Oregon Pac-12 Preview

Star players

Redshirt sophomore left-hander Cole Irvin, Oregon’s ace, is returning from Tommy John surgery. He’s been on a limited pitch count in his first few outings but has been able to increase that number each start. His stuff is still very much there, but his velocity is down.

Junior infielder Matt Eureste is a transfer who has is beginning his career at Oregon on a high note. From the leadoff spot, Eureste hits for power, contact and is an above average fielder.

Junior infielder Mitchell Tolman is Oregon’s most consistent bat. He moved over to second base – the position he played in high school – this season for the first time in his collegiate career


This is the best offense Oregon (13-3) has had in recent memory, and perhaps since its program’s return in 2009. Much of that improvement comes from Oregon’s three starting transfers – Eureste, junior outfielder Phil Craig-St. Louis and junior first baseman Brandon Cuddy. In addition to those three, Tolman, senior catcher Shaun Chase and sophomore outfielder Austin Grebeck have been reliable bats early on in the season.

The pitching staff is incredibly deep. Junior righty Connor Harber is a starter that comes in long-relief of Irvin while he recovers. Behind Irvin, freshman southpaw David Peterson and senior right-hander Jack Karraker round out the weekend bullpen, but there are other names, such as Harber, putting pressure on the weekend spots.


Injuries. Already AJ Balta is out for the season, a first baseman who had a lot of potential heading into his sophomore season. Irvin is still recovering and sophomore Matt Krook, a young star-pitcher who was drafted 35th overall in MLB’s 2013 draft, is rehabbing from an injury requiring Tommy John Surgery from a season ago. Oregon’s pitching staff may not be deep enough to successfully get where they want to go, the College World Series, if Irvin, Harber or Peterson goes down with an injury. Additionally, Krook may not be around for the entire 2015 season, as Oregon’s athletic department has said.