This year’s Tiger infield featured veterans that stepped up to lead and some youngsters that showed some promise. The future looks bright for the Clemson infield, but there will be some major holes to fill in 2019.
Chris Williams, 1B:
The Senior from California maintained his position as the Tigers‘ second “Bash Brother”, along with Seth Beer. The powerhitting first baseman was second on the team in homers to Beer with eighteen, and led not only the team but also the ACC in RBIs with seventy two.
Williams was the Tigers’ catcher to begin 2017, before an injury forced him out of that position. Kyle Wilkie’s performance at catcher in 2018 allowed Williams to stay at first all season long. Williams started all sixty three games for Clemson. Chris was selected in the eighth round by the Minnesota Twins. It will be interesting to follow his career and see if he reverts to catcher or stays at first.
Jordan Greene, 2B/INF:
Was there a better story on the team this year than Jordan Greene? Throughout Greene’s career he really wasn’t known for offense, but around mid season he emerged as a serious threat. Greene entered the season with one home run, but proceeded to hit six in 2018, including one that may have been the moment of the year, his walk off homer to clinch the series against FSU.
Chills. Absolute chills watching that. Green also emerged as a fan favorite with his upbeat attitude and fun slogans written on his sleeve. Going into his senior year, he should be one of the leaders on the 2019 squad. One knock on Green was that he committed seven errors in 2018, one up from his six in 2017. If Greene can get a bit more sure handed, he could have a huge senior season.
Grayson Byrd, INF
The son of former MLB star Paul Byrd had another great year before being slowed down by a hamstring injury toward the end of the year. Despite being limited in the field going into the ACC tournament, Byrd was still able to make an impact with his bat in a pinch hitter and DH role. The Tigers will need Byrd both offensively and defensively next year. Byrd was fourth on the team in homers with nine, and could move into the third base slot with the graduation of Patrick Cromwell.
Logan Davidson, SS
Davidson had himself a year and will be entering 2019 as one of the top junior prospects in the conference. The switch hitter made history this season when he not only became the first Tiger to hit a homerun from each side of the plate during the same game during Clemson’s 16-6 win over Pitt on May 17, but then became the first Clemson player to hit a homer from each side of the plate in the same inning during Clemson’s epic seventeen run fourth inning in the 21-4 win over Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament.
With the departure of Beer and Williams, expect Davidson to be a middle of the order hitter in Monte Lee’s retooled lineup.
Pat Cromwell, 3B
The other California corner infielder for the Tigers had himself a nice final year. Cromwell started 53 games this season and was fifth on the team in hits with 45. Cromwell hit .224 on the year with seven homers, but his value was the intangibles he brought to the program. He was a guy that seemed to lighten the mood in the dugout and usually had a grin on his face. He was well liked by both his teammates and fans, and is genuinely one of those guys that makes following a baseball team fun. He also helped the team by being able to play first, making a few starts there while allowing Williams to DH. Unfortunately , Cromwell went undrafted, so we will see if he gets a tryout with a club or what. But regardless of his future, Tiger fans will certainly miss seeing the “Chancellor” in the Doug
The Chancellor strikes again. Patrick Cromwell (I'm calling him The Chancellor) rips a 2-run single to right, and it's 6-0 @ClemsonBaseball. Cromwell is 3-for-3 with a homer and 3 RBIs. Doubles by Hawkins and Davidson got this rally going. pic.twitter.com/HQMNqE8gWS— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) March 4, 2018
Justin Hawkins, INF/DH
Hawkins made fifteen starts this season, with the bulk of those being at DH. In his first year in the program, the RS Junior transfer from USC Sumter hit for a .200 average in fourty at bats with eight RBI’s and two home runs. Where Hawkins falls in the lineup will be determined with how everything shakes out with the players that are departing, but Hawkins could be a solid option for Clemson in either an infielder or DH role. Given his build, it is very possible that he could be in the running for the firstbase slot.
For 2019, Clemson will have the benefit of keeping the middle of the infield in Jordan Greene and Logan Davidson, which will be huge. Clemson will probably also have an experienced third baseman in Byrd, who had 42 starts at the position in 2017. The big question in the off-season will be who takes over Chris Williams’s spot at first base. Matt Cooper saw limited action in his freshman year, but looks like he could be a good fit. Regardless of who takes that spot, they will certainly have some big shoes to feel.