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Serious question
#1
We lost that regional due to our lack of pitching depth to end the year. I am wondering why we did not use some of these guys for at least an inning or 2 to save some of our better guys for the close games. I know they are not supremely talented, but were all these guys injured, or do the coaches have 0 trust in them?
Mitchell Miller
Travis Marr
Paul Campbell
Alex Schnell
#2
I felt like it was just our depth in general - not just limited to pitching. I feel like a few injuries in key spots really changed the entire dynamic of the team. I did wonder about pitching, too, but like I said, I thought it was a general problem.

Admittedly, I don't follow baseball much more than attending a couple games and checking out the results. Just not a sport I know much about.
#3
It needs to be said that we were in a lot of close games - especially early - but more importantly, a lot of games in which we had to come from behind to win. In most cases, the tight conditions were a by-product of our own mistakes, both defensively and otherwise. But regardless, our performance in those close games was the genesis of the "these guys eat pressure like candy" quote.

With the veterans you mentioned, Schnell got some extended run after the Florida State series - basically after necessity became the mother of invention. Paul Campbell was essentially off the board after his start against Yale, which was a full on implosion. In both cases, after three (3) seasons of work, they were who they were going to be - Schnell was essentially a LOOGy (Left handed One Out Guy - which was the role he filled in the South Carolina series) and Campbell is a guy that can throw (he's clocked at 97, and one of the scouts at the Regionals had him on his scout list for the series, based on his gun performances during summer ball) but has never been able to pitch.

With the rookies, Mitchell Miller has had serious control issues in his limited appearances (3.2 innings over 6 relief appearances, with 6 walks, 6 hits and 9 earned runs) - but his family was still coming to the games, up through the Regionals, so I don't think injury was an issue. Conversely, Travis Marr had exactly one outing and I'm pretty sure he didn't throw anything other than a fastball. While I don't know anything definitive, my guess with Marr is that they are going to try to obtain a medical redshirt. If so, you can add him to the list of redshirt freshmen (including Blake Holliday and Ryne Huggins) for next season.

At this point, I've written off Higginbotham - two injuries before taking the full brunt of the workload of an entire season is a bad omen - and as such, I view any contributions he gives us from here on out as a bonus. And while I appreciate Gilliam's potential (this time last year, I thought he was in the running for a weekend rotation spot), I'm beginning to wonder if his arm can stand up to a college workload - especially given the reports of hand numbness from earlier this year (it reminds me of the early stages of the circulatory issues that caused Kevin Pohle's career to end prematurely).
#4
Huck, that is one of the reasons I asked. Seeing Beasley and Gilliam come in yesterday made me lose my mind. I feel like those guys have good velocity, but little to no movement on their fastballs. With that said, they will always give up a lot of HRs when they elevate the ball. If Crawford was healthy enough to pitch (and I thought he pitched very well), why not bring him in after Eubanks and let him go as long as he could?
#5
I was actually surprised by Crawford's outing.  By now, everyone knows the deal - he contracted mono in the early part of the season, and wasn't physically the same.  David Hood had a report that he had lost more than 20 pounds, and there were rumors about a severe dropoff in his strength (not unusual because of the drop in muscle mass).

But his fastball clocked in at 90 mph last night, which, while it isn't where he was working in February, it's still a tick or 2 above where he was last season.  My guess is that given his limited work down the stretch (he got some very light work in the blowout finale against NC State, and threw an extended bullpen before the ACC Tournament), the unknown (both with regard to his power and endurance) were enough to put him in the "break-in-case-of-emergency" glass case.

[And by the way, in my search for the shade during the non-Clemson games of the Regional, I ended up in the midst of the scouts during the St. Johns / UNC Greensboro game - as we all sat in the last 4 rows in front of the pressbox.  The guns came out for UNC Greensboro's relief pitcher, and 7 out of 10 times the scoreboard agreed with the scouts in front of me, and 10 out of 10 the scoreboard was within 1 mph.  At least on Saturday, the scoreboard gun seemed to be really close.]

I also thought Beasley was brought on for the lefty match-up - statistically, Beasley had the lowest BAA (.171) against left handed hitters on the team after 58 games (and had been used in that capacity a good bit down the stretch).  After he gave up the big fly to Toffey... it didn't really matter, because that was the Rubicon and it had been crossed.

[And it needs to be said that through the first 2 years of Monte Lee's tenure, the one absolute that I have found is that he steadfastly believes in the power of statistics. If you'll flip through Marty's numeric breakdowns on Monday, you'll be surprised at how many of the moves throughout the week seem to be forecast by data. Given how seldom that was the case with at least the back half of Jack Leggett's tenure, it's been rather refreshing.]
#6
Rather than focusing on the pitching, which has been pretty well covered, my concerns were with the lack of hitting, particularly with men on base. Toward the end of the season it wasn't the lack of hitting with men on base, it was the lack of hitting. PERIOD !!! I don't profess to be even a wantabee baseball expert, but often times it looked as though our guys were swinging at a golf ball rather than a baseball. Another trend I noticed was dropping their right shoulder (right handed hitters) during their swing and missing the ball by several inches.

We would love to have a team with excellent pitchers plus a bull pen full of top-notch relievers, a team batting average over .300 and a team that can play errorless ball. Of course, that's the dream of every school. Even the major leagues don't play errorless ball so why should we expect an error free game from a college team? We can have an excellent pitching staff but if we don't have a decent offense, we are not going to win many games. So, in essence, my point is this, a good offense can do wonders to offset defensive errors and lack of excellent pitching.
#7
I can confirm that Monte loves using metrics and also just loves talking lineups and who fits where and why. My guess is if you saw him at Walmart and struck up a conversation about hitting he would talk to you for a good while.

Another refreshing thing about Monte is that he doesn't pretend to know it all and isnt afraid to think outside the box or ask for input from atypical sources.
#8
(06-06-2017, 06:25 PM)Joe21 Wrote: Rather than focusing on the pitching, which has been pretty well covered, my concerns were with the lack of hitting, particularly with men on base. Toward the end of the season it wasn't the lack of hitting with men on base, it was the lack of hitting. PERIOD !!! I don't profess to be even a wantabee baseball expert, but often times it looked as though our guys were swinging at a golf ball rather than a baseball. Another trend I noticed was dropping their right shoulder (right handed hitters) during their swing and missing the ball by several inches.

We would love to have a team with excellent pitchers plus a bull pen full of top-notch relievers, a team batting average over .300 and a team that can play errorless ball. Of course, that's the dream of every school. Even the major leagues don't play errorless ball so why should we expect an error free game from a college team? We can have an excellent pitching staff but if we don't have a decent offense, we are not going to win many games. So, in essence, my point is this, a good offense can do wonders to offset defensive errors and lack of excellent pitching.

Huck is much better qualified at this than I, but here is my .02.

I saw the struggle down the stretch as a combination of factors....

1) Williams injury forced a lineup change and it wasn't just a 1 for 1 change as Huck has previously posted.  It essentially caused 3 changes...no (or limited) Williams, Wilkie in lineup and relegated Jolly to a pinch hitting role.  Williams was leading or tied for the team HR lead at the time of his injury and that in itself was huge.  Wilkie came on in the last two games, but he was a liability for most of his time on the field.  On the upside, Wilkie getting these at bats vs. good pitching could help his development for the future.

2) The competition got better. Lousiville, UNC, N.C. State and Vanderbilt x 2.

3) Math and Physics. Rohlman had to hit over .500 (40/78) over a 29 game stretch to get to .400.  I noted at the time that some of that was luck, some skill.  It was highly unlikely to continue and as it turned out it didn't as he ended the season at .361.  But he's not the only one.  Cox struck out too much to hit in the .300 range he was at early. Byrd was very streaky - looking like a professional hitter in one at bat and a high schooler in the next. 

4) Monte is still in the process of getting his type guys on the roster. Almost everyone on the field save for Davidson and Wilkie were recruited under Leggett (correct me if I'm wrong there, Huck).  That's not all bad in that some of those guys are like Beer and Pinder.  But others are streaky hitters, most likely to be prone to the Leggett style: Single, move him over and hope for another  hit (think Jordan Greene).  

On another note, as Huck has mentioned to me in a PM the draft on Monday looms large for next season. Some pieces will definitely be back - Beer, Davidson, and Wilkie (expect him to develop into very good catcher) and Byrd and Greene (who is limited offensively but solid defensively), but there are a lot more question marks than "sure things".

I made a joke on twitter last night that whoever takes over first base has a huge glove to fill as Cox saved more runs than Pepto-Bismol.... My guess is Davidson would have had 30+ errors with a typical college first baseman defensively.  I expect Davidson to throw straighter next season, but it's still a concern....
#9
(06-07-2017, 07:57 AM)Marty Coleman Wrote: 4) Monte is still in the process of getting his type guys on the roster. Almost everyone on the field save for Davidson and Wilkie were recruited under Leggett (correct me if I'm wrong there, Huck).  That's not all bad in that some of those guys are like Beer and Pinder.  But others are streaky hitters, most likely to be prone to the Leggett style: Single, move him over and hope for another  hit (think Jordan Greene).  

Chris Williams is the only main contributor that wasn't a Leggett take - Cal Raleigh was slated to be the sole catcher prospect in that signing class, and Williams was a last minute pick up after Raleigh's defection / Monte Lee's hiring. [Without the coaching change, one of my favorite players would have never been a Tiger.]

Davidson was committed so early in the process that I believe he committed to Leggett's staff - and honestly, I don't think it would have mattered who the coach was, he wanted to play for Clemson (just like his father).

Wilkie was recruited by the previous staff (they brought him in for visits), but I don't know the timeline as to when he actually committed.

This will be Monte Lee's first full recruiting cycle in which he set the board - and wasn't working from the commitments / visits from the prior staff.

[Upon further reflection, I didn't include the graduate transfers of Weston Jackson and Tyler Jackson in the Monte Lee category. Nor were the JuCo transfers of Patrick Cromwell, Ryan Miller and Jeremy Beasley. All of those players made substantive contributions this year - they just weren't the headliners.]
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