Chapel Hill Regional BreakdownPostseason
Most Exciting Player: Brian Miller, of, North Carolina. Dynamic speedster who can make highlight-reel catches in center field and push the action on the basepaths, giving him a real shot to be drafted toward the end of the first round.
Best Hitter: Logan Warmoth, ss, North Carolina. UNC’s leading hitter has a compact righthanded swing tailored to wear out the gaps, but he also has the strength to drive the ball out of the park.
Best Defensive Player: Michael Brdar, ss, Michigan. Warmoth is a standout, but Brdar has made just three errors all year; his hands are ultra-reliable and his his arm is strong and true. He gets the edge over Warmoth, teammate Ako Thomas and UNC catcher Cody Roberts, but really, take your pick out of that group.
Best Pitcher: J.B. Bukauskas, rhp, North Carolina. A potential top-10 overall pick with an electric fastball, a devastating slider and an improved changeup. He’s been good for three years, but he’s become a superstar as a junior.
X-Factor: Matt Reardon, 2b, Florida Gulf Coast. A knee injury has slowed Reardon in the second half, but he was able to DH some in the conference tournament, and when he’s healthy he can be a dynamic table-setter, as he showed by hitting .360 with a .464 OBP last year.
Best Starting Rotation: North Carolina. Bukauskas gives UNC a huge edge in this category, but freshmen Luca Dalatri and Tyler Baum are quality strike-throwers with polish and poise beyond their years.
Best Bullpen: Michigan. Jackson Lamb has been one of the nation’s most dominating closers this year, and Max Lozer headlines a deep supporting cast.
Best Offensive Team: North Carolina. The Tar Heels have a deep, balanced lineup with power, speed, bat-handling skills and a mix of lefties and righties.
Best Defensive Team: Michigan. The Wolverines rank third nationally in fielding percentage, and their middle infield is as good as it gets.
No. 1 Seed Win Probability (1-10): 7. This is the eighth time North Carolina has hosted a regional since 2006, and the eighth time it has avoided an SEC team in its regional — but this looks like one of the most challenging fields the Tar Heels have faced. FGCU and Michigan are both balanced clubs capable of upsetting the No. 2 national seed, and Davidson pushed UNC to extra innings in Chapel Hill on May 9, so the Tar Heels know they can’t take the Wildcats lightly. Still, UNC is a 47-win juggernaut that has managed to maintain a very high level of play from the start of the year right through the conference tournament. It’s hard to bet against the Tar Heels.
North Carolina (47-12, 23-7 in ACC)
After narrowly missing regionals in back-to-back years, the Tar Heels returned to national prominence with a vengeance this spring.
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