We are excited to hear the accolades being handed to one of our favorite Duck pitchers, Stephen Nogosek. Nogosek, a Duck junior out of Woodcreek High School in Roseville, Calif., is the son of Troy and Jennifer Nogosek. Stephen was a 4-year letterman in baseball at Woodcreek High and captained both the baseball and football teams.
His abilities were not limited to baseball. While he garnered all-league and all-state honors on the diamond, stroking a .411 batting average at the plate as a freshman, he also holds the Sierra Football League records in passing yards, passing touchdowns and rushing yards by a quarterback. Nogosek is majoring in Environmental Studies at the University and he boasts proudly of his sister Jessica, who is an infielder on the Long Beach State softball team.
Reading of Nogosek’s outstanding 1.69 ERA during his work with the U.S. National Team and preseason all-American honors plus his excellent performance in the Cape Cod -Wood Bat-League last summer swells our Duck chest with pride. The young man is loaded with pitching savvy and talent.
Good coaching has also led him to develop an effective change-up to go with what appears to be a 4-seam fastball, which he delivers in the 90 MPH plus velocity range with some rise, thus it is defined as “alive.” When he has his ‘stuff’ — his breaking ball is a slider — they say he has the reputation of being, when described by opposing hitters, as ‘nasty.’
If I’m permitted, may I ask if anyone out there is old enough to remember when the “slider” was described as a “Dry- Spitter.” For those that don’t recall, a “spitter” was a pitch delivered with fingers moistened by saliva from a pitchers mouth. The baseball would approach the plate looking like an old fashioned round-house curve, which virtually would drop late as if falling off a table, “down and in” on a some hitters or “down and out” on others.
The pitch, to use the vernacular, was nasty! It didn’t take long for the pitch to be outlawed. Not due to its effectiveness but under the ruse of a pitcher applying a foreign substance to the ball.
The Ducks’ head baseball coach George Horton has tabbed Nogosek as the closing relief pitcher for the 2016 season. Horton told GoDucksTV at Oregon’s media day on Jan. 27 that, “Stephen Nogosek is expected to take over the closer roll this season. He pitched on Team USA this past summer and really raised eyebrows with the ability he showed.
We think he’s that good! He’s been that good here! We expect great things out of “Nogo”, and from a team stand point, he is showing great leadership as well.” In the opinion of this follower, closer should be a great fit for Nogosek as he was a strong middle-inning reliever in the 2015 season.
There is one concern about Nogosek that has troubled this observer. He is listed in the team roster at 6’1″ and weighing in at 172 lbs. — that is what concerns me somewhat about him. My worry is for his future more than the level he is playing at currently. I think he needs to get some weight on that body, as professional baseball is a long season and requires stamina to produce at the highest level throughout the season.
Despite these thoughts, Nogosek’s performance on the mound for the Ducks speaks loudly to the probability of his success in the play-for-pay leagues. It will be encouraging and exciting to see number 30 come to the hill late in Duck games.
However, every time I voice this concern, I’m reminded of the late Bobby Shantz, a left-handed pitcher who spent 15 years pitching successfully in the major leagues. Shantz won 119 and lost 99 games throughout his career. His best year was 1952 when he won 24 and lost 7. Shantz was 5′ 6″ tall and weighed in at a hefty 139 lbs. My 13 year old grandson is bigger than that!
See you at PK Park on the weekend of February 25 through 28. Let’s fill those seats!
Four games with Illinois State and their Louisville Slugger all-American — left-hander Jacob Hendren.
Let’s show Duck pride! It’s the home opener!
Until we see you at the park,
Take two and hit to Right!!
Top Photo by Steve Francis