With the 2020 season within sight, now is as good of a time as any to take a look at the NC State Wolfpack squad that will hit the diamond this spring.
- Part I of this series was a look back at the 2019 season and the players who are now gone.
- Part II took a look at the returnees from that 2019 team.
- Part III was a look at the newcomers for 2020.
- Part IV (here is the first half of it) will take a look at the non-conference schedule and opponents in 2020.
- Part V will review the ACC schedule and opponents.
So let’s get started!
(For a look at the schedule, head on over to GoPack.com)
Conference: Conference USA
Game Dates: March 10, 24
2019 Record: 21-31-1 (11-18-1) | 2019 RPI: 215
Charlotte loses five of their top nine hitters from 2019, including four of their top five home run hitters - although they do return the leader there. Returning are SR 1B Rafi Vazquez (.289/.362/.543, 8 2B, 12 HR), SR OF Todd Elwood (.333/.384/.385, 9 2B), SR 2B Carson Johnson (.304/.385/.362, 10 2B, 21:29 BB:K), and SO 3B Josh Haney (.281/.328/.325, 2 2B, 1 HR). The rest of the lineup will need to pick among returning ineffective reserves and newcomers. The 49ers will be hoping to get big contributions from UNC-W grad transfer SR OF Riley Zayicek (.220/.312/.413, 9 2B, 6 HR) and JUCO transfers JR C Craig Keuchel and JR INF Nate Kinsch. FR OF Dominic Pilolli and FR 1B/3B David McCabe should also contribute. On the mound, Charlotte returns two of their three weekend starters in SR RHP Ryan Czantkowski (2-6, 1 SV, 6.50 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, .296 OBA, 54.0 IP, 34 K) and SO RHP Bryce McGowan (2-7, 5.82 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, .282 OBA, 55.2 IP, 41 K). McGowan showed promise as a freshman last year, but I’m sure the coaching staff wouldn’t be upset to find a replacement for Czantkowski. The bullpen gets their two best arms back in SR RHP Colby Bruce (1-4, 8 SV, 2.63 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .242 OBA, 41.0 IP, 43 K) and JR RHP Patrick Szczypinski (2-0, 2.56 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .232 OBA, 38.2 IP, 39 K), but will have to replace the 112.1 combined innings from their two most often used bullpen arms from last year. Maryland graduate transfer SR RHP Nick Turnbull (2-1, 1 SV, 4.08 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .130 OBA, 17.2 IP, 17 K) will look to add a shut-down arm to the bullpen - if he can consistently find the strike zone. The 49ers also brought in JUCO transfers JR RHP Andrew Roach and JR LHP Trae Starnes to compete for innings and a starting rotation gig. FR LHP Christian Lothes is the only freshman pitcher in this year’s recruiting class to make it to campus.
2020 Projected Record: 18-35 (12-18)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
North Carolina A&T
Game Dates: March 11
2019 Record: 29-24 (16-8) | 2019 RPI: 194
NC A&T has to replace their best hitter and pitcher, but should still be a threat to win the MEAC in 2020. SR INF Dustin Baber (.328/.402/.436, 15 2B, 2 HR, 22:20 BB:K, 13-18 SB), rJR INF Zach McLean (.241/.278/.402, 8 2B, 6 HR), rSR C Ryne Stanley (.265/.385/.325, 6 2B, 1 HR), SR OF Camden Williamson (.258/.321/.384, 7 2B, 4 HR, 12:13 BB:K). SO C Scott Meitzler (.462/.563/.923, 3 2B, 1 HR) produced really well when given the opportunity to finally play late last year. JUCO transfers JR OF Justin Rodriguez and rJR Alex Bibb will help fill out the lineup. Among the freshmen, INF Keith Taylor and OF Kyras Dawson should contribute early. The Aggies return two of three weekend starters in SR RHPs Michael Johnson (4-5, 3.22 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 81.0 IP, 46 K) and Evan Gates (4-4, 1 SV, 4.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 66.2 IP, 65 K). JR LHP Ethan Chavis (2-2, 2.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 34 K) should slide into the open weekend rotation spot while SR RHP Leon Davidson (5-0, 4 SV, 0.67 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 40.1 IP, 26 K) will front a rebuilt bullpen. Winston-Salem State transfer SR Cole Parks will provide a quality arm that may well grab a weekend rotation job and JUCO transfer JR RHP Timothy Davila should help add depth to the bullpen.
2020 Projected Record: 23-28 (13-8)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
Game Dates: March 18
2019 Record: 28-28 (8-22) | 2019 RPI: 82
Don’t count on South Carolina putting up as poor of a record as they did in 2019, when they won only one SEC series all year - and got swept three times in conference. While JR OF Andrew Eyster (.309/.389/.576, 12 2B, 10 HR) is the only impact bat from last year to return, the team also gets back JR INF Noah Campbell (.239/.324/.378, 6 2B, 6 HR, 8-14 SB), SO OF Brady Allen (.210/.344/.414, 6 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 6-10 SB), and SR INF George Callil (.214/.329/.366, 6 2B, 4 HR). The real key is in the additions to this year’s team. FR INF Brennan Milone is almost a lock to start, while FR INF Braylen Wimmer should also see plenty of ABs. The Gamecocks have plenty of talent and competition at Catcher where freshmen Jax Cash and Colin Burgess will compete with returning SO Wes Clarke (.239/.327/.413, 5 2B, 1 HR) and graduate transfers Dallas Beaver (.316/.455/.545, 12 2B, 12 HR, 44:62 BB:K at UCF) and Bryant Bowen (.341/.403/.563, 11 2B, 11 HR, 20:30 BB:K at Southern Miss) for the job. Beaver can also play the infield. JUCO transfer OFs Noah Myers, Jeff Heinrich, and Anthony Amicangelo will dramatically improve the talent and depth in the OF. Myers has elite level speed and base-stealing abilities. The influx of fresh talent will overhaul the Cocks lineup.
On the mound, South Carolina returns eight of the ten pitchers from a year ago who logged at least 20.0 innings on the mound, but the biggest returnee might be rSO RHP Carmen Mlodzinski (0-0, 5.91 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, .289 OBA, 10.2 IP, 11 K). Those numbers don’t scream “this guy can pitch!”, but Mlodzinski was the Gamecocks opening day starter last year before breaking his foot in his third start and missing the rest of the season. He’s considered a first round talent for the 2020 MLB Draft. Not sure how the rest of the staff will shake out between starters and relievers, but there are plenty of talented options to choose from: SO RHP Brett Kerry (4-1, 7 SV, 2.62/0.96/.200, 58.1 IP, 65 K), JR RHP T.J. Shook (3-1, 1 SV, 3.76/1.25/.213, 38.1 IP, 49 K), SO RHP Cam Tringali (2-4, 1 SV, 5.00/1.24/.250, 66.2 IP, 59 K), SO RHP Wesley Sweatt (2-3, 1 SV, 4.33/1.35/.273, 43.2 IP, 31 K), SO LHP Dylan Harley (3-4, 9.58/1.69/.256, 41.1 IP, 52 K). Harley, especially, can be a huge feature of the staff if he can keep his pitches in the strike zone. Redshirt-senior RHP Graham Lawson (1-1, 3 SV, 5.60/1.32/.248, 27.1 IP, 26 K in 2018) - a 12th round MLB Draft pick in 2018 - will also return after missing 2019 due to injury. A trio of JUCO transfers who all elected to attend South Carolina instead of turning pro after being selected in last year’s draft will also immediately strengthen the pitching staff: rSO RHP Thomas Farr, JR RHP Brannon Jordan, and JR RHP Andrew Peters.
2020 Projected Record: 38-18 (16-14)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: April 1
2019 Record: 36-25 (14-9) | 2019 RPI: 137
The Terriers are one of two favorites to win the SoCon this year as they return a disciplined group of hitters, including the entire starting eight fielders. SR RF Mike Brown (.330/.441/.435, 12 2B, 5 3B, 34:23 BB:K, 38-43 SB), SR LF Hudson Byorick (.326/.443/.436, 18 2B, 2 HR, 45:18 BB:K, 8-13 SB), and JR CF Colin Davis (.302/.361/.471, 15 2B, 7 HR, 11-12 SB) may well be the best non-ACC OF the Wolfpack will face this year. The infield of SR 2B Brett Rodriguez (.324/.435/.469, 14 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 40:47 BB:K, 33-39 SB), SO SS Matty Brown (.304/.415/.402, 4 2B, 2 HR, 14-17 SB), SO 3B John Dempsey (.324/.387/.536, 22 2B, 7 HR), and SR 1B Andrew Orzel (.267/.370/.381, 18 2B, 3 HR, 29:34 BB:K, 19-20 SB) are another reason why this Terriers team is garnering so much respect heading into 2020. JR C Lawson Hill (.359/.420/.411, 8 2B, 2 3B, 26:20 BB:K, 9-12 SB) and SR C Alec Cargin (.240/.336/.333, 6 2B, 1 HR) will again split time behind the dish, with Cargin being the better defensive option. SO OF Nolen Hester (.290/.477/.468, 7 2B, 2 3B, 6-7 SB) figures to step into a more prominent role this year, most likely as the DH. On the mound, SO LHP Hayes Heinecke (10-2, 2.65 ERA/1.10 WHIP/.241 OBA, 88.1 IP, 84 K) is about as good as any pitcher in the SoCon. JR LHP David Yourke (1-4, 3.77/1.24/243, 45.1 IP, 27 K) and SO RHP Cameron Bloodworth (3-2, 5.58/1.72/.350, 40.1 IP, 22 K) started a combined 23 games last year, but will need to take significant steps forward this year. Redshirt-junior RHPs Reece Maniscalco (4-1, 6 SV, 2.34/1.24/.192, 42.1 IP, 60 K) and Rasesh Pandya (4-2, 2 SV, 1.80/1.11/.267, 35.0 IP, 41 K) will lead a bullpen that’s in search of more dependable depth. If the Terriers can find a solid #2 starter and another two reliable bullpen arms to pair with an offense that’s going to light up the scoreboard, they’ll run away with the SoCon title.
2020 Projected Record: 36-20 (15-9)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Conference: Big South
Game Dates: April 7, 29
2019 Record: 37-21 (19-7) | 2019 RPI: 50
After a few years of less-than-desirable results, Campbell Head Coach Justin Haire hit the JUCO ranks hard to rebuild his 2019 team... and it worked! The team was fantastic last year, and Haire is going back at it again, bringing in another eight JUCO transfers this year - not quite the 15 JUCO transfers they brought in last year, but still a hefty total. In the field and at the plate, SR OF/1B Spencer Packard (.323/.436/.455, 20 2B, 2 HR, 28:34 BB:K), SR INF Collin Wolf (.293/.411/.466, 11 2B, 7 HR, 33:33 BB:K, 11-13 SB), and SR INF Koby Collins (.279/.406/.481, 11 2B, 5 HR, 20:26 BB:K) will lead the returning group. Of the JUCO players referenced above, JR OF C.J. Peechatka, JR INF Curz Aranda, JR C Ryan Parquette, and JR OF/INF Connor Denning figure to play prominent roles immediately. JR RHP Jonathan Beymer, JR RHP Cam Cowan, and rSO LHP John Vanderploeg are also JUCO transfers, and the three figure to play significant roles in the Camels pitching staff this year. Joining those three in battling for starting rotation gigs will be returners SO LHP Ryan Chasse (7-2, 2.95 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .224 OBA, 76.1 IP, 58 K) and SR LHP Kevin Westlake (3-3, 6.00 ERA 1.78 WHIP, .266 OBA, 54.0 IP, 36 K). Chasse did enough in 2019 to lock up a rotation spot this year. In the bullpen, rJR Logan Heintzman (4-2, 1 SV, 4.26 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, .279 OBA, 44.1 IP, 47 K), SR RHP Landry Moore (4-0, 5 SV, 2.93 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 229 OBA, 27.2 IP, 21 K), rSR RHP Tyler Johnson (1-1, 1 SV, 4.26 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .236 OBA, 25.1 IP, 30 K), and Raleigh native SR Jack Yusko (0-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .260 OBA, 12.2 IP, 10 K) will lead the way. This team is easily the front-runner to win the Big South again.
2020 Projected Record: 34-18 (20-7)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: April 15, 21
2019 Record: 33-24 (19-5) | 2019 RPI: 99
SR 1B Joe Satterfield (.325/.438/.476, 14 2B, 4 HR, 40:47 BB:K) and SO OF Anthony Galason (.274/.345/.367, 18 2B, 1 HR) are the only returning impact bats for Elon, and that’s a problem when you look at how relatively unproductive the offense was in 2019 - and even more worrisome when you account for what all the Phoenix lost from their pitching staff. Gone early via the MLB Draft are starting pitchers George Kirby and Kyle Brnovich and closer Ty Adcock. A two-way player, Adcock also led the team in home runs last year. Leading a rebuilt pitching staff will be another future Elon pitcher to get drafted: JR LHP Jared Wetherbee (7-4, 1 SV, 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .218 OBA, 84.0 IP, 98 K). Outside of Wetherbee’s 11 starts, the pitching staff returns a grand total of six starts from a year ago. SR LHP Dean McCarthy (2-3, 3.70 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, .237 OBA, 41.1 IP, 49 K) and SO RHP Kyle Greenler (0-0, 2 SV, 4.62 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, .272 OBA, 37.0 IP, 34 K) are the only experienced bullpen arms back. Back at the plate, SR UTIL Garrett Stonehouse (.311/.475/.378, 5 2B, 18:14 BB:K) should perform well in an increased role, but the team will have to count on previously unproductive (but experienced!) players to make up the lineup. It also doesn’t help that Elon’s top recruit showed out as a high school senior and ended up going pro.
2020 Projected Record: 20-34 (10-14)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
Conference: Ohio Valley
Game Dates: May 1, 2, 3
2019 Record: 32-25 (19-11) | 2019 RPI: 123
The Governors have to replace four of their top five hitters (and 44 of their 75 team HR) from a year ago, but do return SO CF Garrett Spain (.333/.412/.502, 8 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR), SO 1B/DH Matt Joslin (.289/.392/452, 7 2B, 5 HR), JR UTIL Malcolm Tipler (.271/.383/.431, 12 2B, 4 HR), and JR 1B John McDonald (.289/.377/.422, 8 2B, 3 HR). A trio of JUCO transfers (UTIL Ty Delancey, OF T.J. Foreman, and C Alex Hay) will contribute immediately. FR INF Skyler Luna is another name to watch. Pitching is going to be a major question mark heading into the year. Austin Peay has to replace their entire weekend rotation, and as a staff returns just 16 combined starts from a year ago. SR LHP Tucker Weaver (1-1, 5.48/1.28/.284, 21.1 IP, 25 K) and SR RHP Ryan Kouba (5-1, 1 SV, 6.42/1.57/.269, 40.2 IP, 42 K) are the most effective returning pitchers. The team also gets 2018 All-OVC Freshman selection rSO LHP Harley Gollert back after an injury-shortened 2019 campaign. To help the pitching staff along, the coaching staff brought in six JUCO arms and three freshman pitchers. JUCO transfer RHPs Noah Miller, Hayden Josephson, and Austin Carder should all see significant innings. The team will also benefit from rFR RHP Drew McIllwain finally being able to get on the mound after missing last year with Tommy John Surgery. FR LHP Greg Norman is freshman arm to watch.
2020 Projected Record: 24-31 (15-15)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
North Carolina Central
Game Dates: May 5
2019 Record: 21-28 (10-14) | 2019 RPI: 269
Hats off to NC Central HC Jim Koerner for what he’s done since taking over a dead program in 2012. While he’s only had one winning overall record in seven years, he’s taken a program that averaged 5.5 wins per season in the four years before he got there to averaging 25.6 wins per season since. 2020 may well be his second winning season as he continue to build the program. SR OF Carter Williams (.328/.394/.475 14 2B, 5 HR, 23:21 BB:K, 14-14 SB), SR 1B/OF Vinny Bailey (.305/.431/.470, 10 2B, 5 HR, 29:36 BB:K), SR INF Trey Maslin (.276/.373/.324, 8 2B, 14 HBP), SR OF Josh Brammell (.263/.392/.359, 10 2B, 1 HR, 28:19 BB:K, 9-10 SB), and SO OF Nick Fajardo (.254/.437/.296, 6 2B, 44:40 BB:K, 14-16 SB) lead what should be an overall improved offensive unit, despite the loss of their best hitter. Starting pitching will be the differentiator for the Eagles this year as they boast the best 1-2 starting duo in the MEAC. SO RHP Ryan Miller (6-4, 1 SV, 3.15/1.21/.266, 71.1 IP, 73 K) and 6’8, 300 lbs JR RHP Austin Vernon (3-4, 4 SV, 4.09/1.30/.220, 44.0 IP, 57 K) both pump fastballs that can reach the mid to upper 90’s and are legit pro prospects. JUCO transfer JR RHP Shane Davis may well give the Eagles the best complete rotation in the MEAC. With Vernon transitioning to the starting rotation full time, SR RHP Brendan Bell (2-4, 4.06/1.35/.247, 51.0 IP, 37 K), SR RHP Ryan Decker (2-3, 4 SV, 3.06/1.21/.234, 32.1 IP, 14 K), and SO RHP Jonathan Peacock (0-1, 3.79/1.32/.247, 19.0 IP, 12 K) will lead the bullpen. FR RHP Alex Sniffen will add quality innings for the bullpen, and could compete for playing time in the infield, too, as a two-way player.
2020 Projected Record: 26-27 (14-7)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes (as MEAC Tournament Champions)