Clemson Regional BreakdownPostseason
3. St. John’s
Most Exciting Player: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson. One of the very early front-runners for the No. overall pick in the 2019 draft, Davidson has all the tools. He’s a switch-hitter with big raw power from both sides of the plate (he has twice homered from both sides in the same game this year, even doing it in the same inning in the ACC tournament), good speed (a team-best 10 stolen bases), and standout defense at a premium position.
Best Hitter: Seth Beer, OF, Clemson. Beer has simply been one of college baseball’s most fearsome sluggers since the day he set foot on campus (as an early enrollee in January of 2016). In his three-year career, he has 54 home runs (including a career-best 20 this year), a .327 career average and a .652 slugging percentage. And he controls the zone very well for a slugger, with 178 career walks compared with 93 strikeouts.
Best Defensive Player: Connor Kaiser, SS, Vanderbilt. One of the most sure-handed shortstops in the country over the last three years, Kaiser has made just one error as a junior this spring, for a .995 fielding percentage. His outstanding instincts, smooth actions, sure hands, good body control and accurate arm make him quite possibly the best shortstop in college baseball.
Best Pitcher: Sean Mooney, RHP, St. John’s. After going 8-1, 1.71 as a freshman All-American last year, Mooney has remained a rock atop the Red Storm rotation as a sophomore, going 11-2, 2.52 with 100 strikeouts and 25 walks in 89.1 innings. He’s an exceptionally mature, polished pitcher who gets lots of pop-outs with an 87-90 fastball up in the zone, keeping hitters off balance with an advanced changeup and slider.
X-Factor: Morehead State’s power. Clemson is one of college baseball’s most powerful teams, ranking second in the nation with 94 home runs — but Morehead State can hang with the Tigers if the wind is blowing out at Doug Kingsmore Stadium (a major variable — the park plays much different when the wind is blowing in). Morehead ranks fourth nationally with 83 long balls, led by Trevor Snyder (18) and Niko Hulsizer (12 homers in just 40 games).
Best Starting Rotation: St. John’s. Mooney, senior lefthander Kevin Magee (11-2, 2.52) and junior righty Michael LoPresti (4-3, 3.05) can be counted upon to go deep into games consistently, and all of them have quality stuff and advanced pitchability. They form the backbone of a staff that ranks fourth nationally in ERA.
Best Bullpen: Clemson. The St. John’s trio of Gavin Hollowell, Joe LaSorsa and Turner French is also very formidable, but we’ll give a slight nod to the bigger power arms of Ryan Miller (6-1, 2.40), Ryley Gilliam (0.99 ERA, 11 saves) and Spencer Strider (who is also a starting candidate). Lefty Mat Clark and righty Carson Spiers have been rock-solid complementary pieces. The Tigers use their bullpen early and often, building their staff from the back-forward.
Best Offensive Team: Morehead State. Clemson is explosive and red-hot, and the Tigers have faced much stronger competition in a less hitter-happy environment… but Morehead’s numbers are just too loud to ignore. The Eagles rank second in the nation in scoring and doubles, fourth in batting and home runs, third in slugging, sixth in OBP and 14th in walks. Clemson’s offense is built on the long ball and the walk, but the Tigers are still hitting just .261 as a team, while the Eagles are hitting .317. Their offense is just a bit more diverse.
Best Defensive Team: Vanderbilt. The Commodores are as fundamentally sound as any team in the nation, ranking third in the country with a .983 fielding percentage. They have dependable playmakers all over the diamond.
No. 1 Seed Win Probability (1-10): 5. Clemson has been a consistent winner all year, but it is playing its best baseball late, going 19-3 in its last 22 games. The Tigers are clearly the team to beat in this regional, but they drew a dangerous No. 4 seed in Morehead State, and a No. 3 in St. John’s that probably should have been a No. 2. The Johnnies and Commodores both played in this same regional a year ago (and Vandy won it), so those teams know what to expect at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. This won’t be a cake walk for the Tigers, even as good as they are.