Coming into the 2016 season, the Oregon Ducks potentially have one of the most exciting weekend rotations in college baseball.
Leading the way will be Cole Irvin, who was both durable and effective as a workhorse in the rotation a year ago, which is made all the more impressive when you consider that he was still very much on the mend from a previous Tommy John surgery after a huge 2013 season. He was drafted in the 32nd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the most recent draft, but chose instead to return to Eugene. The rotation will also feature David Peterson, a premium prospect who acclimated well to Pac-12 baseball as a freshman in 2015, even as he suffered the usual ups and downs of a freshman season in big-time college baseball.
The third piece of the rotation will be Matt Krook, who could be the most exciting of them all. Krook, too, has had a recent Tommy John surgery. In fact, it is what caused him to miss all of the 2015 season, but in 2014, before he was shut down due to injury, Krook was electric. In eight starts, he threw 45.1 innings, going 2-1 with a 1.79 ERA, 60 strikeouts, and a .148 batting average against him.
If he is back to full strength, or something close to it, for the 2016 season, the Ducks have a staff ace on their hands that could be put up against just about anyone else in the Pac-12, or the entire country for that matter.Ā Over the summer, although his stats werenā€™t anything special, he showed that his arm is certainly well on the way to being back at full strength, as he handled the workload for Wareham in the Cape Cod League well.
Heading into the 2016 season, the accolades have already been rolling in. D1Baseball recently ranked him 13th on their list of top prospects in the country and Baseball America is even higher on him, as they have him ninth on their list.Ā Collegiate Baseball has Krook as a preseason third-team All-American. All of thatā€™s high praise considering how much time the lefty has missed, but itā€™s not a surprise given his immense potential and the results he has shown in the time he has spent on the mound. The 2016 season could be a huge one for Krook.