Though Clemson lost starting pitchers Sam Weatherly and Spencer Strider to the Majors, and closer Carson Spiers signed a free agent deal after the MLB Draft, the Tigers did get some good news when its top signee for the 2020 class did not get drafted.
Riverside High School’s Caden Grice could not come to an agreement with a Major League Club prior to the draft and therefore decide to come to Clemson to continue his baseball career. Many thought Grice could have been a second or third-round pick in the draft.
“Having Grice come in, that is a big, big deal for us,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said Monday. “We are talking about a guy that could have signed for a significant amount of money, like a significant amount of money. But he valued his education and he valued the opportunity to come to Clemson.”
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Grice hails played first baseman and was a left-handed pitcher for Riverside. In May, he was named the 2019-20 Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year after batting .353 for the Warriors while belting three home runs and driving in four runs before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of scouts rated this guy with 80 power. His power grade is the highest a professional scout can put on a player,” Lee said. “So, they think he had tremendous power with the bat. He just also happens to be 6-foot-6, left-handed and throws 93 mph as well. So, a lot of scouts are kind of torn as to where they see him at the pro level.
“I think most guys see him as a guy that will be a hitter that also pitches. But there are some scouts that see him as a potential frontline starter as well.”
A Rawlings-Perfect Game 2020 Preseason First Team All-Atlantic Region selection, Grice led his Canes National 17U team to the World Wood Bat Association national championship this past fall.
Grice also helped Riverside to a 20-9 record and the district finals in 2019, hitting .397 with two home runs and 20 RBIs, while posting a 2-0 record and 0.96 ERA on the mound to earn all-state honors.
“He is a talented kid. He is going to be a mid-90s left-hander that is 6-foot-6. He is a giant already,” Lee said. “He is probably 230 pounds now and he has tremendous power. I’m really looking forward to getting him on campus. He is also a really good athlete. He runs. He can run, so he is not going to be just limited to playing first base. We think that is where he profiles because of the fact he pitches, too, and we want to protect his arm.
“But he is a guy that if we had to put him in the outfield, he can do it because he can run. He is going to be a really special player for us, we believe.”
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