2019 Preseason Top 25 Preview: No. 14 Clemson
Last Year: 47-16 (22-8 ACC); reached regional final.
Final Ranking: No. 19.
Head Coach (record at school): Monte Lee (133-57, three years).
Top 100 Draft Prospects: SS Logan Davidson (No. 38).
The Good News: A starting rotation of sophomore righthander Spencer Strider, senior righthander Brooks Crawford and junior lefthander Jacob Hennessy has a very high ceiling. Strider’s freshman season was a bit up and down, but he has the raw stuff to be one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best Friday night starters. Crawford and Hennessy were both weekend starters a year ago. Neither were dominant, but both had sub-4.00 ERAs, threw a ton of quality innings and, most importantly, showed a propensity for pounding the strike zone relentlessly. The duo combined to walk just 32 batters in 152 innings.
The Bad News: Junior shortstop Logan Davidson lost a lot of his lineup protection with the departures of Seth Beer and Chris Williams, a pair of sluggers that combined to hit 40 home runs last season. Returners like first baseman Grayson Byrd, who hit nine home runs last year, and catcher Kyle Wilkie, who led the team with a .324 batting average last year, will be among those looking to help make up for some of that lost power production.
Player To Know: Logan Davidson, SS.
Davidson will now be the clear focal point of the Clemson offense. The Tigers likely won’t be an offense that sits around waiting for three-run home runs, but Davidson is a player that will still hit his fair share of three-run homers. On top of that, he’s also a solid defender at shortstop and a sneaky-good athlete, in general. That combination of talent makes him the straw that stirs Clemson’s drink and a potential first-round pick in June.
Path To Omaha: It’s important that Clemson finds an offensive identity early. With their offensive departures, it’s pretty clear that they aren’t going to be able to outslug teams like they have in the past. However, with speedsters projected all throughout the lineup, including sophomore outfielders Kier Meredith and Bryce Teodosio, as well as senior second baseman Jordan Greene, the Tigers have the personnel to be more of an action-oriented offense in 2019. If Clemson is able to get the production that their projected rotation suggests, and their offense proves adept at causing chaos on the base paths, this will be a team right back in the mix to break into the CWS.
Ten First-Rounders Are Left Available For Rule 5 Draft
This was the worst year for protecting first-round picks since the new draft rules were adopted in 2012.
|RF||Michael Green||So. (Transfer -- Florence-Darlington Tech (S.C.) JC)|
|RP||Luke Sommerfield||Sr. (Transfer -- Saint Louis)|