Clemson's young staff is led by junior Scott Weismann - taking over for Casey Harman as Friday starter (Per Anderson Independent Mail).
Today, we pick the divisions where there’s the usual top two in the Atlantic and a bit of parity in the Coastal…
- Clemson – Top lineup in the conference and a stable of talented (but several unproven) pitchers that could very complement the bats pretty well.
- Florida State – The ‘Noles have an underrated lineup with anchors Mike McGee and Sherman Johnson. With FSU, all eyes are on the pitching staff as they will determine if they are winning the Atlantic.
- NC State - They’re a definite sleeper in this division with a no. of big bats returning and a staff filled with experience.
- Wake Forest – Picked last in the ACC coaches poll, but, for better or worse, they return all their starters and key position players that could put them a peg ahead of their fifth place finish last year.
- Boston College - BC is always underrated, no matter the sport, in the ACC, but it looks like the Eagles are set for another struggling season with their ace gone and not many guys that catch your eye in the lineup.
- Maryland – Maryland and Wake Forest seem to be the programs stuck in reverse in the ACC. The Terps will try to get out of the cellar with four returning starters to the lineup.
- Virginia - Ace of the staff is back in Hultzen, but the MLB Draft lifted a top starter, reliever and left some holes in the lineup. Still like this ‘Hoos squad and think they are the clear favorite in this division.
- North Carolina – After Virginia, it’s anyone’s game – UNC returns its top bat and get back to the NCAA Tournament after falling just short last year.
- Georgia Tech – The strength of this Jackets team: pitching? Yep – the lineup was just ravaged by the draft, but they have enough to get by.
- Miami – Pitching, pitching, pitching…the ‘Canes have 10 starts combined coming back – the bats will have to carry them this year.
- Duke -After being a bubble team in ‘09, the Blue Devils took a step back in ACC play last year – with some starting pitching back, Blue Devils could make a little noise.
- Virginia Tech – Enjoy that run last year, Hokies? Good – this year probably won’t work quite as well with the top starters and hitters gone too.
Picking a champion, ranking the ACC overall, NCAA Tourney and CWS projections in our next ACC baseball preview!
The Clemson-FSU series, once again, comes at the end of the season where it could determine the Atlantic.
We’re getting closer to opening day in college baseball and here are the players to watch and series to see…our divisional predictions coming up!
NCBWA All-American Team (2010 stats)
1st team – FSU’s Mike Mcgee, utility – .328 BA/17 HRs/73 RBIs.
Virginia’s Danny Hultzen, pitcher – 11-1/2.78 ERA/122 Ks.
2nd team – Clemson’s Jeff Schaus, OF – .320 BA/15 HRs/87 RBIs.
Louisville Slugger All-American Team (2010 stats)
1st team – Virginia’s Hultzen, pitcher
FSU’s Mike McGee, utility
3rd team – GT’s Mark Pope, pitcher – 8-1/3.78 ERA/73 Ks.
GT’s Jed Bradley, pitcher – 9-5/4.83 ERA/99 Ks.
Miami’s Harold Martinez, 3B – .295 BA/21 HRs/69 RBIs.
Clemson’s John Hinson, 3B – .351 BA/17 HRs/75 RBIs.
GT’s Matt Skole, 3B – .335 BA/20 HRs/63 RBIs.
Clemson’s Brad Miller, SS – .357 BA/8 HRs/ 49 RBIs.
UNC’s Levi Michael, SS – .346 BA/9 HRs/54 RBIs.
Series to Watch
2/18-2/20: Maryland at Texas – Not saying it’s going to end well, but it’s an interesting series for the Terps.
2/19: UNC vs. Cal-State Fullerton and Southern Cal (doubleheader at USC Tournament) – Should be a fun way to start the season out West with two traditional powers.
2/19: Virginia at Auburn (Auburn Tournament) – Two strong teams from ‘10 meet down in Bama.
2/20: Virginia Tech-Coastal Carolina (Caravelle Resort Tournament) – We get our first look at the Hokies against a strong team in ‘11.
3/4-3/6: Clemson-South Carolina (One game played at each home site, one at neutral site) – The annual grudge match, and this season, the Tigers try to shake the memory of being knocked out of the CWS by two-straight losses to their rival with a series win here.
3/4-3/6: Miami at Florida – Rematch of an entertaining Super Regional from last year that didn’t quite go Miami’s way.
3/11-3/13: Virginia at Clemson – Here’s a fun cross-divisional matchup between programs that have been high in the rankings of late.
3/18-3/20: Florida State at Virginia – Interesting series in ‘10…we’ll see what FSU brings to Charlottesville this year.
3/25-3/27: Georgia Tech at Miami – Big Coastal clash for the ‘Canes to get a leg up in the division.
4/1-4/3: Virginia at Virginia Tech – The Hokies took the series last year…Virginia looking for revenge on the Hokies’ home field.
4/15-4/17: UNC at NC State – Another rivalry matchup that could have implications for each divisional race.
4/29-5/1: Georgia Tech at Clemson – This one’s always fun because Jack Leggett isn’t a fan of Jackets’ fans…and they don’t like him either.
5/19-5/21: Clemson at Florida State – This series produced an Atlantic Division champion in ‘10…good chance we see a repeat this year.
5/19-5/21: Virginia at UNC – The ‘Hoos and Heels always seem to turn it on in May and this could be for the division.
(Editor’s note: You’ll notice no BC in the mix – yeah, they don’t have a schedule on their website…3 weeks before the season is starting)
Any more players to add to the All-American list? Other games you are looking forward too? Talk up college baseball in the comments…
Leggett's Tigers were the last ACC team standing last year and are top 5 preseason in 2011. (Per Anderson Independent Mail)
And now we come to the big sport that the ACC is actually good at.
Coming off a season with two teams in the CWS and eight teams in the NCAA Tourney, the conference, even after graduation and MLB Draft, is getting high marks into the 2011.
Collegiate Baseball named six ACC teams to their top 40 poll (my analysis included):
|Rank School (’10 Final Record)
|1. Texas Christian (54-14)
|2. Florida (47-17)
|3. UCLA (51-17)
|4. Clemson (45-25) – Semi-instant reaction: Don’t quite see top 5 with Friday pitcher Casey Harman gone to MLB and key lineup stalwarts Kyle Parker and Mike Freeman there with him. They do return the majority of their lineup and have good young pitching – they will be good.
|5. Vanderbilt (46-20)
|6. Oklahoma (50-18)
|7. Texas (50-13)
|8. Texas A&M (43-21-1)
|9. Oregon (40-24)
|10. Stanford (31-25)
|11. Arizona St. (52-10)
|12. Cal. St. Fullerton (46-18)
|13. Florida St. (48-20) – Semi-instant reaction: Hard to think FSU will be this far behind Clemson, but then again, they did lose some key players in the lineup, and how reliable is their rotation that was so spotty last year?
|14. South Carolina (54-16)
|15. Louisiana St. (41-22)
|16. Connecticut (48-16)
|17. Virginia (51-14) – Semi-instant reaction: The ‘Hoos took hits in the lineup and the rotation, but overall, they seem a bit underrated to me with Danny Hultzen back to lead them.
|18. Miami, Fla. (43-20) – Semi-instant reaction: Man, it seems like Grandal was with Miami forever, he’s gone and so are the mainstays in the ‘Canes rotation. This is probably a bit optimistic.
|19. Georgia Tech. (47-15) – Semi-instant reaction: Jackets lose 6 players who played at least 60 games in the lineup – leaving only 2 to return + ace Deck McGuire is gone too…safe to say, Collegiate Baseball is reaching here.
|20. Louisville (50-14)
|21. Rice (40-23)
|22. Arizona (34-24)
|23. Wichita St. (41-19)
|24. Coastal Carolina (55-10)
|25. Auburn (43-21)
|26. St. John’s (43-20)
|27. North Carolina (38-32) – Semi-instant reaction: UNC was right on the edge of making the NCAAs with a losing conference record – they return a decent amount and could very well finish higher than this.
|28. San Diego (37-22)
|29. Fresno St. (38-25)
|30. Pittsburgh (38-18)
|31. Washington St. (37-22)
|32. Arkansas (43-21)
|33. California (29-25)
|34. U.C. Irvine (39-21)
|35. College of Charleston (44-19)
|36. Florida Atlantic (37-24)
|37. Kansas St. (37-22)
|38. Hawaii (35-28)
|39. Baylor (36-24)
|40. Kent St. (39-25)
|Other Teams Receiving Votes: Florida International, U.C. Riverside, N.C. State, Oregon St., Mississippi, Kentucky, Southern California, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi St., Oklahoma St., Missouri, South Florida, Nebraska, Cal Poly, Long Beach St., U.C. Santa Barbara, Florida Gulf Coast, Liberty, Minnesota, Michigan, James Madison, Southern Mississippi, East Carolina, Central Florida, Central Michigan, Bethune-Cookman, Illinois St., San Diego St., Tennessee Tech., The Citadel, Texas St., Northwestern St., Oral Roberts, Louisiana Lafayette, Western Kentucky, Lamar, Portland, Pepperdine, Gonzaga, Nevada, New Mexico St., San Jose St., Charlotte, Mercer, East Tennessee St., Jacksonville, Georgia St., Tulane, Utah Valley, New Mexico, Stony Brook, Iowa, Wisc.-Milwaukee, Canisius, Bryant, Jacksonville St., Dallas Baptist, Le Moyne.
But wait, there’s more! Found this poll off the Miami site (which is awesome because they have a PDF with their returning players + stats along with who they lost – kudos to the ‘Canes!).
College Baseball Lineup Top 30
6. Clemson – Their blurb: Parker back on campus but as QB not OF. Hinson/Schaus deep threats every time @ plate. Most of good but not great staff returns 4 CWS run.
9. Florida State – Their blurb: Noles lost top player Holt yet Tallahassee talent abounds. Most of lineup returns as does most of rotation. 21st time a charm 4 FSU in CWS?
20. Virginia – Their blurb: Cavs set program record w/ 51 wins in ‘10, but many lost 2 pro ranks. Top talent remains w Hultzen n others but reinforcements r requirement
24. Miami - Their blurb: Canes have no returning SP & lost slugger Grandal. Theres always talent @ the U, but development never certain. Speed & power r positves.
29. Georgia Tech – Their blurb: Tech batters were 2nd in nation in HRs last yr but almost all gone in ‘11 except Skole. Starting pitching could be team’s focal point.
Thoughts on the ACC contenders? We’ll have more ACC baseball countdown goodness coming up with our picks for the divisions, players to watch, and games to see…