Nick Madrigal, Oregon State

Fall Report: Oregon State

Analysis

Oregon State knows better than anyone that sometimes waiting is the hardest part. And even when you do, always be prepared for the result that you desperately don’t want.

OregonStateOfficialLogo90X90That was the Beavers in 2016. OSU entered the ’16 campaign with a full head of steam and high expectations. It was highly ranked in our preseason top 25 and expected to compete for a College World Series appearance. Instead, things just didn’t seem to go their way as the season progressed. All-American righthander Drew Rasmussen was lost for the year after the California series and OSU ended the regular season tied with Arizona and Arizona State for fourth place in the Pac 12. U of A, of course, went on to compete for the national title against Coastal Carolina.

Given that finish and the adversity the Beavers had to overcome to even get to that point, a fourth place finish in a power conference combined with a respectable overall record seemed to be the recipe for an NCAA postseason berth. Right? Wrong. OSU’s name wasn’t called on Selection Monday in what was a rather controversial decision by the NCAA Division I Selection Committee.

Despite not having an overwhelming resume last season, quite simply, the Beavers deserved to be in the postseason. But instead of reflecting too much on what could’ve been, long-time OSU head coach Pat Casey, who had a wild summer of his own with Texas making a strong pitch to him, prefers to look ahead to this fall and a 2017 campaign that looks rather prosperous on paper.

“I think we’ve got a lot of diversity with this team, especially with our position players. I think we have more depth than we’ve had in the past on the mound and I think we’re going to have an ability to really  move some players around the way we want to,” Casey said. “We’re not that deep on the mound just yet and we have some things we need to answer on the mound. We also need to replace a pretty good player in Logan Ice behind the plate, but I like where we are.”

One of the biggest storylines for the Beavers as fall workouts progress is someone who isn’t pitching in live action the next few months — Drew Rasmussen. Rasmussen put together a strong freshman campaign and entered 2016 with high expectations with a quality slider and a big-time fastball, getting up to 94-95 mph at times. However, he left a game at California injured and had to have Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL. Rasmussen undoubtedly will be on the minds of scouts and his OSU coaches alike, as his potential return in the spring could be a game changer. Rasmussen has been throwing for a while now, but Casey, at least at this point, can’t say when the Beavers might expect him back on the mound against live hitters.

“That’s one of our question marks, and a situation I pretty much have to stay out of,” Casey said. “The big question with Drew is how does he rehab and how is he coming along? Those are decisions that have to be made by his doctors and family. I just know that he’ll do everything he’s supposed to do (to get back on the mound).”

The other big question? Logan Ice’s replacement. Ice had a fruitful career for the Beavers and didn’t disappoint in his junior season in 2016. He finished the year with a .310 average, seven homers and 39 RBIs. In addition to a quality offensive campaign, Ice cemented himself as one of the nation’s elite backstops as well.

Replacing him and others won’t be easy, but the Beavers certainly have some terrific options.

Let’s breakdown the Beavers as fall workouts continue with a hefty amount of nuggets and more.


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