School: Shorewood High School, Shoreline Washington
Selected 2015 stats
Message board community (32): Wileycard must know something about Ian Oxnevad that the rest of us do not as he began voting for the tall lefty during the early 20’s in the community vote. Oxnevad began receiving major support in the early 30’s from the rest of the voters, where he tucked in nicely at #32, just behind Corey Littrell.
Not a lot of discussion took place during the community vote regarding Oxnevad, other than the posts of Wileycard himself. He believes Oxnevad had just as good of a season as fellow 2015 draftee and first-rounder, Jake Woodford. He also believes that as a big guy, Oxnevad will have room to get stronger as he gets older. - Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore (37): Because of signability issues, Oxnevad's draft stock significantly fell, but that didn't stop the Cardinals from grabbing him in the eighth round. The granted him the equivalent of third-round money as a high-risk, high-reward type pick to pass over a baseball scholarship at Oregon State.
Oxnevad, one of the Pacific Northwest's top pitching prospects, dominated in his senior season, logging a 0.69 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. The lefty consistently fires with a low 90s fastball, which he says has touched as high as 93. Scouts see his projectable frame and stuff developing with a chance of a successful rise to the big leagues as a mid-rotation starter.
As the Cardinals typically do with top pitching draft picks, Oxnevad was placed on a strict workload plan. He did not make his professional debut until July 7th, approximately a full month after the draft. Standing at an impressive 6-foot-4, he had a 2.42 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 26 innings of work in the Gulf Coast League.
Not only is the command of his fastball at the forefront, but Oxnevad told The Cardinal Nation that the location of his pitches and having the ability to throw an equalizer to disrupt a batter's timing is paramount - compared to high school where he just relied on pure velocity and breaking pitches.
"In high school, I would just throw the fastball, curveball, and slider and now I've had to mix it up," said Oxnevad. "The change-up was a huge pitch for me this year, and I'm looking forward to developing it in the coming years to see how it turns out for me."
In the near term, Oxnevad will focus on one breaking pitch, the curveball, but remains a fan of the slider because it gives the illusion of two pitches going in different directions. He also hopes to "put on muscle" this off-season for improved velocity.
Expect to see Oxnevad repeat the Gulf Coast League in 2016 with a full season of development under the Cardinals guidance.
Brian Walton (37): Six days into our countdown and we have our fifth pitcher, albeit one we have limited first-hand information on.
The combination of the Cardinals holding down innings of recently-drafted pitchers coupled with the first-time decision to excuse from fall instructional league all players taken in the current June’s draft mean there is not much eye-witness reporting on Oxnevad as a professional.
While The Cardinal Nation reporter Paul Ivice regularly watched Oxnevad perform in the GCL, I have not been able to see him pitch yet personally.
Like many players from more temperate climates, Oxnevad used his time in the GCL to acclimate himself to both professional hitters and weather he described as the “polar opposite” of Washington State.
“I had been here (Florida) for a couple of tournaments, so I had a taste of it, but nothing like this,” Oxnevad said of South Florida’s heat and humidity. “It has been an adjustment.”
The weather wasn’t the only factor for the then-18-year-old left-hander. After his first five outings, Oxnevad had given up just one run, but had a relatively unimpressive total of six walks and six strikeouts in 13 innings.
In high school, he said, echoing a typical refrain, “There is usually one good hitter, maybe two. Here, everyone is here for a reason – they are all good hitters,” Oxnevad told Ivice.
I like Oxnevad’s adjustments over his last three starts. As he extended his outings up to four and five innings each, the strikeouts went up and the walks down. Oxnevad fanned 10 and walked just two over his final 13 innings. However, he also was touched for six of his seven earned runs allowed during his initial professional season.
To be honest, however, more than his limited performance to date, at this point, Oxnevad being placed in the top 40 is a vote of confidence in the Cardinals scouting and player development staffs. The organization took Oxnevad late compared to his talent level and landed him with an offer that exceeded his actual slot value by a third of a million dollars ($500,000 versus $167,400). That was the highest over slot amount St. Louis gave to any 2015 draftee.
Due to his size and pedigree, if Oxnevad is healthy and ready to go in the spring, I believe he has a decent chance of pitching in the Appalachian League in 2016. It would be a path similar to the one taken this past season by a pair of highly-touted high school arms from the 2014 draft in Ronnie Williams and Bryan Dobzanski. The two tuned up in the GCL after the draft and stepped up to Johnson City the next summer.
The Appy League should be a reasonable 2016 target for Oxnevad. Then we will see more of what the Cardinals have in him.
Our 2016 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
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