Fall Report: OregonFeatured
Oregon won’t be built into a national contender overnight, but first-year coach Mark Wasikowski hopes a swift transition occurs.
Wasikowski did some impressive things during his time at Purdue. But his reputation as a successful coach was built during previous stints at Arizona, and of course, Oregon. The Ducks experienced a great deal of success during his stint with the program, making four-straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2012 through 2015. However, the Ducks haven’t been back to the tournament since ’15. UO has had several talented pitching staffs along the way, but the offense has consistently lacked the punch needed to make a splash on the national stage.
That could soon change if Wasikowski has his way.
“There are some pieces to work with for sure, but it’s about player development for us right now,” Wasikowski said. “We want to develop the guys we have on campus right now, but we also know none of them are flat out, proven guys at an elite level in the Pac 12. That’s just not on their resume quite yet.
“There’s a confidence piece and a player development piece with us right now,” he continued. “We have some nice players with some good tools and skill sets, that’s for sure. But they must show they can do it right now. We’ll see what happens.”
From an offensive standpoint, Gabe Matthews put together a strong fall and is ready to take a sizable step forward, while Kenyon Yovan, who looks to make a healthy return to the mound in the spring, also should be a consistent contributor at the plate. He has intriguing potential as a hitter.
From a pitching perspective, there’s definite talent on this roster. You have Yovan leading the charge in the weekend rotation, while hard-throwing Cullen Kafka has a powerful arm and looks to build off a solid fall. UO also has several newcomers who likely will factor into the equation at some point in the spring.
Overall, it will be an interesting 2020 campaign for the Ducks. They’re making some changes to their ballpark with hopes of cranking up some offensive production. Meanwhile, outside of Yovan and a couple of others, the pitching staff is loaded with hard-throwing, unproven arms. There’s uncertainty on the mound, but also plenty of potential.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the Pac 12 is wide open after Arizona State. Could Oregon step in and surprise everyone in Wasikowski’s first season?
We’ll soon find out the answer to that question and more.
Let’s dive into the Ducks’ fall workouts.
Check out the full Oregon report below!