(Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State Athletics, okstate.com)
As the 2017 summer league season comes to an end, it is time to roll out CBBSN’s collegiate summer league updates from around the country. Over the next several weeks, our scouts will be sharing how their school’s players have fared over the season, and how they look to project going into fall practice.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys, reigning Big 12 Champions, look to carry the momentum from the Big 12 Tournament into the upcoming 2018 season. Losing key players to the draft and graduation hurts, but the coaching staff is confident the young talent throughout the roster will be able to step up into leadership roles. The 2017 Cowboys’ record was 30-27 (8-13 conference), head coach Josh Holliday will look to improve on that while still developing great young talent. Crucial to the development of the players is how they spend their summer, here is an overview of how the Cowboys fared.
Chris Burdine (RHP) – Burdine spent his summer in the Coastal Plain League with the Martinsville Mustangs. He will be a key piece to the OSU bullpen this spring. He racked up innings over the summer and opponents’ batting average against him was .275.
C.J. Varela (RHP) – Varela had a great summer with the Brazos Valley Bombers. The Bombers won the Texas Collegiate League while Varela tallied over 40 innings. He is a very high-potential, young pitcher who has great changeup and fastball command. In a bullpen role now, the Cowboys see starter potential in this strong right-hander.
The Cowboys had multiple players who competed with the Neptune Beech Pearl in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League. Cole Hearrean, Andrew Rosa, and Travis Wacker.
Cole Hearrean (LHP) – A JUCO transfer to OSU from Weatherford College, Hearrean is a very poised left-hander who is a great option out of the bullpen. A great slider pitcher who can come in and do a job for the Cowboys and eat up innings during tough situations.
Andrew Rosa (Inf) – Rosa is a rarity in the sense that the coaching staff feels he can play anywhere on the field. Rosa held the best batting statistics in the GSCBL. He is expected to come into the season and be a leader for the Cowboys and compete for a starting position.
Travis Wacker (C) – Wacker had a great summer with the Pearl. Holding a .340 batting average, he is expected to carry that momentum with him into the spring. Wacker does a great job of working with the pitching staff, and is a mature presence behind the plate going into his senior season.
A pair of Oklahoma State players spent their summer with the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Jonathan Heasley and Cade Cabbiness.
Jonathan Heasley (RHP) – A big bodied, power arm who the Cowboys could use as either a starter or a closer. The right-hander will hit 96 mph with his fastball. A very high-potential pitcher who will have success as long as he continues to work hard on his game.
Cade Cabbiness (OF) – A great outfielder, who has raw power, raw arm, and comes up big in clutch situations. Cabbiness will likely be an everyday player for OSU this year. He and Trevor Boone will need to have a good year for the Cowboys, and they are expected to.
The Hays Larks of the Jayhawk League hosted three players from Oklahoma State this summer. Peyton Battenfield, Colin Simpson, and Boone.
Peyton Battenfield (RHP) – Battenfield threw 30-plus innings for the Larks. A big bodied right-hander who has a very good fastball, Peyton has starter potential. For now, he is filthy out of the bullpen for the Cowboys.
Colin Simpson (C) – Simpson had a great summer with the Larks. The heavy swinging lefty boasted a .450 batting average with 12 home runs. Simpson brings great energy to the Cowboy roster and is a great leader. He is expected to compete for the starting catcher role, and is also available to be a designated hitter.
Trevor Boone (OF) – Another big contributor for the Larks, Boone held a .328 batting average and matched his teammate with 12 home runs. Boone and Cabbiness are expected to emerge as strong leaders in the outfield for the Cowboys for, not only this season, but the seasons to come. He is a high energy player with a great bat. When Boone gets things clicking, he gets hot.
Daniel DeSimone (1B) – DeSimone spent his summer with the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League. Daniel had over 200 at-bats this summer with over a .300 batting average. The first baseman has power to all fields and is expected to compete for the starting job.
Michael Neustifter (1B/3B) – With the New Market Rebels, Neustifter held a .300 batting average in the Valley League. He saw a lot of playing time as a freshman, and is a great competitor who has the potential to start for the Cowboys this season.
Ryan Cash (2B) – Cash spent his summer with the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League. Cash is a hard-nosed competitor who has a great leadoff mentality and strong leadership qualities. He is a great asset to any team and will be a big piece to the Cowboys’ success in the upcoming season.
Many Cowboys stayed in Stillwater this summer. They were not just sitting around, though. Workouts went well as players such as Carson Teel and Cameron Dobbs were able to put on some extra pounds. Rehabbing injured players is a key to the Cowboys’ offseason.
Parker Scott (LHP) – Parker is a great young pitcher. He has plus command with his off-speed pitches and his fastball. This summer was used for Scott to get his arm healthy, and it is. He will be expected to fill a big role on the Cowboys’ pitching staff this spring.
Carson Teel (LHP) – A Stillwater local, Teel threw a lot of innings in the spring, and used the summer to give his arm some much-needed rest and get some classwork done. A gritty, clutch presence out of the bullpen, Teel added 10 pounds this summer and is a great leader for the Cowboys.
Brady Basso (LHP) – Basso has a power arm, with a 93-plus fastball with a plus, plus curveball. He pitched around 19 innings for the Cowboys last year with 28 strikeouts to six walks and a 3.06 ERA. He will be expected to be a starting pitcher for the Cowboys this season with much more innings.
Ben Leeper (RHP) – A highly projected prospect, Leeper is coming off of Tommy John surgery. He spent the summer rehabbing his arm and getting ready for the upcoming season.
Jensen Elliot (RHP) – Another highly projected player coming off of Tommy John’s. Elliot should be ready to go around midway through the 2018 season. A Freshman All-American, Elliot is expected to come in after rehab and be a huge boost for the starting rotation.
Cameron Dobbs (SS) – The young Cowboys’ shortstop started 37 games last season. Dobbs spent the summer in Stillwater preparing for the upcoming season in the summer weight program and is looking to keep his starting shortstop spot.
Jon Littell (OF) – The senior outfielder is coming off of shoulder rehab and is poised to have his best season as a Cowboy. The four-year starter brings size and leadership to the outfield and is a great veteran presence on a relatively young team.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys head into the 2018 spring with high expectations for themselves coming off of winning the Big 12 Tournament. Freshman talent and JUCO transfers are expected to come in and compete with the players who have been in Stillwater.
While there is always room for improvement, the Cowboys head into the 2018 season with a very productive summer at their backs and look to continue working in the fall to be even better than they were last year.