30 games out of 56 will be against teams that played in the NCAAs last year.
Clemson AD Preview.
Mickey Plyler's preview can be found here.
Pete Iacobelli gives his season preview here.
Collegiate Writers has us at #26, Collegiate Newspaper has us at #26, and our incoming recruiting class for this year was ranked 9th overall.
Former player Michael Johnson (1B from 2000-2003) will be on the staff this year, primarily working with infielders and hitting. I was a student for all of his years, and he was a pretty good defensive 1B, and by the time he left was a great power hitter.
A Rivals (free) article previews the teams situation this year here. They have us rated at #20. #19 is the highest I've seen Clemson baseball ranked this preseason. Its the 21st consecutive year we have been ranked in a preseason poll. Polls in college baseball are pretty sketchy though, as I've followed it since the days of Koch and Benson. Teams that are ranked very high are not as dominant as anyone makes them out to be on the field. I recall when Clemson was ranked #1 when I was a student (and going to pretty much every game) that they were subpar on defense and the pitching was bad, but they outhit everybody (Khalil Greene was on those teams) so well that they usually won. This year, LSU is ranked #1 but essentially has to replace the whole starting rotation; they just finished very hot last season.
This weekend's series against Charlotte has been previewed by TI. All the games can be heard on WCCPFM.com. This series is not going to be a cakewalk, as Charlotte made the CWS last year (43-16 record), and their starting pitcher for game 1 is pretty damn good (8-2 4.39ERA). It appears that the current rotation will be Delk, Dwyer, Stoneburner, and Hinson. Dwyer is a true frosh who was selected by the Yankees in the 36th round last year, so if he struggles early then don't expect him to be a weekend starter from here on out, and it'll be Hinson's spot. Gullickson might also get a shot (4-2 4.64ERA) as a midweek guy to start out. Last year, the injuries and lack of good pitching doomed us to an 11-18 ACC record, but this year we've been ranked 2nd in the ACC Atlantic behind FSU to start out, and I think that one is going to turn out pretty accurate.
2009 Likely Starters
C Phil Pohl (Fr.), John Nester (So.) (Nester hit .256 in limited action)
1B Ben Paulsen (Jr.) .313 13HRs 49RBI (3rd Team AA this preseason)
2B Mike Freeman (Jr.) .333 1HR 19RBI
SS Stan Widmann (Grad.), Brad Miller (Fr.) (Widmann hit .238 last season, still recovering from a neck injury that cost him 2007)
3B Jason Stolz (Fr.), Brad Miller (Fr.)
OF Addison Johnson (So.) (missed all of last year due to injury, but started in 2007 and hit .286)
OF Jeff Schaus (So.) .315 3HR 31RBI
OF/DH Wilson Boyd (Jr.) .300 11HR, 44RBI
OF Kyle Parker (So.) .303 14HR, 50RBI (1st team Freshman AA)
SP Trey Delk (Sr.) (2-1 4.01 ERA)
SP Graham Stoneburner (So.) (6-5 5.55 ERA)
SP Ryan Hinson (Sr.) (3-5 4.74 ERA)
CP Matt Vaughn (Sr.) (11 SVs 3.15 ERA in 40IP)
From last years team, the biggest losses were Starter DJ Mitchell (6-5 3.47, and 3.47 is outstanding for college ball) and C Doug Hogan (.271, 11HR, 51 RBI). Hinson was drafted but decided to come back for his senior year after being drafted in the 31st Rd by the Pirates, and we need him to grab the ace status this year. Looking at the statistics, I see fewer SBs than in years past for Jack's teams, and we could hit a little better (lets face it, .300 is not awesome with an aluminum bat in your hands) overall and either Parker or Paulson needs to bump up the power numbers a little from the middle of the order, alot of last year's production can be attributed to injuries of course.
This is a sport where Clemson fans should always expect the best, and historically we've been justified in that. Last year was an aberration, and we'll get back over 40 wins again.