Like at pitcher, Clemson is deep in the infield as well as it gets set for the 2021 baseball season.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee spoke with The Clemson Insider recently and gave an early look at what the infield could look like when the Tigers open the season on Feb.19 against Cincinnati at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
“We feel like this is a very deep group positionally, and on the mound,” Lee said. “This is a hard-working group. This is very selfless group.”
Scouting Clemson’s middle infield, according to Monte Lee
Bryar Hawkins, INF, *So, 6-0, 200: “Hawkins at third base will probably be the guy right now.”
James Parker, SS, *So., 6-2, 200: “He is very much improved. He hit .317 this fall and had a great defensive fall, as well.”
Sam Hall, INF, *Jr., 6-2, 200: “Arguably the best athlete on the field. He is in the mix at second base, along with Elijah [Henderson], depending on what we do.”
Blake Wright, INF, Fr., 5-10, 190: “He is going to fight Hawkins for [third base] job and he actually had a better fall than Hawkins. He is a true freshman. He had a .397 on base percentage and hit .302 this fall, so he is another guy, too. He is better than what Parker was at the same age. He is going to be a player, and he is as tough as nails.”
Scouting first base, according to Monte Lee
Davis Sharpe, P/1B, *So., 6-3, 205: “He is probably our most consistent arm. We all knew that was going to be the case and was going to be in the mix for one of those top two or three spots and he certainly kind of cemented his role going into the spring as our No. 1 starter.”
Dylan Brewer, OF/IB, *Fr., 6-2, 180: “Depending on what we do with him, he is going to be in the mix over there because he is such a good defender.”
Caden Grice, P/IB, Fr., 6-6, 230: “He turned down a lot of money to come to Clemson as a two-way guy. On the mound, he certainly did not disappoint. This is a true freshman, and he is 6-6, 230 pounds. He is left-handed… Needless to say, he was absolutely dominant. He also has power at the plate, and he got better and better as the fall went on… Caden right now is going to be in the mix as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.”
Scouting the catchers, according to Monte Lee
Adam Hackenberg, C, *So, 6-1, 230: “He is the leader of the team and is one of the best defensive catchers, we think, especially when it comes to throwing out runners. There are not many guys who can throw out runners like Hackenberg does.”
Jonathan French, C, *Fr., 5-10, 200: “He had the best offensive fall of anybody. He got hurt last year, but he is another guy … hit a couple of home runs. I think he led us in on base percentage. He had a .536 on-base percentage and hit .280 this fall. I think he is another guy that we are going to have to find a way to get him in the lineup and get him some at-bats. He is just so dangerous and has tremendous power. He and Grice have as much raw power as anybody in the program.”
Note: *redshirt; **NCAA’s extra year of eligibility