Tigers open preseason practice today
As No. 14 Clemson opens pre-season practice today at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, head coach Monte Lee and his coaches will have a couple of weeks to figure out what they are going to do with some of their freshmen this season.
Right now, Lee feels he has four true freshmen that can help the Tigers as position players in 2019. Davis Sharpe, who Lee hopes can help on the mound as well at the plate, heads up this impressive group which also consists of infielder Bryar Hawkins, outfielder Chad Fairey and infielder James Parker.
In the fall, Sharpe led Clemson with 16 RBIs, had four home runs and hit just below .300.
“Sharpe is one of those guys that is certainly creating a good problem for me,” Lee said. “What I am going to do with this guy? He hits and if you hit, we have to find a way to get you in the lineup. He is a guy that is forcing me to have to look at moving some other guys around so I can best utilize this guy at the plate.”
Hawkins, from Cummings, Ga., hit .306 in the fall and is a guy who can play just about anywhere in the infield.
“This is a guy that played second base and shortstop in high school. He is very offensive,” Lee said. “Bryar hit .306 this fall so he had a pretty good fall. He can play first, he can play second if needed. He can play third.
“We believe he is more of a corner infielder, but he can play second base, too, if we needed him there.
With Fairey (6-2, 210), “the bat plays.” In other words, he swings the bat very well.
“He has power-bat written all over him,” Lee said about the Greenwood, S.C., native. “He just has to figure things out. As he begins to mature physically and mentally, I think he will be a guy that certainly will be in the mix to be a guy that we may use to be a DH or a corner outfielder.”
Lee describes Anderson, S.C., native James Parker as a baseball player.
“He is a guy that can center the baseball. He can catch and throw the baseball,” the Clemson coach said. “He arguably has the best arm in the infield so you know he can play on the left side of the field. He continues to get better and better.
“He can provide depth for us, but if we needed to play him, he could help us win games right now.”
The Tigers open the 2019 season on Feb. 15, in Game 1 of a three-game series with South Alabama. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
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