an important position. We’ve got guys there that have played in the outfield a lot. I’m excited.”

Santos is certainly the anchor of the outfield, as he is slated to patrol one of the most important positions on the team. Offensively, he was a dynamo for the Beavers last season, where, as a junior, he batted .320 with six doubles, two triples, four home runs and a team-leading 15 stolen bases, four of which came at third base.

The Beavers, as Bailey alluded to, have a solid set of returners and a few newcomers who will make impacts. The most intriguing newcomer is Jared Norris, not because he is new to the club, but new to the outfield as he got extensive work in during the fall. He’ll battle for playing time in the outfield when he isn’t at first base.

Rob Folsom and Michael Miller highlight the returning corner outfielders for the Beavers. Folsom hit .263 last season in 40 appearances, 25 of which were starts. He drove in 15. Miller, meanwhile, impressed in his first full season in the outfield for the Beavers, batting .297 in 48 appearances, last year. He drove in 18 last season and had four doubles and a home run while recording nine stolen bases.

Overall, the Beavers have eight players listed solely as outfielders. Matt Boyd and Dylan Jones, as they were touched upon yesterday, certainly have experience in the outfield and can be placed there with confidence. The same can be said for Andy Quiring, a junior transfer from Chico, Calif.

Like Norris, Brandon Hayes is new to the outfield and made the full switch in the fall. He’s in his junior season after coming from Eugene for the 2008 season. Other veterans from last season include sophomores Brent Warren and Blake Gibbs. The latter appeared in 18 games for Oregon State last season and collected two doubles and three RBI. Warren saw limited action last season, but did manage three RBI. He has great speed and can cover all three outfield spots.

Newcomers to the club this season are freshman J.J. Turbin and junior college transfer Chris Viegas. Turbin, from Coeur d’Alene High School, earned all-state honors during his tenure in Idaho, and proving he’s an outstanding athlete, also lettered four years in football. Viegas, meanwhile, played last season at Cañada College where he batted .351 with six home runs, 30 RBI and 30 stolen bases.

Check in the following days to read about the team’s pitching staff.

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