EUGENE — The two Purdue baseball recruits selected in this month’s Major League Baseball draft came from the West.
Outfielder Josh Mears, of Federal Way, Washington, signed for nearly $1 million after being taken by San Diego in the second round, while Canadian pitcher Adam Macko of Stony Plain, Alberta, went to Seattle in the seventh round. Coach Mark Wasikowski also brought Nate Weeldreyer from Auburn, Washington, to the Boilermakers.
“Those three out of the Pacific Northwest are plenty good enough to play anywhere,” Wasikowski said. “If we are able to come in from Purdue, which is a long way away from the Northwest, then those kids can come to Oregon.”
Wasikowski was the recruiting coordinator during five seasons as an assistant with the Ducks from 2012 to 2016 and made it clear he will continue to lead recruiting efforts after being introduced as Oregon’s head baseball coach on Friday. He spent the past three seasons as Purdue’s head coach.
He said he hopes to complete his staff in the next few days, including one assistant who will get the title of recruiting coordinator.
“If I do a good job and have a staff that wants to be on the road every single day, that means there will be three of us because I’ll be on the road every day recruiting to try and get this place going,” Wasikowski said. “I will not be a guy that sits in the office. I will be hard to reach in the office, but a lot easier to reach on my cellphone. I am a guy who will be in the trenches on the recruiting front. I want to make sure nobody will outwork the head coach at Oregon in recruiting.”
Wasikowski had Oregon’s recruiting classes regularly ranked among the top 25 in the nation, and the final group before he left to coach Purdue included pitchers Kenyon Yovan and Ryne Nelson and infielder Spencer Steer. All three were drafted earlier this month following their junior seasons with the Ducks.
“He’s a personality that everyone wants as a coach because he is going to push you,” Yovan said. “He will let you know when something is wrong, but push you to the point where you do it right consistently. You want to be pushed to the limit as a player to see what you are made of. I am excited to see what he brings to the table. He’s a great guy, great human being and great coach.”
Oregon signed 10 recruits for next season, including three who were selected in the draft. Not many players remain unsigned in the 2019 class, as Wasikowski starts to look ahead to 2020 and 2021 in recruiting.
“You’ve got to find guys that not only can play at Oregon, but can be the best guys in the Pac-12 Conference,” Wasikowski said. “Those are the guys I am looking for. If we can find potentially the best guy in the conference at each spot, that gives us a chance from a talent standpoint. Our goal in recruiting will be to accomplish that.”
Oregon has not signed many power hitters in recent seasons — the Ducks’ home PK Park has a reputation as a pitchers’ ballpark — but Wasikowski believes that can change.
“No doubt we can get hitters here,” he said. “If we can’t find hitters we feel comfortable within this part of the United States, we will start in the Northwest and move outward. Now I have connections in the Midwest so if we have to bring out one of those big farm boys this way to hit the ball on the top of the (player development area), we will do that too.”