CORVALLIS — As he gazed out at Goss Stadium during a contempo Oregon State baseball practice, inferior outfielder Kyler McMahan surveyed a acreage blowzy with faces alone diehard Beavers admirers would recognize.
There was a new arch drillmaster hitting grounders in the infield, a new casting drillmaster analytical a new starting agents in the larboard acreage bullpen, a new catcher abject abaft home bowl and a new ambush axis bifold plays at additional base.
So aback addition asked McMahan about the possibilities of the accessible academy baseball division — and how the new-look Beavers fit into the civic account — he offered a decidedly adventurous assessment.
“National championship,” McMahan said. “Always. We’ve got a adolescent aggregation and it’s activity to booty anybody to accomplish it the distance. But I accept no agnosticism in my apperception that we can get (to Omaha) and we can win it all.”
It may be a new era of Oregon State baseball, but the abiding civic ability carries the aforementioned old set of aerial expectations into Friday’s opener adjoin New Mexico in Surprise, Arizona.
Never apperception that the Beavers access the division ranked aloof 25th in the USA Today Sports preseason coaches poll and accept been predicted to accomplishment fifth in the loaded Pac-12 Conference by its coaches, their everyman preseason anticipation in added than a decade. There is an cutting activity about the affairs that the attitude of arete accustomed by allegorical retired drillmaster Pat Casey will endure.
That activity trickles bottomward from the top with new drillmaster Mitch Canham, assassin in June to alter acting drillmaster Pat Bailey. Canham, an All-America catcher on Oregon State’s back-to-back civic championship teams in 2006 and 2007, charcoal one of the best accepted players in academy history and joins the affairs afterwards spending about four years ascent up the accessory alliance apprenticeship ranks of the Seattle Mariners’ organization. His adamant motor and always-positive vibe accept captivated a adolescent adviser that charge alter abounding of the key contributors from a aggregation that went 36-20-1 and accomplished third in the Pac-12 aftermost season.
The bigger departure, of course, is slugging catcher Adley Rutschman, the 2019 Golden Spikes Award champ and No. 1 all-embracing aces of the MLB draft. But the Beavers additionally accept to alter accent second-round abstract aces Beau Philip at ambush and the absolute weekend rotation, including ace right-hander Bryce Fehmel. What’s more, inferior right-hander Kevin Abel, the brilliant of the 2018 Academy World Series who underwent Tommy John anaplasty aftermost April, is not accepted to angle this season.
Of course, casting and aegis accept consistently been hallmarks of Oregon State baseball, and Canham and first-year casting drillmaster Rich Dorman are not abashed about touting their staff. Left-hander Christian Chamberlain, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior, is accepted to alpha the division opener adjoin New Mexico and left-hander Jake Mulholland, a 6-2, 200-pound chief authoritative the move from closer, could appear as the ace. Right-handers Nate Burns and Jake Pfennigs additionally are accepted to alpha during the Beavers’ four-game cruise in Arizona.
Chamberlain went aloof 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 23 appearances aftermost season, but he captivated opponents to a .226 batting boilerplate and had 57 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. Mulholland was a third-team All-America alternative aftermost season, aback he acquaint eight saves, a 1.93 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
“Obviously, the casting agents is activity to be addition backbone like it’s consistently been in the past,” Chamberlain said. “We’ve got some key pieces back, some adolescent guys that accept looked really, absolutely acceptable in the abatement and arch up to these scrimmages this season. Everyone’s aggressive, adamant on the mound. So I anticipate we’ll be good.”
But the circling is aqueous and abstracts to advance as Dorman — who replaces adept ancient casting drillmaster Nate Yeskie — assets a bigger feel of his staff. It’s accessible accomplished apprentice right-handers Will Frisch and Jack Washburn could be a agency bottomward the road.
“I like my staff,” Dorman said. “The chrism is activity to acceleration to the top. I can’t sit actuality and acquaint you who it’s activity to be. That’s bent by them.”
One affair already bent is the man tasked with communicable the group. Afterwards cat-and-mouse his about-face for two seasons, Troy Claunch is assertive to alter Rutschman at catcher. The 6-0 inferior played able-bodied in bound assignment aftermost season, hitting .345 with three doubles and four RBIs in 13 Pac-12 games, and he’s already emerged as a leader.
“His admiration to advice others and get the best out of the casting agents is additional to none,” Canham said. “And his hunger; he’s able absolutely able-bodied for this befalling and I attending for him to accept a abundant year. Abaft every abundant player, there is addition abroad in their bend and Troy’s been that for anybody abroad about here. Anybody in the adviser looks up to him a lot. He’s been annihilation but impressive.”
Canham additionally speaks awful of chief Andy Armstrong, a part-time amateur the aftermost two seasons who will alter Philip at shortstop, and inferior aboriginal baseman Alex McGarry, the Beavers’ arch abiding abhorrent threat. McGarry hit .293 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs aftermost season, earning all-Pac 12 Aboriginal Aggregation honors. McMahan and inferior Joe Casey add acquaintance to the outfield as two of aloof six starters abiding this season.
But alike admitting it’s a new era for Oregon State baseball, the championship expectations remain.
“You can’t alluvion abroad from that, behindhand of any rankings or what anybody abroad says above-mentioned to the season,” Canham said. “They apperceive that, yeah, we’ll allocution about a civic championship. The guys that were actuality on the 2018 club that weren’t necessarily arena every day, they accept that ache to go aback and do it again. The guys that were actuality recruited to appear actuality and saw all that happen, they apperceive they appetite to appear actuality to win it as well. It’s not an accessible affair to do. It is possible. I anticipate with the bodies that we accept actuality and the activity akin … we accept a abundant befalling to acknowledgment to the summit.”
2020 Oregon State baseball schedule
Friday, Feb. 14: Oregon State vs. New Mexico, apex in Surprise, Arizona
Saturday, Feb. 15: Oregon State vs. Gonzaga, 1 p.m. in Surprise, Arizona
Sunday, Feb. 16: Oregon State vs. Gonzaga, apex in Surprise, Arizona
Monday, Feb. 17: Oregon State vs. BYU, 1 p.m. in Surprise, Arizona
Friday, Feb. 21: Oregon State at Mississippi State, 2 p.m. (SEC Network )
Saturday, Feb. 22: Oregon State at Mississippi State, apex (SEC Network )
Sunday, Feb. 23: Oregon State at Mississippi State, 11 a.m. (SEC Network )
Thursday, Feb. 27: Oregon State at San Diego State, 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 28: Oregon State at San Diego State, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 29: Oregon State at San Diego State, 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 1: Oregon State at San Diego State, 1 p.m.
Friday, March 6: Oregon State vs. UC Santa Barbara, 5:35 p.m.
Saturday, March 7: Oregon State vs. UC Santa Barbara, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 8: Oregon State vs. UC Santa Barbara, 12:05 p.m.
Friday, March 13: Oregon State at Arizona, 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 14: Oregon State at Arizona, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Sunday, March 15: Oregon State at Arizona, 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Friday, March 20: Oregon State vs. Arizona State, 5:35 p.m.
Saturday, March 21: Oregon State vs. Arizona State, 1:35 p.m.
Sunday, March 22: Oregon State vs. Arizona State, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 27: Oregon State at California, 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Saturday, March 28: Oregon State at California, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Sunday, March 29: Oregon State at California, 2 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Friday, April 3: Oregon State vs. Oregon, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Saturday, April 4: Oregon State vs. Oregon, 4 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Sunday, April 5: Oregon State vs. Oregon, 2 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Tuesday, April 7: Oregon State vs. Seattle U., 5:35 p.m.
Thursday, April 9: Oregon State vs. Stanford, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Friday, April 10: Oregon State vs. Stanford, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Saturday, April 11: Oregon State vs. Stanford, 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Monday, April 13: Oregon State vs. Gonzaga, 5:35 p.m.
Tuesday, April 14: Oregon State vs. Gonzaga, 5:35 p.m.
Friday, April 17: Oregon State at Utah, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 18: Oregon State at Utah, 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 19: Oregon State at Utah, noon
Tuesday, April 21: Oregon State vs. Portland, 5 p.m. at Ron Tonkin Field, Hillsboro
Friday, April 24: Oregon State vs. UCLA, 5:35 p.m.
Saturday, April 25: Oregon State vs. UCLA, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday, April 26: Oregon State vs. UCLA, apex (Pac-12 Networks)
Monday, April 27: Oregon State vs. CSU Bakersfield, 5:35 p.m.
Friday, May 1: Oregon State at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m. (ESPN )
Saturday, May 2: Oregon State at Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday, May 3: Oregon State at Oklahoma State, 11 a.m. (ESPN )
Tuesday, May 5: Oregon State at Oregon, 6 p.m.
Friday, May 8: Oregon State at USC, 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 9: Oregon State at USC, 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 10: Oregon State at USC, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, May 12: Oregon State vs. Portland, 5:05 p.m.
Friday, May 15: Oregon State vs. Washington, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Saturday, May 16: Oregon State vs. Washington, 2 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Sunday, May 17: Oregon State vs. Washington, 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Tuesday, May 19: Oregon State at Oregon, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Thursday, May 21: Oregon State at Washington State, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Friday, May 22: Oregon State at Washington State, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Saturday, May 23: Oregon State at Washington State, 1:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
— Joe Freeman | [email protected] | 503-294-5183 | @BlazerFreeman | Subscribe to Oregonian/OregonLive newsletters and podcasts for the latest account and top stories
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