Top Transfer Adam Maier Seems To Guide Oregon Baseball Program |  Sport

Top Transfer Adam Maier Seems To Guide Oregon Baseball Program | Sport

The 2021 Oregon baseball season ended in heartache. The Ducks lost at home, and had to watch the LSU Tigers celebrate in front of a passionate Eugene crowd. They rubbed salt in the wound and lost several key players such as Kenyon Yovan, Gabe Matthews, Aaron Zavala, Robert Ahlstrom and Cullen Kafka.

But all hope is not lost.

Once considered a minor sport at a school known for its athletic reputation, the Oregon baseball program is rapidly accelerating in an encouraging direction. After the team hosted its first regional since 2013 and signed head coach Mark Wasikowski to an extension of five years, the school is starting to attract more of the country’s best recruits and transfers.

One of the newest additions to the sudden amount of talent pouring into Oregon is Adam Maier. Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 transfer in the nation after a strong performance in the Cape Cod League, the 19-year-old seems to fill the void left by Ahlstrom, Kafka and Brett Walker.

A six-foot-tall right-handed pitcher, Maier is from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He started his collegiate career at the University of British Columbia. He was successful as a beginner in limited 2020 action, posting a 2.84 ERA in 19 rounds.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Little did Maier know that it would take another 15 months before he played in a competitive baseball game. Due to health and safety regulations in Canada, the entire 2021 baseball season was canceled.

“It was pretty frustrating not being able to play, but I think I spent my time very wisely and kept working on getting better every day,” said Maier. “I had a pretty good attitude to stay strong in the gym every day and try to develop my different tracks – get a little more speed, a little more movement.”

Since the team was unable to play a competitive baseball season, UBC head coach Chris Pritchett helped his players find teams to play with outside of Canada. Maier eventually landed on the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League.

After 15 tiring months, Maier said it was a relief to finally be able to play again.

“I remember the first match, I was definitely a little nervous,” Maier said. “Because one, who does not play, and two, who play in the beautiful prestigious league in Cape Cod, I was definitely a little nervous, but I think I settled down midway through the year.”

Maier played six games (five starts) in the Cape, and came away with a record of 0-2 and 4.56 ERA. More significant than the statistics, but Maier impressed the scouts with his speed and sweeping slider. He reached as high as 96 mph with his fastball, and his slider with high spin had 45% called plus fluctuating strike percentage – considered an elite mark.

His fastball comes from a three-quarter arm slot and is in the 90’s. His slider generates oscillations and booms, sits in the 80’s and spins at 2900 rpm (another elite figure).

On July 24, Maier Yarmouth-Dennis set a record 12 strikeouts in a match. He also induced 21 turns and boom.

“It may be one of the best games I’ve had in the last five years I’ve thrown up here,” said Yarmouth-Dennis manager Scott Pickler The Athletic. “[Maier] finally put it all together. “

Maier describes his fastball and slider as his “bread and butter”, with his slider as his most important pitch. But he also attributes an essential aspect of his progression to a third pitch that he has begun to interfere with – his change.

“It was probably my biggest improvement in the last year,” Maier said of his 84-87 mph change. “I feel like the pitch has taken me to the next level in a way … Having that change to kill offenders is definitely great.”

Maier’s breakout performance in the Cape shot him high on the radar of national scouts. Train as a White Sox Consultant Nathaniel Plotts called his glider “the best wrestling ball in the 2022 draft.” Baseball America ranked him as the No. 9 prospect in the entire Cape Cod League, and the offers from Division 1 schools began to roll in.

“I thought it would be the best decision for me and my career,” Maier said of the decision to switch. “I’ve always wanted to play Division 1 baseball, and I thought Oregon fit well.”

An eight-hour drive from home, Maier chose Oregon with the desire to play at a Pac-12 school and because of pitching coach Jake Angier’s reputation with the pitchers, which he told Live prospects. He said it has been a remarkably easy transition for him, highlighted by teammates and work ethic.

Now Maier joins a team that wants to establish itself as one of the best baseball teams in the country.

“I think we’ll be able to do some pretty big things this year,” Maier said. – We have a very good team. Throughout the fall, we see different boys compete, not even just in training, but from day to day in the weight room, and with their diets and all that, we have a pretty good atmosphere. It was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. “

Last season, the Ducks could rely on their ace Ahlstrom to make a strong effort every Friday night. As Ahlstrom moves on to professional baseball in the New York Yankees organization, Maier is a candidate to fill the gap.

“I would love to be that guy,” he said. “The same goes for a number of other pitchers on the team. It’s a kind of unique scenario; we all compete for that job in the end.”

With potential stocks rising and a chance at their first full collegiate season, everything seems to be on the rise for Maier. But he simply focuses on working hard and getting better, he said, confident that the results will come.

“I do not really like to set goals like ‘I want’ X ERA ‘or so many strikeouts,” said Maier. “I just think that if I work hard and make pitches, then everything will work out. I just have to be me, and I know the rest will unfold as it should. “

As a young, growing prospect bringing his skills to Eugene, Maier represents the next wave of Oregon baseball talent. While last year’s group fell short, there are no limits to what this group of players think they can achieve.

“We have a fantastic group of boys and we get along very well,” he said. “Hopefully we can go to Omaha and win the whole thing.”

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