YAKIMA, Wash. – Two freshmen for the Oregon Ducks baseball team, catcher/outfielder James Bell and right-handed pitcher Tyler Frazier, are the newest members of the Yakima Valley Pippins, head coach Marcus McKimmy announced Wednesday.
Bell, a 6-foot, 203-pound right-handed hitter, is in his first year in Eugene after a standout career at Clovis North High School in Fresno, California. Bell was a first-team All-State selection as a senior in 2018, and was also named Tri-River Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after hitting .374 with six doubles, four home runs, and 22 RBIs.
“Bell is a big bat who will be a middle of the order type in Yakima,” said McKimmy. “He’s behind some older guys and more experienced guys at Oregon, but will be extremely motivated this summer to be an impact guy.”
“I’m looking to take positive steps in my catching, and get a lot of good quality at-bats in,” Bell said. “I would like to hit the ball around like I know I can, and see as many high-level college arms as I can.”
Bell is already a veteran of the summer collegiate baseball circuit, having spent the 2018 summer playing for the Medford Rogues of the Great West League. He hit .333 for the Rogues with five doubles, one home run, and 11 RBIs.
“The whole experience prepared me pretty well (for college ball),” Bell said. “Seeing actual college arms, facing live pitching, traveling, bus rides, it really prepares you for other stuff that goes on behind the scenes.”
Frazier is a 6-foot-1, 143-pound right-hander pitcher who will come to Yakima from Oregon by way of Corona, California. He prepped at Santiago High School, where he posted a 7–4 record and 2.08 ERA as a senior in 2018.
“Tyler throws a ton of strikes,” noted McKimmy. “He’s a mid- to upper-80s arm that we hope will be a 90 guy when he gets to Yakima. Anybody that is coached and mentored by (Oregon pitching coach) Jason Dietrich will be a solid and well-prepared competitor.”
Frazier was ranked by Perfect Game as the 25th-best pitcher in California in the class of 2018 after a high school career that included three first-team All-League selections. At Santiago, he was teammates with Brice Turang, who was the 18th overall draft pick in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Having teammates is always great for that initial transition to the league,” said McKimmy. “A pitcher-catcher duo is even more valuable, as they will have no adjustment period with Tyler throwing to James.”