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College  | Story  | 3/21/2018

Quick Take: Clemson

Patrick Ebert     
Photo: Brian Hennessy



Perfect Game College Player Database

During the season Perfect Game scouts will be traveling to some of the top series to watch the very best players in college baseball. Those observations, captured with both written notes and video, will be shared in the College Player Database as linked above, notes that can also be accessed on the players' individual PG profile pages. Throughout the season select reports will be shared in feature format to promote the players, the teams and college baseball as a whole.


Clemson Tigers

What Happened: For the first time ever NC State swept Clemson at home, and really only the third and final game was close. The Tigers were shut out in the first game and then shut down in the second game, collecting only five base hits in the third and final game that wasn't decided until the eighth inning.

Carrying Tool: Clemson's offense, although shut down for the most part in this series, is not only the strength of the team but is also one of the stronger units in all of college baseball this season. Switch hitter Logan Davidson provides a spark at the top of the lineup while sluggers Seth Beer and Chris Williams give the middle of the lineup a dangerous left/right duo for opposing teams to contend with. Grayson Byrd has formed a nice tandem up the middle of the defense while the emergence of senior Patrick Cromwell has been significant.

Concerns: While the Tigers' weekend starting trio of Jacob Hennessy, Brooks Crawford and Jake Higginbotham had been a productive one leading up to this series, the depth of the pitching staff is a little concerning. They have three power arms in the bullpen to turn to in Ryan Miller, Ryley Gilliam and freshman Spencer Strider, but even Miller, who had been nearly untouched going into the weekend, gave up some hard contact and took the loss in Clemson's third and final game. Carson Spiers and Mat Clark can both give the team innings, but this likely will be a work in progress all season long as the lack of a true go-to bullpen ace could ultimately determine the fate of the 2018 Tigers.

Best Player on the Field: Beer gets pitched to differently than any other player in college baseball and has the patience to take his walks and continue to wait for good pitches to drive. His presence is obvious in the middle of the Tigers lineup and a hush takes over the crowd when he takes to the batter's box, both in games and during batting practice with a throng of scouts looking on.

Fearless Forecast: Despite the bad weekend Clemson's pitching staff still has a cumulative 3.02 ERA, and they faced, and beat, some tough programs already in Dallas Baptist, South Carolina and Georgia Tech. They will go as far as their pitching will carry them, which will undoubtedly include an appearance in Regional play but it's difficult to forecast anything past that at this juncture.


Database Player Reports (8):

Seth Beer
Brooks Crawford
Logan Davidson
Jake Higginbotham
Ryan Miller
Spencer Strider
Kyle Wilkie
Chris Williams
 

Prospect Spotlight: Seth Beer, OF/1B



Arguably the most enigmatic draft-eligible prospect, Beer hasn’t quite come close to matching his sensational freshmen season, but to be fair he set the bar pretty high to begin his college career. A very disciplined approach is what sets him apart, and his reputation definitely precedes him as he’s good enough of a hitter not to be lulled by the steady diet of soft stuff he receives down and away.

Opposing teams essentially pitch to him similar to how pitchers threw to Barry Bonds at the peak of his career. Beer doesn’t get much to hit due to his ability to drive the ball with impressive force. This shows up in batting practice and harkens back to his days in high school as he puts an incredible amount of loft on the ball and his natural strength and uppercut lefthanded swing creates impressive power. He has quick hands and strong forearms giving him the ability to catch up with premium stuff as rarely can a pitcher get a way with trying to sneak a fastball by him.

Teams have had some success busting him inside with fastballs, but again, their command has to be strong to do this consistently without getting burned. His approach leads to a high number of walks and he manages to keep his strikeouts down as well, although there is an element of swing-and-miss to his game. He has more home runs than doubles during his college career since when he does connect and hits the ball in the air it’s more likely to leave the yard than find an alley.

In his three-game series against NC State, Beer went 1-for-9 with a bloop single to the outfield, but he also drew three walks. He played right field in all three games and wasn’t really challenged out there to get a sense for his foot speed, range or throwing arm, but that is another part of his game that has come in question since most seem to think he’ll be restricted to either left field or first base at the next level. At 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, he does have an athletic build with broad shoulders that tapers down to a narrow waist and lean lower half.

The most difficult part of assessing Beer is that his game could truly blossom upon becoming a pro when he does start getting more pitches to hit, leading many to believe he will be drafted in the top two rounds simply because teams don’t want to be the one that passed on his talents. Jay Bruce is a popular Major League comparison for Beer among scouts.