2012 Clemson Baseball Season Review

Final Record: 35-28, 3rd in ACC Atlantic division

Final Rankings: Clemson finished the season unranked.

The Tigers began the season ranked as high as 16th by Baseball America. Other rankings fell between that mark and 25th. Clemson was picked to win the ACC Atlantic division, ahead of FSU, by the Baseball America writers.

Our Expectations from the Preseason:

I don't know that we have the experience in the middle infield and all 3 OF spots to say we're CWS or even Super Regional caliber. The home schedule is favorable with NC, Miami, and FSU all coming to Tiger Field so if we win a couple of those series we're right back in the Regionals again without a problem. I think we'll get to the Regionals at least, but going further is not something I'd project this year.

Turned out correct on the final outcome, but I was pleasantly surprised by the defensive improvement by SS Jason Stolz and the play of 2B Steve Wilkerson. Neither of them were strong contributing factors to our regression this season. While Stolz does not have great range, he at least gets what comes at him and makes the routine throws, contrary to Brad Miller. Wilkerson hasn’t yet made us forget about Mike Freeman’s play but he’s on his way.Aside from transfer CF Thomas Brittle, the OF play was disappointing. None of them could swing the bat well, with some guys that I expected to contribute completely dropping off the radar by the end of the season.

What was most disappointing to me; however, was our pitching staff. While much of the core of the 2011 staff returned, the team ERA went up from 3.32 to 3.90. Walks allowed increased from 183 to 248. Alex Frederick, Justin Sarratt, and Scott Weismann were the only regular pitchers that left that squad. Will Lamb played more OF than P in 2011 (227AB vs 24.1 IP) and yet was drafted in the 2nd round as a LH Pitcher. I think it is time for the Pepicelli experiment to end.

Season in Rewind:

Clemson, like most southern schools, starts the month of February at home and faced UAB and Maine to start the season. The Rattlers and Jack's former squad took the opening game of each series thanks to some poor hitting and defense but the Tigers headed into the SC series 4-2.

Clemson faced Michael Roth and had a poor approach at the plate in game 1, something that has been a recurring theme over the last several seasons. Roth works the away side and only comes in to keep you honest, but Clemson took the approach of swinging early and often, and basically grounded to short or 2nd all day after 2 pitches. Roth doesn't have overpowering stuff, and he throws junk that he wants you to offer at. If you cannot fight off the junk pitches until you get something to hit, you're going to have a bad day, and Jack Leggett or LeCroy apparently can't drill that into our players. Tiger pitchers had a good day, but we couldn't muster any runs and lost 3-2 in 11 innings.

In Game 2, we jumped on Matt Price but they jumped ahead on home runs off Dominic Leone, and the Tigers fell 9-6. Poor defense almost killed the Tigers in Game 3, with a dropped popup by Boulware leading to 4 unearned runs for SC. Pohle and Firth responded and shut down the cluckers the rest of the way, and the offense took the lead in Clemson and we won 6-5. After the series we said this:

USC gave us plenty of opportunities to take this series, and not just in the first game. Our pitching in general has just been too iffy to really get a read on this team. It seems like any given night, we can go out and have our bullpen throw 4 or 5 solid innings against a top ranked tam like USC, or we're just as likely to have our starting pitching get rocked and only go three innings. Our offense is just as likely to score one run in ten innings as they are to respond strongly after falling behind.

That remained pretty constant over the entire season.

The Tigers had the future national-seed Tarheels come to Clemson in a series that we did not expect to win, but we at least expected to take 1 at home. We didn't. NC pitching held Clemson down, but the Tiger bullpen lost leads they were given because they could not throw strikes to save their lives and Clemson served up two games of the 3 to NC on a platter. The first one was the hardest fought and best performance by Clemson, but Games 2 and 3 were handed away by 4 errors by our infield and a complete disaster in the Clemson pen. We even walked a guy who was trying to bunt.

The Tigers did what was expected of them after a loss to Western Carolina and swept BC and Elon over the next week of Spring Break. Following those series, we had a trip to Charlottesville to face a 12-8 underrated UVA squad, who promptly swept us again. We brought some momentum coming in, and this was a comparatively weaker Virginia team hit hard by graduation/MLB losses, but Brady looks like crap and we make 3 errors in the first game. Brandon Kline 2-hit us in the 2nd game and Pohle was rocked in the 3rd. Clemson did get plenty of guys on base, but hit below .200 with RISP for the series. Here is where we stood on the problems facing this 11-11 Tiger team:

First of all, we can't hit with runners in scoring position. This team is simply NOT going to come through with the timely hits needed to plate the runs that end up being the difference in the game. That's why I stress those "special" situations so much; if we could get guys in those situations, we wouldn't have to have a base hit to score them, we could use other means (a bunt, sac fly, past ball, etc.). But we can't even do that right.

Secondly, we can't play defense. Our infield has 17 errors in 22 games this season. Seven of those have come from Richie. He's fielding a measly .870 on the season. That's John Hinson bad. They're freaking GROUND BALLS. Get in front of them, knock them down, pick them up, throw the guy out. How little do we practice fielding that we can't make the routine plays? Wilkerson has 5 errors, McGibbon has 3, Stolz has 2, all of which is unreal. I made the comment earlier that ground balls are tougher than fly balls, but that doesn't mean the play shouldn't be made.

Fortunately, I expected Clemson's record to significantly improve after the UVa series. We were over the initial hurdle of tough teams and I wasn't scared of Miami, even though they do have enough to whip us. What burns me up is the midweek losses and losses to clearly inferior opponents that occured this year: WCU twice, Presbyterian, Coastal, UAB, Maine, Wake Forest 3x, CofC. Thats at least 8 losses that should not happen, with Coastal being the lone forgivable loss.

After taking two from the Canes at Tiger Field, we started to get a little confidence going and shelled Duke in Durham. Duke is competitive, but at the end of the day, it's Duke. We're Clemson. As arrogant as that sounds, that's just the way it is. You do NOT lose to Duke in anything but basketball, and probably lacrosse. Combine that fact with the 8 errors they made over the course of the weekend, and anything less than a sweep would have been a disappointment.

Unfortunately NC State has a pretty decent pitching staff this year, contrary to most, and we could not take advantage of the chances they gave us at home. We won the first game 7-6, but freshman phenom Carlos Rodon dominated us in the 2nd contest. Clemson had a shot to win it in the 9th, with runners on the corners with no outs, and McGibbon struck out. Felder pinch-hits when NCSU makes a change, and promptly looked at 3 pitches and sat down. WHY DO WE LOOK AT 3RD STRIKES IN THESE SITUATIONS. Stolz popped out to end the 3-1 loss. On Sunday, Pohle got shelled early and it was over without a whimper.

We needed a sweep at College Park and got that, but surprised me with a series win in Atlanta. Clemson never wins there, and really should've swept. If our pitchers had shown up, we would've looked like a CWS team. Clemson managed to give up 21 runs in 3 games and still win 2 of them.

Finals week saw Clemson lose their first ever game to CofC in the 2-1 series win before hosting #1 FSU. We expected Clemson to do well at home against FSU because we historically always have done well, and they didn't disappoint. Clemson took 2 of 3, with the 3rd game loss partly due to having no pitching depth in the split doubleheader.

Jack Leggett puts little emphasis on the ACC Tournament, and we botched the opener against Virginia. Jack left Mike Kent in there to struggle and blow the lead in the end. The Tigers hit a combined .195 in 4 games versus the Cavs. We punched FSU 9-7 but Pohle choked in the GT game and that was that.

Clemson got the invite to the NCAA Regional in Columbia with SC, Manhattan and Coastal Carolina. We all knew this team did not have enough to win it, but we did put up a good fight with some quality pitching. Its just too bad that we can't play sound fundamentally and cannot defeat the extra help from Umpires. Clemson played well in Game 1 against Coastal, jumping out to a 6-0 lead after a Phil Pohl grand slam. Pohle and Haselden both pitched well enough to get the job done in the 11-3 win that was paused for rain & lightning for 1.5 hrs. It wasn't exactly pretty, with CC getting a ton of baserunners on (16), but they got out of it with good damage control.

Saturday's SC game lived up to the hype in all honesty, but was marred by Clemson's inability to get a clutch hit time and time again or properly lay down a bunt. Michael Roth looked like shit, but through 6 innings we could get only 2 hits despite having runners on base nearly every inning. It wasn't until the 7th that CU got to Roth, when we should've forced him from the game much earlier.

In the 8th, Jack sent in Firth, who had been solid yet couldn't record an out. He gave up 1 run before being pulled for JoMo, who got out his lefty batter. Jon Meyer came in and barely avoided a HR on a hanging slider but got out of the inning.

In the 9th, Meyer remained on the hill and promptly blew the game. At the time I wondered why Brady had not been called in. He's generally been very solid against SC and his fastball could ice it. But Meyer let two more on, walking one guy who tried to bunt on 5 pitches, before Brady came in and managed to get out of the jam with just 1 run crossing, but it was the tying score and forced extra innings. Thomas Brittle made a strong throw to the plate to limit them to the one run. Brady had not built up enough arm strength because of his rest and I was sure he couldn't go more than 3, and thats as far as he got before SC won the game in the 12th.

It spoiled a tremendous job by Daniel Gossett, whose curveball ate up Gamecock hitters all day long. It was downright nasty and you could see knees shaking in every inning. The freshman made only one really bad pitch, a middle-in elevated fastball that Matthews put over the fence in the 4th. Through 7 innings, Gossett gave up just 4 hits and struck out 8.

After the game, I hope someone asked Jack why he decided to not teach proper bunting to our hitters when he's a smallball coach, and why we pitched around a guy trying to sacrifice. I'd also like to know who teaches our hitters to not move the bat off their shoulders with runners on and 2 strikes because that shit is driving me insane

After the staff was sufficiently taxed on Saturday, Clemson had to have a solid performance by the starter on Sunday in the first elimination game vs Coastal. Dominic Leone came back and gave us that. Leone had not been with the team this week due to a funeral in the family, but came back to pitch 7 solid innings that we badly needed with our lack of pitching depth.

Throughout the game, Clemson made numerous bad throws and bonehead plays defensively. McGibbon missed a sure out by not having any sunglasses, Felder (whose mom played basketball at Clemson in case you didnt know yet) went braindead on two balls hit at him (but saved one run with a great cutoff throw), and a sure DP was botched by a bad throw.

Thankfully Leone didn't give up more runs than he was forced to by such poor defensive fundamentals. It could've been much worse, but this game should've been in the bag earlier. Firth pitched two strong innings to close it out and the Tigers got an insurance run in the 9th.

David Haselden was slated to start and fooled no one in the 2nd game vs SC. In 2/3 of an inning he was beat up for 3 runs. Jon Meyer came in and redeemed himself with a very strong performance that gave us a chance to win the game, probably his best ever, but again Clemson can't hit junkballing lefties, especially freshmen.

Jordan Montgomery (5-1) pitched 6.2 innings to earn the win. He gave up five hits, two runs, and one walk with six strikeouts. Tyler Webb yielded two hits, one run, and no walks with four strikeouts to record his third save of the season. Montgomery and Webb combined to retire all nine of Clemson's leadoff batters in the game.

Clemson was 1-hit through 5 by the youngster. We got to him a little after that, but every chance we had to blow it up was pissed away. Only in the 9th did we seriously mount a rally, but it sputtered and died and the Chickens ended their season 4-3.

My perception of this team is that it was only marginally better than 2008's disaster. We brought back enough pitching from last season that this one should've been better, but we could never do the little things that separate us from the elites. It wasn't that the team just plain sucked, as many would say. It wasn't that we just could not hit or could not pitch, but at different times during this season we forgot how to do certain things. Without runners on base, we could get hits. When they got into scoring position, we never could. When we needed a big hit to win a game, we tightened up at the plate. We somehow continue to take the 3rd strike with RISP. That 2008 team was the worst at that aspect in particular, but they were also young overall. If we needed a bunt, we couldn't drop one down the line. If we needed to shut down an opponent in an inning, we couldn't pitch our way out of the jam, and it would blow up in our faces. On the next day, the same pitcher would be lights-out. The hitter who took a collar on Friday would go 4-for-4 on Saturday. The defense that fielded among the better teams in the conference would somehow choke in big situations, and we'd lose a game by the run they allowed.

I dont know how else to describe a team that plays like we did this year. All I know is that my expectations are high for Clemson baseball; much higher than they are for basketball or even football. We are among the best in college baseball historically, we're Top 10 nationally in attendance, and should be in Omaha every single year.

Addition: Things Tim Bourret won't tell you

-Clemson has a .618 winning percentage since Sully left, taking our recruiting and pitching with him. 6th in the ACC. 81-68 record in ACC play, 6th in the ACC.

-ACC Tournament record over this span: 6-9

-Clemson is 8-23 in one-run games dating back to late in 2010. In postseason one-run games, Clemson is 1-7 over the past three years.

-Clemson has failed to win 50 games once in the past five years, after winning 50 games or more in 11 of the previous 20 seasons. (Fewer games played now as well)

-Clemson's records against SC

2012: 1-4 (1-2 reg season, 0-2 Regionals)
2011: 1-2
2010: 2-3 (2-1 reg season, 0-2 CWS)
2009: 2-1
2008: 0-3
2007: 0-3
2006: 2-1

MLB Draft Results/Losses:

1st Rd – 3B Richie Shaffer – Tampa Bay Rays and will sign

5th Rd – C Spencer Kieboom – Washingon Nationals - has signed

10th Rd – RHP Kevin Brady – Philadelphia Phillies – has signed for slot money, 125K.

16th Rd – RHP Dominic Leone – Seattle Mariners - has signed

17th Rd – SS Jason Stolz – Colorado Rockies

28th Rd – DH/C Phil Pohl – Oakland Athletics

32nd Rd - RHP Scott Firth -- Philadelphia Phillies - Stated before the draft that he would come back if not in the Top 6 rounds, so we expect him back.

RF Brad Felder was undrafted but will graduate, as will RHP David Haselden

And we are hearing a couple other players wish to transfer or will leave outright before fall camp. Jack tends to rub some parents and some players the wrong way.

We’re bringing in ~18 new players + those coming off redshirt from this year (e.g., Kieboom/Goodling), so there will be heavy attrition. 2011 signee LHP Jeremy Scheck transferred to Illinois after fall camp.

What about next year?

A first swag cut at the lineup looks like this:

Prospective Lineup
Pos Player BA R H 2B HR RBI Misc.
SS Steve Wilkerson .296 49 76 13 1 31 Better suited to being a #2, but hits well here.
CF Thomas Brittle .298 43 68 9 2 36 15-18 SBs, needs to get more walks in 2013.
RF Steven Duggar -- Freshman
1B Jon McGibbon .233 29 50 8 5 33 Must hit better in '13.
3B Jay Baum .220 24 35 4 0 11 Played SS in HS, likely moves to INF
DH/OF Dominic Attanasio .183 11 11 1 0 6 Hit .367 as a frosh, disappeared in 2012.
2B Shane Kennedy -- JUCO transfer will slide in at 2nd
C Garrett Boulware .214 7 12 2 0 2 We're young at Catcher, very little depth
LF/DH Tyler Slaton .189 15 10 1 0 7
--OF Joe Costigan .289 5 13 4 0 7 will fight it out with DA and Slaton
--2B Mike Dunster .233 2 7 2 0 4 If not Kennedy, look for Dunster at 2nd to start

Not exactly confidence-inspiring given this season’s performances, and power is completely unknown or nonapparent. Next years team will HAVE to be good on the basepaths and fundamentally sound. Wilkerson could stick at 2nd, but I expect him to move back to SS with Stolz’s departure. Wilkerson must get better defensively though (18 errors), or we could be looking at Brad Miller II. Mike Dunster is also a contender at 2nd base, but I think incoming JUCO transfer Shane Kennedy takes the spot to start the season. McGibbon is definite at 1st, and likewise needs defensive improvement (10 errors), but we have no 3rd baseman. If Baum can still play there, I think he takes that spot, but we might see a good bit of youngster play at 3rd.

In the OF, we've got a bit of a glut of players that have not separated themselves. Brittle is the only definite. Baum played the most of the returning group, but didn't exactly wow us with his bat. He played on the IF in HS, and its possible he moves back in next year, since we're not bringing back a known quantity at 3rd. Tyler Slaton had a fairly good eye at the plate, but didn't do much else there. Attanasio had some issue with Jack last summer/fall and then hit 200 points lower in the same number of at-bats in 2012. We're bringing in 2 definite OFs in this class, Duggar and Gibson, and you might see them get early PT. I think Duggar ends up taking a job unless one of these returnees develops some extra pop.

Given that this year's team should've been able to play small ball, it frightens me to think that small ball is the only way the next one will succeed. We'll have to get the stolen base figures up, work more walks again, learn how to bunt, hit sacrifice flies, and the bottom of the order has to pick it up when the top half gets on base.

Pitching

Clemson pitching took a nosedive in 2012, with the team ERA increasing by 0.6. Walks dramatically increased as well, and combined this is seriously bad news when batting averages across the nation are tanking with the BBCOR bat changes. Our pitching should've been much stronger than it was the last two years as offensive numbers plummetted. We wanted to take a look at Dan Pepicelli's record as Pitching Coach at CU and examine the trend over 3 years.

Team Pitching Statistics under Pepicelli
Opp BA ERA W-L SHO/CBO Saves IP H R ER BB Ks
2010 .279 4.69 45-25 2/2 14 626.0 684 385 326 230 486
2011 .239 3.32 43-20 7/7 16 558.1 496 247 206 183 486
2012 .269 3.90 35-28 1/1 13 575.1 588 289 249 248 460

Note that 2010 was the final year for the previous bat design, itself deadened from another prior version. Now for Kyle Bunn, who replaced Kevin O'Sullivan when he left for Florida.

Team Pitching Statistics under Kyle Bunn
Opp BA ERA W-L SHO/CBO Saves IP H R ER BB Ks
2008 .289 4.76 31-27 2/1 12 518.1 593 341 274 178 441
2009 .253 3.68 44-22 4/4 13 594.1 569 279 243 203 548

The 2008 Clemson team happened to be the worst team I can recall in my lifetime, and I challenge anyone to find one worse. Bunn improved the team ERA by over 1 run in a year, and Clemson would not pony up with the salary (he made 22K less than Riginos, at 69K per year) and he went to Alabama. He was fired there after a couple seasons and is now at ETSU.

Kevin O's pitching staffs had ERAs in the 3-4 range for the most part, with the most recent great staff being on the 2006 team, which sported a 3.26 ERA against some VERY live bats.

In my mind, given the ~40-50% reduction in college power figures since 2010, any team ERA now over 4.00 is downright awful. The '12 team's 3.90 is pretty bad if you consider we brought two of the best talents back from '11 (Pohle and Brady). We went the entire year with basically 3 go-to guys to use in the pen: Gossett, Campbell, and Firth. Everyone else was garbage for most of the season.

A first cut at the 2013 rotation and pen will be

Friday – Kevin Pohle (7-4, 3.66 ERA)

Saturday – Daniel Gossett (6-3, 4.32 ERA)

Sunday – Jonathan Meyer (2-5, 3.96 ERA) - great one day, awful the next

Midweeks are your best guess. It includes possibly freshmen Matt Crownover, Wales Toney, and Clate Schmidt. It is possible that one of the redshirts contributes as well.

Closer’s role should go to Matt Campbell (1-2 2.49 2 SV) if he’s recovered and ready next year, with Scott Firth (4-0 2.09 3 SV) as the top alternative. Firth has not been dominant as a closer or a starter, so I'm confused on his proper usage. He seems to only be suited as that 6th-8th inning guy, but if it were up to me he'd pitch Sunday because I dont want Meyer there.

Mike Kent dropped off the map after UVA figured him out, and only has a solid curveball in his repertoire. Patrick Andrews had an up/down season as a freshman (2-3, 5.52 ERA 2 SV), and I'm not certain he has the stuff for the job. Most of the others redshirted or were ineffective in light use. JoMo will be a lefty-only matchup if he returns. Clay Bates is a submariner who could be ideal if he can force ground balls in jams, but he was shelled in light action. Kyle Bailey is expected to return, but pitched only 1 inning of scoreless relief early this year.

Trevor Kieboom and Brock Goodling come off redshirts.

2012 Baseball Signees

Baseball recruiting is tremendously hard to follow so we don’t know as much about these players as we would for football or even basketball, but this appears to be a high quality class engineered by Bradley LeCroy. He’s turned his focus back to the southeast where it should be, and specifically the states of GA and SC that Clemson should never have to leave to find players. The Tigers have signed 4 of the top 9 players in-state, while SC only signed one. It is also nice to see us recruiting bigger guys and not more 5’9" 160lb Jack Leggetts in the last two classes, though Riginos played the primary role in the previous class. This aspect is why I’ve been willing to give LeCroy more leeway thus far, but he has serious work to do in improving our hitting.

PerfectGame.org is really the only quality site that tracks recruiting, and much of the info below comes from them.

Lucas Sims RHP 6-2 195 R-R Brookwood Lawrenceville GA – Drafted by Atlanta Braves in 1st round, will sign

Clate Schmidt RHP/SS 6-2 180 Switch-R Allatoona Acworth GA – #10 rated player in GA. We have heard a ton of good things about Clate, and in the long run he is expected to become a 1st round pick. It was said that his asking price for the MLB draft was too high, so he wasn’t drafted early, as he was courted as a 2nd round pick. His fastball tops out in the mid/upper 90s and has a nasty curveball in the low 80s. He is a great athlete who played SS in the field and played basketball, so I would not be surprised to see him in the lineup with an occasional pen appearance next year. 37th Rd Pick by Detroit, will not sign.

He throws from a full back turn delivery with a big hip turn and an extended three-quarters arm slot with some effort on release that will cause him to spin off occasionally. Schmidt’s athleticism enables him to repeat his delivery well considering all the movement and energy spent and he hasn’t shown any significant command problems either during the summer/fall or pitching in high school ball during the spring. His release point provides very good angle against right handed hitters, especially with his breaking ball. Schmidt’s plus fastball velocity is a constant and he maintains 93-plus mph over extended innings and from the stretch with little variance. He also gets very good running and sinking life on the pitch when he’s down in the zone, and maintaining consistency with this movement and location will be one of the most important aspects of his future development. While many have called Schmidt’s 80-83 mph breaking ball a slider due to its velocity, the pitch is a true curveball that Schmidt comes off the top of (as opposed to releasing it off his finger tips as one would a slider) and generates very hard spin and deep 11-to-5 shape. It’s a plus pitch regardless of what you label it as. Schmidt has thrown a changeup occasionally but hasn't needed it as much up to this point in his career, and is something that will be developed at the next level.

James Matthew Crownover OF/LHP 6-0 195 R-L Ringgold Ringgold GA – #22 rated player in GA. Another one we hear is projected as a high pick in future drafts, but was undrafted. Has had Tommy John surgery recently, which is a 12-18 month recovery. Fastball tops in the low 90s with good run and sink. Solid changeup and a 70s curveball, with a delivery that hides the ball pretty well. A quality LHP that Clemson sorely needs, but I think he gets worked in slowly coming off TJ surgery or redshirts.

Wales Toney RHP 6-3 200 L-R T.L. Hanna Anderson SC - #2 rated player in SC. Was a possible 3rd round pick who said no thanks to MLB, turning down 700K, has a 90ish fastball but has problem with tipping his offspeed pitches due to changing arm slots. Future starting pitcher.

Steven Duggar OF 6-2 175 L-R Byrnes Moore SC – #4 rated player in SC. Right now we expect him to start or push for starting in the OF, and eventually play Center. He was courted as a 2nd round pick for $550,000, but said no thanks to the KC Royals and went undrafted by MLB.

Tall, slender build, room to get stronger. Left handed hitter, narrow open stance, leg lift trigger, very busy hands to load, line drive/contact approach, puts the ball in play and runs, sprays to all fields.

Jackson Campana 3B/P 6-6 220 R-R Providence Charlotte NC – #14 player in NC. Same school that produced Richie Shaffer, and his coach there believes he can be as good.

Good soft hands defensively, clean and quick exchange, stays compact for his size, good release, accurate throws with some carry. Right handed hitter, hits with hands back, rotational swing, stays over his back side and limits his extension out front, ball comes off the barrel well, obvious strength, needs better flow and leverage at contact.

Tyler Krieger 2B/SS 6-1 160 S-R Northview Johns Creek GA -#41 player in GA. He was approached as a 4th round pick and turned down 500K. Drafted in 35th Round by Seattle, will not sign with them.

Lanky athletic frame, wiry strength with room to add more. Switch hitter, equally effective both ways. Stays balanced, some wrap to start the bat, smooth swing, moves through contact, creates bat speed, good extension out front, gap power from both sides, squares it up well especially from the left side. 6.90 runner, good body control defensively, soft clean hands, quick exchange and release, could work through ball better to maximize arm strength.

Maleeke Gibson OF 5-11 155 L-R Lakewood Sumter SC - #7 rated player in SC.Andrew Cox OF 6-1 195 L-L Belton-Honea Path Belton SC - #16 rated player in SC

Kyle Whitman 1B/P 6-3 210 L-R Nation Ford Fort Mill SC - #9 rated player in SC.Big strong well proportioned build. 7.11 runner, strong arm at first base, has been 89 mph off the mound as well, good agility, has the tools for corner outfield as well. Left handed hitter, open stance, hand hitch start, looking to pull and lift, good bat speed, will need to simplify approach against better velocity.

Kevin Bradley SS/C/3B/LF 6-2 195 S/R Hopewell HS Pennington NJ – Was approached and offered 350-400K that he turned down. Drafted in 36th round by Colorado Rockies, will not sign.

Brody Koerner RHP 6-2 180 R-R JM Robinson Concord NC - #8 rated player in NC

DJ (David) Reader 1B 6-5 335 R-R Grimsley Greensboro NC – #26 in NC. DT on the football team, will be on football scholly.

Matthew Reed C 6-2 185 R-R Woodgrove Purcellville VA - #25 player In VA.

Hits from an open stance, has quick hands, plus plus bat speed, good extension, ball jumps off bat, keeps hands inside ball, makes consistent solid contact, defensively, short arm action, strong arm with a quick release from both the OF and catching.

Garrett Lovorn RHP 6-3 205 R-R Pendleton Anderson SC -#24 rated player in SC

Standard leg raise delivery, 3/4's arm slot, throws downhill well, works quickly. Mid 80's fastball, topped out at 87 mph, have seen up to 89 mph this summer, cuts fastball frequently with good effect, cutter is a nice pitch. Good curveball spin and power, gets goot 11/5 depth, occasionaly change up. Simple swing mechanics, long and smooth swing, line drive swing plane with some late lift, ball comes off the barrel well.

Zack Erwin LHP 6-5 180 L-L Duluth Duluth GA - #57 player in GA.

Shane Kennedy 2B/SS transfer from North Florida CC.

Ben Boulware, the Linebacker from TL Hanna, has expressed interest as walking on as well to play with his brother Garrett. John Mulkey will join the team, as will Andrew Cox (OF). Also, Mike Triller (OF), Andrew Cleveland (C), along with Goodling and Trevor Kieboom will be coming off redshirts.

If LeCroy can repair the relationships with area coaches that have been severely damaged in this past decade, he could get our recruiting back on par with SC. Next year's class appears to be shaping up just as good, with Austin Meadows, Alex Bostic, Chris Okey, Reed Rohlman and Eli White all being well-rated The 2012 class above was ranked #14 by Perfect Game, but I caution that there is so much flux with the draft that the ranking is meaningless until August.

This class seems to be a big step in that direction, but I point out that all of this class will not make the team/roster. This fall is going to be a very important time to settle out the next roster. I would expect several to be told that we just don't have the spots or that we cannot help them financially (25% rule amongst roster players to my knowledge). Only 27 of the 35 roster players can be on scholarship, and there are only 11.7 scholarships in baseball. I'm certain that not all of these incoming players (excepting Boulware and Reader obviously) signed letters of intent that bind them to Clemson.

With CU constantly raising tuition (and a BOT meeting on the issue takes place this week), the scholarship rules in place really hurt Clemson when going for out-of-staters. All the more reason to stay in-state when their talent is high enough. I wish the NCAA would look at the numbers for baseball and raise the allowable count.

Outlook

While theres going to be some extra talent, we've got very few established hitters coming back. Frankly I don't think Jack can teach them how to play with good fundamentals and get us to the Supers in 2013. I think just on talent alone we win 30-35 again, but do not predict CU to make it to the Super Regional round.

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