February 16, 2012

JP's Weekly Walk-Off: Previewing the Pitchers


The 2012 season opens with an intriguing mix of youth and experience among the Beaver pitchers.  In terms of starting pitching, players that accounted for 75% of OSU's 2011 starts are not on the 2012 roster.  However, pitchers that accounted for 67% of the Beavers' total appearances last year return, so there is a tremendous foundation of depth and experience found in the bullpen.    


KEY LOSSES



  • Sam Gaviglio (12-3, 2.54)

  • Josh Osich (6-4, 3.64)

  • James Nygren (8-3, 3.44)


The Gaviglio, Osich, Nygren trio accounted for 72% of the starts, 63% of the wins, and 51% of the innings accumulated by the 2011 Beavers' staff.  At a combined 26-10, 3.09 ERA in 270.2 IP, that is a great deal of highly effective pitching that must be replaced.


The loss of Sam Gaviglio subtracts not only the Beaver's most effective starter; it creates a void to be filled in the ever-important Friday night starter slot.  While Gaviglio was not one of the team's vocal leaders, he was the consummate "lead by example" guy, in that he was unflappable and showed up for every start ready to leave everything he had on the field.  Additionally, the value of the 41.2 innings of scoreless ball he pitched to open the season cannot be underestimated in terms of building confidence and getting the young 2011 Beavers off to a great start.


While Josh Osich started the season a bit slowly under the wraps of a rigid pitch count, then struggled down the stretch, at the mid-point of the season he paired nicely with Gaviglio to give the Beavers a fantastic 1-2 punch to open a weekend.  The 121 pitch, 1 BB, 13 K no-hitter he tossed at UCLA obviously goes into the records books as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) outings by an OSU starter.


On the heels of a dreadful junior season, James Nygren was a tremendously pleasant surprise in 2011, filling a crucial role as both a starter and reliever.  Whether as a long/middle reliever, mid-week starter, or Sunday starter, Nygren seamlessly floated from one role to the next depending on the needs of the team and delivered a number of quality innings during his 17 appearances.


RETURNING PITCHERS



Sophomore lefty Ben Wetzler is the lone returning pitcher with a significant amount of starting experience, and is likely to open the season as the Beavers' Friday starter.  As is prone to happen to freshmen in the Pac-10/12, 2011 was an up-and-down season for Wetzler - ranging from the highs of quality wins over eventual tourney teams Arizona and Cal, to the lows of a quick hook against ASU and USC.  A year of experience under his belt, plus a strong summer showing for the Corvallis Knights that saw him garner Top Prospect accolades by the scouts in attendance at the WCL All-Star game should have him poised for a strong campaign at the front end of the rotation.     



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