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We’ve finally made it to the ACC, the last remaining division one baseball conference to get the draft “preview” treatment. Below you’ll find my “preseason” all-prospect teams for the conference as well as links (with brief commentary where applicable) to team previews for eleven of the fourteen teams in the ACC. I’d like to do quick write-ups for the three remaining teams (Louisville, North Carolina, Wake Forest) in the coming days (perhaps all at once in a post for tomorrow) because I’m a completist by nature.
Keep in mind that the preseason teams you see below were more or less decided on coming into the season. I made a few minor tweaks, especially on the pitching side (mostly the second team). The one glaring oddity on this list is John LaPrise hanging on to a first team spot despite missing almost the entire season so far, but there weren’t any alternatives that jumped off the page (senior sign Logan Ratledge makes the strongest case) so I let it stand. The outfield was an unexpected mess to figure out outside of the top four names. Talk about a top heavy position. I didn’t rank the pitchers yet within each team, so don’t take the Matuella, Kirby, and Funkhouser 1-2-3 as where I currently see them falling. I need to think on that a bit more.
North Carolina JR C Korey Dunbar
Boston College JR 1B Chris Shaw
Virginia JR 2B John LaPrise
Clemson JR SS Tyler Krieger
Miami JR 3B David Thompson
Florida State JR OF DJ Stewart
North Carolina JR OF Skye Bolt
Virginia JR OF Joe McCarthy
Duke JR RHP Michael Matuella
Virginia JR LHP Nathan Kirby
Louisville JR RHP Kyle Funkhouser
Miami rJR LHP Andrew Suarez
Clemson JR LHP Matthew Crownover
Miami SR C Garrett Kennedy
Florida State rSR 1B Chris Marconcini
North Carolina State SR 2B Logan Ratledge
Virginia SO SS Daniel Pinero
Miami JR 3B George Iskenderian
Clemson JR OF Steven Duggar
Georgia Tech rJR OF Dan Spingola
North Carolina State SR OF Jake Fincher
Clemson JR LHP Zack Erwin
Virginia JR RHP Josh Sborz
North Carolina SR RHP Benton Moss
Duke JR RHP/SS Kenny Koplove
North Carolina State rSO RHP Johnny Piedmonte
Includes comparing Chris Shaw to Ike Davis and Carlos Pena…
Does not include me comparing Matthew Crownover to Adam Morgan, so let me do that right here, right now. As somebody still holding out hope that Morgan can be a league average-ish big league starter, that’s a compliment.
Includes me comparing Michael Matuella tp Zack Wheeler and Kyle Gibson (and definitely NOT Roy Halladay…)
Includes comparing DJ Stewart to Matt Stairs, Billy Butler, Jeremy Giambi, and Carlos Santana…
Really nice college team, but nobody that moves the needle much for me as a pro prospect at the moment…
Includes some thoughts on their top bat (with apologies to SR C Garrett Kennedy, a guy I considered a sleeper last year who disappointed but has come back with a vengeance as an unstoppable force in the Hurricanes lineup and is now one of this class’s finest potential senior signs) and their top arm, both of which I’ve excerpted below to save you the trouble of clicking through…
Through all the ups and downs physically, his [David Thompson] upside on the diamond remains fully intact from his HS days — I had him ranked as the 56th best overall prospect back then — and a big draft season is very much in play if he can stay healthy throughout the year. The bat will play at the next level (above-average raw power, plenty of bat speed, physically strong, plus athleticism, knows how to use the whole field), so the biggest unknown going into this season is where he’ll eventually call home on the defensive side. I’ve liked his chances to stick at third since his prep days; failing that, I’d prioritize a home in the outfield (he’s not known for his speed, but the athleticism and arm strength should make him at least average in a corner) over going to first, where, overall loss of defensive value aside, at least he’s shown significant upside. His strong showing at the end of the summer on the Cape is an encouraging way to get back into the grind of college ball, though he did appear to sacrifice some patience at the plate for power down the stretch. If he can find a way to marry his two existences — college (approach: 35 BB/45 K in his career) and Cape (power) — in this upcoming season (like in his healthy freshman season), Thompson should find himself off the board early this June.
JR LHP Andrew Suarez has the raw stuff to find himself selected once again in the top two rounds this June, but the peripherals leave something to be desired after two seasons (6.33 K/9 in 2013, 7.16 K/9 in 2014). Still, he’s a rapidly improving arm (especially his changeup) who throws a pair of quality breaking balls and can hit 94/95 from the left side. His control has also been really good and he’s been a workhorse for the Hurricanes after labrum surgery (believed to be as minor as a shoulder surgery can get, for what it’s worth) two years ago. He’s a reasonable ceiling (mid-rotation starting pitcher) prospect with a high floor (if healthy, he’s at least a quick-moving reliever). It’s a profile that’s really easy to like, but fairly difficult to love.
Includes an homage to Rick Pitino, which I stand by but admit could be a little harsh looking back on things. SR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge and rSO RHP Johnny Piedmonte aren’t Trea Turner and Carlos Rodon, but they aren’t half-bad, either.
Waiting on next year for 2B/3B Cavan Biggio…
(Also, a good college team like Georgia Tech. Not loaded with 2015 talent, but getting the job done all the same. That’s worth mentioning even as a cold-hearted fan of the pro game only…)
Waiting on next year for RHP TJ Zeuch…
(Not a very good college team like GT and ND, but not every team can be a winning team, right?)
I’m a little bit back and forth with LHP Nathan Kirby yet, though I think the recent overreaction to his below-average (for him) velocity and all-around stuff that can (maybe) be explained away (to a point) due to his recently diagnosed strained lat was a bit much. I still view him as a high-floor, TBD ceiling prospect worthy of the top half of the first round conversation.
rSO OF Saige Jenco’s year hasn’t gone quite the way I was hoping, but SR 2B/SS Alex Perez, SR 1B/RHP Brendon Hayden, and SR LHP/1B Sean Keselica have all done their part to pick up the slack.
I thought this would be a fun way of finishing off each week and organizing the walls of text I keep throwing up from Monday to Thursday. This list is not nearly as comprehensive as the follow lists I’ve made in previous years nor is it as long as the list I keep internally, but I’m trying to be a little be more selective about whom we’re calling “prospects” in order to keep things a bit tidier around here. That leaves a few borderline draftable talents out for now, but I’ll be more inclusive on future lists as we get closer to June. You might think it would make more sense to do it the other way. My response to that is…yeah, you’re probably right. I might expand it in the next edition, at least with the position players.
Boston College, Clemson, Duke, and Florida State are the only schools with players listed at this time. Four more teams will be added each Friday for as long as we can keep up this pace. Next four teams are Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, and North Carolina State. It would be North Carolina, but they are the last remaining holdout in the ACC who have yet to post their 2014/2015 roster. Happens every year with them. Not cool.
- Duke rSR C Mike Rosenfeld: 5-10, 185 pounds (2012: .329/.403/.476 – 16 BB/48 K – 170 AB – 7/8 SB) (2013: .377/.451/.525 – 8 BB/9 K – 2/3 SB – 61 AB) (2014: .268/.396/.335 – 32 BB/42 K – 7 – 11/SB – 194 AB)
- Boston College JR 1B/OF Chris Shaw: 6-4, 250 pounds (2013: .183/.286/.323 – 18 BB/32 K – 0/0 SB – 164 AB) (2014: .329/.393/.502 – 21 BB/38 K – 1/3 SB – 207 AB)
- Florida State rSR 1B Chris Marconcini: 6-5, 230 pounds (2011: .301/.404/.490 – 24 BB/38 K – 206 AB) (2013: .316/.409/.579 – 28 BB/39 K – 8/10 SB – 190 AB) (2014: .252/.341/.435 – 28 BB/38 K – 7/9 SB – 230 AB)
- Clemson JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger: 6-1, 170 pounds (2013: .266/.360/.321 – 29 BB/29 K – 9/15 SB – 218 AB) (2014: .338/.410/.447 – 25 BB/24 K – 19/24 SB – 219 AB)
- Florida State JR OF DJ Stewart: 6-0, 230 pounds (2013: .360/.469/.551 – 40 BB/38 K – 8/12 SB – 225 AB) (2014: .351/.472/.557 – 40 BB/30 K – 4/5 SB – 194 AB)
- Clemson JR OF Steven Duggar: 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .308/.368/.392 – 24 BB/39 K – 16/23 SB – 250 AB) (2014: .294/.368/.378 – 27 BB/51 K – 25/28 SB – 238 AB)
- Clemson SR OF Tyler Slaton: 5-7, 200 pounds (2012: .208/.377/.226 – 13 BB/16 K – 6/6 SB – 53 AB) (2013: .269/.375/.306 – 24 BB/32 K – 6/9 SB – 160 AB) (2014: .274/.391/.373 – 42 BB/34 K – 11/17 SB – 241 AB)
- Duke JR RHP Michael Matuella: 6-6, 220 pounds (2013: 4.53 K/9 | 2.03 BB/9 | 3.95 FIP | 57.2 IP) (2014: 69 K/15 BB – 58.1 IP – 2.78 ERA)
- Clemson JR LHP Matthew Crownover: 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: 6.04 K/9 | 2.06 BB/9 | 4.55 FIP | 70 IP) (2014: 2.90 ERA – 90 K/20 BB – 99.1 IP)
- Clemson JR RHP Clate Schmidt: 6-2, 180 pounds (2013: 4.20 K/9 | 4.04 BB/9 | 4.66 FIP | 55.2 IP) (2014: 3.68 ERA – 53 K/28 K – 66 IP)
- Florida State JR LHP Alex Diese: 6-3, 200 pounds
- Duke JR RHP Kenny Koplove: 6-2, 170 pounds (2013: .314/.341/.379 – 7 BB/24 K – 2/3 SB – 153 AB) (2014: .191/.243/.224 – 14 BB/41 K – 2/2 SB – 183 AB)
- Clemson JR LHP Zack Erwin: 6-5, 200 pounds (2013: 5.10 K/9 | 2.85 BB/9 | 4.39 FIP | 60 IP) (2014: 4.21 ERA – 62 K/28 BB – 72.2 IP)
- Clemson rSO RHP Wales Toney: 6-2, 210 pounds
- Florida State JR RHP/OF Jameis Winston: 6-4, 220 pounds (2013: .227/.374/.336 – 23 BB/32 K – 2/4 SB – 119 AB) (2013: 7.33 K/9 | 3.67 BB/9 | 3.66 FIP | 27 IP) (2014: 31 K/7 BB – 33.1 IP – 1.08 ERA)
- Duke SR RHP Andrew Istler: 5-11, 180 pounds (2012: 6.23 K/9 | 1.56 BB/9 | 3.44 FIP | 52 IP) (2013: 8.20 K/9 | 2.89 BB/9 | 3.52 FIP | 37.1 IP) (2014: 59 K/24 BB – 76 IP – 2.84 ERA)
- Duke rSO RHP James Marvel: 6-3, 200 pounds (2013: 4.93 K/9 | 3.21 BB/9 | 4.23 FIP | 42 IP) (2014: 16 K/8 BB – 25.1 IP – 1.78 ERA)
- Florida State SR LHP Bryant Holtmann: 6-5, 200 pounds (2012: 6.39 K/9 | 2.84 BB/9 | 3.88 FIP | 25.1 IP) (2013: 6.00 K/9 | 4.50 BB/9 | 4.20 FIP | 36 IP) (2014: 29 K/12 BB – 36.2 IP – 3.68 ERA)
- Clemson rJR RHP Patrick Andrews: 6-4, 225 pounds (2012: 8.28 K/9 | 4.30 BB/9 | 3.70 FIP | 29.1 IP) (2013: 6.21 K/9 | 2.39 BB/9 | 3.87 FIP | 37.2 IP)
- Florida State rJR RHP Mike Compton: 6-2, 200 pounds (2012: 6.73 K/9 | 2.57 BB/9 | 4.36 FIP | 91 IP) (2014: 50 K/19 BB – 83.2 IP – 3.23 ERA)
Hey, all. It’s that time of year. We’re doing team-by-team college prospect previews for as long as I have the sanity to keep rolling ‘em out. Feel free to request a team/conference and I’ll put it at the top of the list. Also, as always, don’t hesitate to tell me how wrong I am in the comments or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)…
JR LHP Matthew Crownover (2015)
JR LHP Zack Erwin (2015)
JR RHP Clate Schmidt (2015)
rSO RHP Wales Toney (2015
rJR RHP Patrick Andrews (2015)
rSR RHP Kevin Pohle (2015)
rSR RHP Jake Long (2015)
JR RHP Brady Koerner (2015)
rSR RHP Clay Bates (2015)
rSO RHP Garrett Lovorn (2015)
JR OF Steven Duggar (2015)
SR OF Tyler Slaton (2015)
rSO OF Maleeke Gibson (2015)
JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger (2015)
SO C Chris Okey (2016)
SO LHP Pat Krall (2016)
SO 3B/SS Weston Wilson (2016)
SO SS/2B Eli White (2016)
SO LHP Alex Bostic (2016)
SO RHP Drew Moyer (2016)
rFR 3B Glenn Batson (2016)
rFR OF Reed Rohlman (2016)
FR OF KJ Bryant (2017)
FR LHP Charlie Barnes (2017)
FR OF Drew Wharton (2017)
I like this Clemson team on paper. The pitching looks really promising with up to eight draft-eligible pitchers hitting the low-90s by my last count (I’m sure there are more, but I’m only one man here). Injuries to some of the most talented arms make it tough to truly pick a favorite, but I think it comes down to going with one of the quartet of JR LHP Matthew Crownover, JR LHP Zack Erwin, JR RHP Clate Schmidt, or rSO RHP Wales Toney. The first three names all made significant strides between the 2013 season and last year. Crownover is the most polished (three pitch mix highlighted by my favorite pitch, a good CU) and has the best control, Erwin has the deepest repertoire, good deception, and imposing size (6-5, 200), and Schmidt is the best athlete with the hottest heat (lives in the 90s, peaks at 96). As a draft eligible arm with no real college track record to speak of, the big-armed Toney (95 peak) is the mystery man of the group. All four are definite draft picks in my mind and potentially high ones at that.
The next tier of Clemson pitching is still quite solid. There’s not a lot to go on results-wise (at least of late) when it comes to evaluating rJR RHP Patrick Andrews, rSR RHP Kevin Pohle, and JR RHP Brady Koerner, but all fit the the mid- to late-round middle relief profile at the next level. Andrews and Pohle in particular have that FB/SL combination that pro teams seem to like, but may not miss enough bats to get serious draft consideration barring big 2015 seasons.
JR OF Steven Duggar is as tooled up as just about any college player in the country. His speed, arm, and athleticism all rate with anybody else in the class. Even if the approach (27 BB/51 K last season) never catches up to where you want it, those tools will all play in the big leagues. He’s a ready to roll from day one center field prospect as speed, arm, and defense can take you very far with an up-the-middle profile. He could move from good to great prospect by either showing an improved approach or showing more consistent power. I’m not sure what adjustments it’ll take to help him unlock his considerable raw power in game situations, but if that happens to click, watch out.
Duggar could be flanked in the outfield with a pair of potential 2015 draftees to either side. SR OF Tyler Slaton is a classic undersized senior sign grinder who can run, defend, and battle through at bats enough to get a look. rSO OF Maleeke Gibson has yet to do much on the big stage, but he’s a plus runner with the chance to open some eyes if the stars align. An argument can be made that Duggar, awesome as his tools may be, is not the best 2015 draft prospect in the Clemson lineup. That title could fall to JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger, a big personal favorite. In light of Kyle Seager’s recent massive extension, I think we’re all trying to find “the next Kyle Seager.” I won’t say it’s Krieger, but there are some scouting similarities between the two. I like Krieger for his above-average to plus speed (plays up, too), simple direct swing path, and steady glovework. I’d like to see a little more consistency with his throws this year and a little more pop wouldn’t hurt (that’s the one clear area college Seager has him beat), but Krieger is a rock solid prospect as is. Clemson’s last two recruiting classes have injected even more talent into the program with SO C Chris Okey, SO 3B/SS Weston Wilson, and SO RHP Drew Moyer all showing early signs of promise. I’m also intrigued by SO LHP Alex Bostic, FR OF KJ Bryant, and FR LHP Charlie Barnes. Of both future draft classes, Okey stands out as the biggest potential star but don’t sleep on Wilson or Bostic breaking through this year.