Where does Clemson baseball go from here?

Where does Clemson baseball go from here?


Where does Clemson baseball go from here?


With the Jack Leggett era at Clemson officially over, it is time to turn the page and look at what is in store for the Tigers in the future, especially the immediate future.

As of right now, the next page following the Jack Leggett era looks blank.

While athletic director Dan Radakovich begins a search for the program’s next head coach, a position that has been held by just two men since 1958, what will the new coach be inheriting or possibly losing in the weeks and months to come?

“This was more about where we are now, and moving forward,” Radakovich said. “Coach (Bill) Wilhelm’s accomplishments and Jack’s accomplishments are very well known, and noteworthy. But it’s really about where we’re moving from here.”

Where does Clemson baseball go from here?

“Clemson Baseball is a premier brand, positioned well for the near future,” Radakovich said. “Following the great work of Coaches Wilhelm and Leggett, this is a program that has been built upon a solid foundation. We have high expectations for our baseball team, and we will find the right coach and continue to improve on that tradition of excellence.”

But what exactly will the new coach have to work with next spring?

First let’s look at who might be leaving the program after the Major League Baseball Draft, which begins Monday and concludes on Wednesday. At least five Tigers are expected to be chosen in the draft, with outfielder Steven Duggar and infielder Tyler Krieger leading the way.

D1Baseball.com list Duggar as the 112th best prospect on their board, while Krieger sits at No. 109 on Baseball America’s top 150. Left-hand pitcher Zach Erwin is listed 117th by Baseball America, while infielder Elli White and ACC Pitcher of the Year Matthew Crownover are expected to be drafted in rounds 8-10.  Brody Koerner could also go later in the draft.

Odds are that at least four of those will not be back wearing a Clemson uniform in 2016, which means the Tigers will lose its top two weekend pitchers in Crownover and Erwin and three players in the lineup that batted .297 or better and had 113 combined RBIs.

Senior pitcher Jake Long, who was the No. 3 man in the weekend rotation by the end of the regular season, has used up his eligibility, as has centerfielder Tyler Slaton. Then there are possible transfers, which has to be considered anytime there is a coaching change.

However, Clemson is expected to return its two best hitters in outfielder Reed Rohlman (.356, 58 RBIs) and catcher Chris Okey (.315, 12 HRs, 57 RBIs). But are they enough?

The Tigers issues just don’t stop there. It’s unlikely 2015 signee Cornelius Randolph will even enroll at Clemson following the draft. Randolph, a third baseman, is listed as the No. 29 best player on the board by Baseball America.  Miller, a shortstop, is listed as the 60th-best player by D1Baseball and could leave for professional baseball.  Right handed pitcher Jackson Kowar, ranked at the 70th best high school prospect from D1 Baseball, will also have to make a decision following the draft.

Catcher Cal Raleigh, who could be selected in the first seven rounds of the draft, isn’t sure what he is going to do about enrolling at Clemson after Leggett was fired on Thursday.

“I’ve known Coach Leggett since I was 4 years old. He coached my dad and my two uncles at Western Carolina. Growing up I always told myself and everyone else I wanted to play for either my dad (Todd Raleigh) or Coach Leggett,” Raleigh told TCI on Friday. “When my dad stopped coaching there was no question who I wanted to play for if I was good enough – Coach Leggett.

“He is one of the best coaches this game has ever seen and it’s sad to know I’m not going to get a chance to play for a Hall of Fame coach. Coach Leggett is forever imprinted in my life and he is family to me and the rest of my family.”

After the draft, Raleigh plans to sit down with his family and decide what is best for him and his baseball career.

“(The firing of Leggett) has a huge impact on my decision making,” he said.

Pitchers Ryley Gilliam, Graham Lawson, Brooks Crawford and short stop Grant Cox are also expected to get drafted but were considered likely to enroll this summer before Leggett’s departure.  Keeping Bradley LeCroy on the new staff would certainly help limit the recruiting impact.



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