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Baseball Preview: Infielders

As the Tigers get ready to start the 2017 season this Friday, we break down the infield.

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Virginia Tech Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A familiar face will be in a new spot for Clemson this year. 2016’s freshman phenom Seth Beer will take over the first base roll this season. Beer spent last season playing right field and DH, earning both the Dick Howser national player of the year award and the ACC player of the year award. Beer played first base in high school, so hopefully he should feel comfortable taking over the role. Beer finished last season hitting .369 with 18 homers and 70 RBIs. He will be backed up at first base by graduate student Andrew Cox, who will also play in the outfield for the Tigers.

There’s a bit of competition as for who will play 2nd base for the Tigers. Sophomore Jordan Greene will be competing for playing time at both 2nd base and in the outfield. Greene started 25 games last season at 3rd base for the Tigers, and will look to improve on his .842 fielding percentage from ‘16. Also competing for second base will be freshman Grant Cox and Sophomore Grayson Byrd. Byrd is a transfer from LSU and the son of former MLB player Paul Byrd. Grant Cox looks to compete for multiple infield spots.

Logan Davidson is projected to start for the Tigers at shortstop. The freshman out of Providence High School (Charlotte) was drafted in the 30th round by the Philadelphia Phillies, but chose to attend Clemson instead. Perfect Game rated Davidson as the best shortstop in North Carolina for this class. Davidson’s father, Mark, played baseball at Clemson and UNC Charlotte before having a 5 year professional career with the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros.

JuCo transfer Patrick Cromwell looks to get the start at 3rd base. Cromwell comes to Clemson from Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California. The California native hit .286 in 67 total games for the Dons, and hit .331 with 33 RBI’s in his sophomore season, earning second team all-Orange Empire Conference (yes, this is actually their conference. Not to be confused with the Lee Brice song) honors.

Freshmen Brock Howard and Carson Spiers could also see some time in the infield. Spiers is the son of former Tiger Michael Spiers and the nephew of Tiger football and baseball great Bill Spiers.

The Tigers have a lot youth in the infield, which could be a good or bad thing. Fielding was an achilles heel for Clemson last season as the Tigers were tied with Pitt for last in the ACC in fielding percentage with .960, and led the ACC in errors with 99, which was 20 more than Pitt, who had the second most errors. With a lot of changes in the infield, it could mean an improved infield for Clemson, however the young players will have to grow up quickly and not let errors continue to be an issue for the Tigers. It looks as thought none of the infield positions have been locked down by anyone, meaning that we could see a lot of lineup changes if the errors continue to persist.