With the calendar
getting ready to turning over to February and the 2022 baseball season quickly approaching, let’s take a look at the NC State Wolfpack team that will take the field this season. We’ll attempt to do this in a four-part series again:
- In Part I of this series, we took a look back at the 2021 season and the players who are no longer with the program.
- In Part II of this series, we will look at the returnees from that 2021 team.
- In Part III of this series, we took a look at the newcomers for 2022.
- In Part IV of this series, we took a look at the non-conference schedule and opponents for the Wolfpack this season.
- Part V will take a look at the ACC opponents on deck for State this year.
So let’s get started!
(For a look at the schedule, head on over to GoPack.com)
Game Dates: March 11, 12, 13
2021 Record: 34-13 (25-10) | 2021 RPI: 5
Hey, did you know that J.T. Jarrett’s dad is the head coach at Notre Dame?!?!
To say Link Jarrett has set the bar high for himself after his first two years on campus in South Bend is an understatement. In 2021, the Irish had their best season since Paul Mainieri’s heyday with the Irish. Repeating that success in 2022 is going to be difficult - putting together top 5 RPI teams is no walk in the park.
On offense, the Irish must replace Golden Spikes semifinalist Niko Kavadas and his 22 home runs, but every other starter from last year’s team returns. Kavadas accounted for 1⁄3 of the team’s home run total, so the slugging is sure to drop, but Jarrett is a fantastic hitting coach, so the overall .281/.379/.474 line shouldn’t be unattainable again as a team. OF Ryan Cole, 1B Carter Putz, 3B Jack Brannigan, and OF Spencer Myers lead the way, providing a nice blend of speed, pop, and on-base skills. With so much returning, there’s limited opportunities for the newcomers to make an impact, but the Irish welcome some talented freshman to the mix. C Joey Spence was an 18th round pick in last year’s MLB Draft, OF D.M. Jefferson is a talented lefty bat, and INF Nick DeMarco has a nice blend of power and speed.
The pitching staff technically only loses two significant arms from last year in top reliever Tanner Kohlhepp and saves-leader Joe Sheridan. Notre Dame was expected to welcome back a pair of arms who previously held prominent roles for the Irish but missed all or the majority of 2021 due to arm injuries. LHPs Tommy Sheehan and Tommy Vail transferred to Auburn and TCU, respectively, but the impact should be minimal with the entire 2021 weekend rotation returning. The trio of LHPs (John Michael Bertrand, Aidan Tyrell, Will Mercer) should be innings eaters, limiting the exposure to a bullpen that will need to rebuild minus Kohlhepp, Sheridan, and Vail. RHP Alex Rao and RHP Liam Simon return to lead the bullpen, but both struggled with control last year (47 BB in 62.1 IP). To help sure up the bullpen, a trio of transfer arms were brought in. LHP Matt Lazzaro makes his way to South Bend after previous stops at Houston and Furman (Bertrand was also a member of the now defunct Paladin baseball program). RHP Ryan McLinskey was Seton Hall’s Friday night starter the last two years and provides an experienced arm should the Irish choose to move Tyrell or Mercer to the bullpen to give it an experienced lefty option. RHP Austin Temple is another former starter (Jacksonville), but is returning from an injury that cost him essentially all of 2021. Brannigan will also get some time on the mound as a reliever. Nine freshman arms are added to the mix, led by RHP Radek Birkholz, LHP Jack Findlay, and the aforementioned DeMarco (RHP).
2022 Projected Record: 38-16 (19-11)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: March 18, 19, 20
2021 Record: 31-24 (20-16) | 2021 RPI: 45
The Seminoles must replace 2021 ACC Player of the Year Mat Nelson who mashed 17 2B and 23 HR last year, as well as OF Elijah Cabell, who himself had 15 HR a year ago, and Robby Martin, masher of 11 HR in 2021. Former top prospect and three-year starter SS Nander De Sedas is also gone, having transferred to Missouri. OF Logan Lacey and INF Tyler Martin (son of head coach Mike Martin Jr.) return to lead the lineup. Lacey has a solid bat, although his BB:K ratio is less than desirable, while Martin is an on-base machine with great bat control and an exceptional eye. OF Reese Albert also returns, looking to bounce back to the player he was in 2018-2020 after a disappointing 2021 campaign. The Seminoles bring in a few instant-impact transfers in an effort to rebuild and restock. INF Brett Roberts was a Freshman All-American at Tennessee Tech and had a great summer last year in the Cape Cod league. C Brock Mathis comes to Tallahassee after previous stops at LSU and Oklahoma State, with a year of JUCO ball in between. There’s a lot of pop in the bat, although he’ll have some competition for the catching job from former JUCO transfer Colton Vincent and Sebastian Jiminez, a redshirt freshman who missed last year with an injury. A pair of transfers from in-state rivals might be the biggest additions. SS Jordan Carrion comes over from Florida. His glove will be an upgrade over De Sedas and the bat shouldn’t be any worse. 1B Alex Toral is a Miami transfer who led the ACC in HR in 2019 with 24. His power wasn’t near that level in his other seasons with the Hurricanes, but the potential is there, and the on-base skills will certainly translate. It’s FSU, so you know the freshman class is loaded, although the transfers will likely minimize the overall impact for that group in 2022. C/OF Jaime Ferrer are 1B/OF James Tibbs are two to keep an eye on this year.
The pitching staff is the reason for the majority of the hype around Florida State this year. LHPs Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart return to weekend rotation after the pair put together a combined line of 161.0 IP, 135 H, 52 BB, and 220 K. They do need to replace Conor Grady, but there’s talent aplenty to do it. RHP Carson Montgomery showed glimpses of future greatness across a handful of starts last year, if he can reign in the control. Also gone is top reliever Jack Anderson, but RHP Davis Hare and 2018 Freshman All-American LHP Jonah Scolaro are back to lead the relief corps. Those are the only two relievers to return who tossed 20.0 or more innings last year. To help restock arms, the Seminoles will mostly rely on freshmen, although they did bring in two transfers in RHPs David Barrett (State College of Florida) and Joe Charles (North Carolina). Barrett has great swing-and-miss stuff, but questionable control, while Charles is a former top recruit (25th round MLB Draft pick out of high school in 2019) who barely saw the mound in Chapel Hill due to injuries. Good for him for getting out of there. Among the freshman arms, RHP Jackson Baumeister is a future stud and an instant-impact arm as a midweek starter and/or reliever. He’s also a candidate as the Sunday starter should Montgomery’s control be an issue.
2022 Projected Record: 36-20 (18-12)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: March 25, 26, 27
2021 Record: 31-25 (21-15) | 2021 RPI: 41
Georgia Tech may not be what it was under coach Danny Hall from their heyday run of 2000-2006 where they hosted a Regional in six of those years and Super Regionals in five of them, but the Yellow Jackets have won the Coastal division in each of the last two full seasons - and they’re the favorite again this year.
The team is led by top MLB Draft prospect and 2021 Freshman All-American C Kevin Parada (the ACC is stacked at the catching position). 3B Drew Compton, OF Tres Gonzalez, and 1B Andrew Jenkins are all strong returning bats, with Compton and Jenkins providing power and Gonzalez superb on-base abilities. OFs Stephen Reid and Jake DeLeo also return, each player with considerable upside, but also question marks in their offensive approach. UAB transfer SS Chandler Simpson is a slight-built speed demon who will be an immediate pain for all opponents. INF Brandon Prince put up incredible numbers at the JUCO level. Louisville transfer INF Tim Borden will be another interesting player to watch. He was off an incredible start in 2020 earning one Freshman All-American honor, but struggled in limited opportunities in 2021. He was a 37th round MLB Draft pick out of high school and could be a big contributor for GT this year.
On the bump, the Jackets lose their top two arms in Brant Hurter and Andy Archer, both members of last year’s weekend rotation. Raleigh native LHP Sam Crawford does return and should again occupy a weekend rotation spot, as should RHP Marquis Grissom Jr (yes, the son of that Marquis Grissom). Grissom actually kicked Crawford out of the rotation towards the end of last season (no hard feelings, right?). LHP Dalton Smith would appear to have the inside track at the third weekend spot, although his shaky control could leave that in doubt. Word in the fall was GT was hoping to move fireballer RHP Zach Maxwell to the weekend rotation, but the guy walked 41 in 32.0 IP last year, so that exercise seems destined to fail. Maxwell has the elite stuff that should make him a great back of the bullpen option, but the Jackets also return closer LHP Luke Bartnicki who notched 7 SV last year. Joining Bartnicki - and possibly Maxwell - in the bullpen is LHP Josiah Siegel, LHP Joseph Mannelly, and RHP Chance Huff. All three of those guys tallied over 24.0 innings each last year. The wildcard of the pitching staff is RHP Cort Roedig, who struggled last year due to injuries. Roedig started 14 games over his first two years on campus to solid results. If he’s back to full health, he should easily recapture a weekend rotation gig. There’s plenty of flexibility in the staff. Wake Forest transfer RHP Cole McNamee adds another arm with great stuff but questionable control to the mix. Among the seven freshman arms, keep an eye on RHP Aeden Finateri, RHP Logan McGuire, RHP Carter Daniels, and LHP Cody Carwile.
2022 Projected Record: 34-21 (15-15)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: April 1, 2, 3
2021 Record: 25-27 (16-20) | 2021 RPI: 61
Monte Lee posted top-15 RPI teams in each of his first three seasons at Clemson, but his last two full season squads have failed to live up to expectations. Entering his sixth full year with the Tigers, he’ll look to get Clemson back in a Regional after missing a year ago. On offense, 1B Caden Grice is a masher of baseballs, as is OF Dylan Brewer, although Brewer will need to make more consistent contact if his output is to match his skills. 3B Bryar Hawkins and C Jonathan French are the only other returning regulars. OF Chad Fairey should be a boon for the lineup after missing 2021 with an injury; he has good on-base skills and some serious pop in the bat. To try and add more potency to the lineup, Clemson also brought in a pair of graduate transfers in 2B Tyler Corbitt (The Citadel) and SS Benjamin Blackwell (Dayton). Both players will have a steep learning curve stepping up to ACC competition, but they are critical pieces to the success of the Clemson offense this year. With a couple openings in the outfield, lone JUCO transfer Spencer Rich should grab hold of one of them with his nice blend of power and speed. Among the freshman, class jewel OF Will Taylor (also a big time football recruit for Clemson) will likely miss the season after suffering a torn ACL in October for the Tigers’ football team. He was expected to go in the 1st round of this past year’s MLB Draft, but his commitment to play football scared teams off (he was eventually taken in the 19th round). Aside from Taylor, other impact freshman to watch are INF/OF Aries Samek and INF David Lewis.
The pitching staff must replace Keyshawn Askew and Davis Sharpe, but does return RHPs Mack Anglin and Nick Hoffmann. Hoffmann led the team in saves last year, but his command makes him a key candidate to take on a starter’s role this year, especially with LHP Geoffrey Gilbert returning to take over the closer role. RHP Ty Olenchuk made six starts during his first year on campus and would figure to be a candidate for the rotation this year. Longtime stalwart Mat Clark is gone after accumulating what I can only assume is three or four doctorate degrees at Clemson, but RHP Nick Clayton should aptly fill that role. RHP Rob Hughes is another proven relief arm returning for the Tigers this year. Caden Grice showed some promise on the mound a year ago and his role is bound to expand in 2022. Clemson did not bring in any transfer pitchers this year, but does welcome nine freshman arms (including two-way players) to campus. Among those, keep an eye on RHP Billy Barlow, LHP Rocco Reid, RHP Jay Dill, and RHP Casey Tallent.
2022 Projected Record: 34-22 (15-15)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
Game Dates: April 8, 9, 10
2021 Record: 27-25 (16-20) | 2021 RPI: 65
The Hokies haven’t posted a 30-win season since former coach Pete Hughes led the 2013 squad to a 40-22 record, which Hughes used to propel himself to a gig at Oklahoma. VT looked to be well on the way to that before a late season collapse. The Hokies will look to ride their offense to another 30-win campaign in 2022, and hopefully a return to an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2013, as well.
Speaking of the offense, they’re led by all-everything MLB Draft prospect OF Gavin Cross, who has a bunch of ACC Preseason Player of the Year credits. Unfortunately for the Hokies, they lose their next top three hitters from a year ago. SS Tanner Schobel also returns as an underrated shortstop in a league full of great players at the position. Beyond those two, though, there are a lot of question marks. OF Jack Hurley was a starter last year, but was way too strikeout prone to be relied on every game. OF Nick Biddison, who had a fantastic freshman year in 2018, will be relied on this year. VT brings in just one transfer for the lineup in James Madison OF Conor Hartigan, although he’s unlikely to match his production with the Dukes. Freshmen should have a major impact, including INFs Carson DeMartini, Christian Martin, and Tyler Dean.
The pitching staff has some major rework to do after losing their top four innings guys (and 41 starts) from last year. The good news is they do return seven arms who logged double-digit innings in 2021, so experience (even if limited) is there. LHP Ryan Okuda is the most experienced returning starter and a guy who pounds the zone, so you can expect him to take a weekend rotation job. Who gets the other two is anybody’s guess. RHP Graham Firoved has the most saves (3) of any returning arm. If he’s not given a look in the rotation, he’ll easily slot in as the team’s closer this year. LHP Matthew Siverling and RHP Griffin Green will provide additional experience returning to the bullpen - assuming neither gets a look at the rotation - although both players will need to show vast improvement over a year ago. Three transfer arms figure to contribute immediately: RHP Jordan Geber (Mount St. Mary’s), LHP Sean Fisher (Maryland), Kiernan Higgins (Shippensburg). Geber was a starter at Mount St. Mary’s and should get a look at the Hokies’ rotation, while Fisher and Higgins are bullpen guys. Higgins has exceptional stuff but next to no control. Among the freshmen, RHP Tyler Dean should get a bunch of looks, as should RHP Drue Hackenberg.
2022 Projected Record: 30-25 (11-19)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
Game Dates: April 14, 15, 16
2021 Record: 21-28 (10-23) | 2021 RPI: 112
Mike Gambino has had his highs and lows at BC since taking over in 2011, but he’s going to need his team to step up in 2022 if he hopes to make a second regional appearance (the Eagles made the Super Regionals in 2016).
Gone are five of the top six hitters from an offense that was the strength of the 2021 team, including 1st round MLB Draft pick Sal Frelick. BC does at least get their top power hitter back in INF Luke Gold, who is an All-ACC caliber player. Fellow infielder Vince Cimini also returns. He has a great eye at the plate, but minimal power which dampens his offensive impact. Two other players return who started over 20 games last year, but neither of them topped the Mendoza Line at the plate, so set expectations accordingly. Sixth-year grad transfer Rafe Chaumette from Trinity University mashed at the DIII level and should provide a nice lefty bat the order. There’s some talent in the returnees, for sure, but based on proven results the Eagles will need some solid contributions from their freshmen. The best guess for that is from local kid INF Sam McNulty.
BC must replace top starting pitching Emmet Sheehan, as well as fellow 2021 starter Alex Stiegler. They do get back RHP Mason Pelio, but control issues have plagued the one-time top recruit. If he can harness his pitches, he’s a top 3 round talent who could be the workhorse this rebuilt rotation needs to take pressure off the bullpen. LHPs Joe Vetrano and Charlie Coon return to lead the bullpen. Behind those three is a mix of youth, inexperience, and/or a lack of production. Sacred Heart transfer RHP Brendan Coffey should play a huge role in the bullpen as he saved 10 games a year ago for the Pioneers. Holy Cross transfer RHP Liam Dvorak was a 2019 All-Patriot League performer, but has struggled in the two years since. RHP Henry Leake (DIII Babson College) will add bullpen depth. Among the five freshman arms, RHP Sean Hard has the best chance to be an impact player. He was the New Jersey state Player of the Year in 2021 and a 20th round draft pick of the Yankees. Another freshman to keep an eye on is RHP Luke Delongchamp, if for nothing else than because I wanted to type that awesome name here.
2022 Projected Record: 24-30 (9-21)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
Game Dates: April 22, 23, 24
2021 Record: 28-22 (16-16) | 2021 RPI: 70
2021 was just the second full season under Dan McDonnell (started at Louisville in 2007) that the Cardinals didn’t win at least 41 games. Absurd.
This is going to be a difficult team to preview since they haven’t even posted a 2022 roster year. Absurd.
2022 will be another difficult year for Louisville after losing the 2021 #1 overall draft pick in Henry Davis, as well as a bevy of other players to the draft, graduation, and the transfer portal. Talent is always stacked on a Louisville roster, though, so don’t feel bad for them. SS Christian Knapczyk returns, as do OFs Cameron Masterman and Levi Usher. Masterman showed some pop last year, while Usher should have a bounceback year after a down 2021. INF Ben Metzinger should find a role given what he’s shown in limited opportunities in the past. C Dalton Rushing will also get an opportunity to shine with Davis no longer around. Among the freshmen I know about, watch out for INF Will Cook.
Like the lineup, the pitching staff was also hit hard by the draft and transfer market. LHP Luke Seed is back to lead the starting rotation. LHP Tate Kuehner threw a bunch of relief innings last year. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him get a look in the rotation given his stuff. RHP Kaleb Corbett tied for the team lead in saves last year and would figure to get the full-time closer role to himself this year, assuming of course he, too, doesn’t get a look as a starter. LHP Michael Prosecky has tantalizing stuff and worked as a starter as a true freshman in 2020, but struggled last year with control and effectiveness. LHP Carter Lohman is another guy who could have a huge role if the control clicks. Among the freshman arms, RHP Will Koger was a big time recruit who should get plenty of innings.
2022 Projected Record: 36-20 (16-14)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: May 6, 7, 8
2021 Record: 28-27 (18-18) | 2021 RPI: 46
The Heels lose Justice Thompson and Calbe Roberts, two of their top three hitters, but return some key pieces. OF Angel Zarate, C Thomas Frick, and SS Danny Serretti create a nice up-the-middle trio to build around. 3B Mac Horvath is another returning starter, while OF Tyler Causey has shown glimpses of promise in limited opportunities. JUCO transfer 1B Alberto Osuna should be an instant impact middle-of-the-order hitter. Among the freshmen, INF/OF Casey Cook should find a role on this team, while OF Vance Honeycutt is a day-one starter and should hit toward the top of the lineup.
On the mound, the Heels must replace top pitcher and workhorse Austin Love, as well as the highly talented but injury prone Max Alba. The bullpen figures to be UNC’s strength. Top reliever RHP Gage Gillian returns for his 11th year in Chapel Hill and will again lead the bullpen. RHP Nik Pry tied Gillian for the team lead in saves and is also back, as is LHP Caden O’Brien who notched three saves in 2021. None of those three are your prototypical big-armed closer, but all figure to resume heavy usage bullpen roles. LHP Shawn Rapp didn’t log a save last year, but he’s another high usage bullpen arm that’s back. Seeing a trend? RHP Connor Ollio is yet another returning bullpen arm who logged over 30.0 innings a year ago. The starting rotation is the real question mark. Three transfers figure to factor in there. RHP Shaddon Peavyhouse (Coastal Carolina), LHP Brandon Schaeffer (WVU Potomac State), and RHP Connor Bovair (Siena) may well be the rotation. For returning options for the weekend rotation, RHPs Max Carlson and Caleb Cozart (brother of NC State freshman C Jacob Cozart) made seven and five starts a year ago, respectively, while LHP Will Sandy has 20 career starts under his belt.
2022 Projected Record: 35-21 (15-15)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: May 13, 14, 15
2021 Record: 33-22 (16-17) | 2021 RPI: 21
Chris Pollard is one helluva coach. Let’s leave it at that.
Gone from the lineup are Joey Loperfido, Peter Matt, Ethan Murray, Chase Cheek, and Erikson Nichols. Back are OF R.J. Schreck, 1B Chris Crabtree, 3B Graham Pauley, and 2B Wil Hoyle. A few transfers were brought in to add depth reinforcements, but it’s the freshman class that holds the promise for both the ceiling for this year’s team and the long-term prognosis for the program. SS Alex Mooney will immediately insert himself in the starting lineup. Had he not had such a strong commitment to Duke, he would have easily been drafted a year ago by a MLB club. OF Devin Obee is a multi-tool player who should have a significant role, if not a starting one, from day one. C Andrew Yu is a fantastic defensive catcher.
The Blue Devils return RHP Cooper Stinson and LHP Luke Fox to form the basis of what should be a strong weekend rotation. RHP Marcus Johnson served as the Duke closer last year, but will get a look at the starting rotation in 2022. The presence of RHP Jimmy Loper, RHP Henry Williams, and LHP Matt Dockman make moving Johnson to the rotation an easier move. RHP Billy Seidl impressed a year ago and should find a more prominent role on this year’s squad. RHP Josh Nifong and LHP Josh Allen provide another pair of returning arms who each topped 20.0 innings on the mound in 2021. Adding to that solid foundation is transfer RHP John Natoli (Cornell), who was a 2019 All-Ivy League starting pitcher. Freshman LHP Jonathan Santucci is an instant impact player who has electric stuff. Fellow freshman RHP Ryan Higgins should also find a role on the team despite the amount of returning talent. RHP David Boisvert is a bit of a wildcard considering how little he pitched over his last two years of high school.
2022 Projected Record: 34-21 (15-15)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes
Game Dates: May 19, 20, 21
2021 Record: 20-27 (10-22) | 2021 RPI: 88
Under Tom Walter, Wake Forest is all about power: power hitting and big-armed power pitching. Despite some big time losses to the roster, that’s sure not to change much in 2022.
Bobby Seymour, Shane Muntz, and Chris Lanzilli combined to hit 45 home runs last year, and all are now playing ball elsewhere (Seymour and Muntz in the pros, Lanzilli at Arkansas). Turning to the Deacs this year are SS Michael Turconi, OF Lucas Costello, INF Brock Wilken, and C/OF Brendan Tinsman. Wilken is a masher himself, hitting 17 long balls last year, while Turconi, Costello, and Tinsman each have the power to notch double-digit home runs themselves. There are a few transfers to add depth - C/OF Mark Black (Chipola CC), INF Zach Sehgal (Stanford), OF Kyle Joye (Chapman) - but none are obvious instant impact contributors to the offense. The freshman class might be a different story. SS Danny Corona is a day-one starter talent, while OF Nick Kurtz and UTIL Elie Kligman have impressive skills. Corona was a 16th round pick of the Pirates in last year’s MLB Draft, while Kligman went in the 20th round to the Nationals. The other five position players in the freshman class (C Gio Cueto, INF Tommy Hawke, C Chris Katz, INF Troy McGirt, and OF William Ray) each have enough talent to potentially handle significant roles for the Deacs this year.
RHP Rhett Lowder is the lone returning weekend starter for Wake Forest in 2022. If he cuts down on the home runs allowed, he could have a breakout year. Likely joining Lowder in the rotation is RHP Reed Mascolo, who made seven starts last year. RHP Eric Adler, RHP Teddy McGraw, RHP Camden Minacci, and LHP Brennan Oxford all return, each having made 17 or more appearances in 2021. Each pitcher has a solid skillset, but each also has serious control issues. That’s the paradox you encounter as a college program going after power arms. Several transfers will try and add to the depth of the pitching staff. LHP Zach Grace had limited appearances at Iona, but showed well last year in three starts there. RHP Gabe Golob did not pitch in 2021 and only made two starts in 2020 at NYU, but he was outstanding in those two outings (14.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 23 K). Of the five freshman arms, LHP Josh Hartle is a stud. He would have been a very high draft pick this past year if not for his firm commitment to Wake. Expect him to be a weekend starter by the time ACC play rolls around, if not on opening weekend.
2022 Projected Record: 34-22 (12-18)
NCAA Tournament Bound?: No
Projected ACC Standings:
- Notre Dame (19-11)
- NC State (18-12)
- Florida State (18-12)
- Louisville (16-14)
- Clemson (15-15)
- Wake Forest (12-18)
- Boston College (9-21)
- Miami (19-11)
- Virginia (18-12)
- Georgia Tech (15-15)
- Duke (15-15)
- North Carolina (15-15)
- Virginia Tech (11-19)
- Pittsburgh (10-20)