Corvallis, Ore. -- A lot can change in an offseason. Oregon State baseball took a national title back from Omaha to Corvallis, and then said goodbye to several key players. Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach headlined an experienced group that is now either graduated or plying their trade in the minor league baseball ranks. Perhaps bigger than the players was the unexpected retirement of Pat Casey, who announced that he would be retiring and taking up an advisory role with the OSU athletic department.
But Casey's departure didn't rock the boat too much, in the eyes of interim head coach Pat Bailey. With most of the staff staying in place, and also adding Ryan Gipson, the core of last year's 2018 title team remained in place. With the exception of graduated senior Luke Heimlich, most of the pitchers are returning, highlighted by a star trio of Kevin Abel, Bryce Fehmel and Jake Mulholland. And while the team may be replacing a lot of bats, Bailey said today in his press conference he'd 'rather be replacing position players than pitchers.'
Losing Casey also wasn't as tough a blow given his close connection to the school, and Bailey added the two are still in constant contact.
"We're really good friends and he's welcome to come to the office anytime," Bailey said. "Unless he's out on the road, he's probably been in my office every week just to come in and just talk. We're really good friends."
"[They] worked so well together because they had the same philosophy and that's really what made them good together so not a whole lot's changed," added catcher Adley Rutschman. "It's been really nice for our guys too to keep the same pace."
The Beavers are ranked in the top 10 nationally in most preseason polls, while Rutschman, an essential piece of the 2018, is topping most draft boards as a consensus top 5 MLB prospect. OSU opens their season on February 15th.