The 2024 college baseball season will be here before you know it, and so we’re all properly prepared, let’s take a look at the group that will be the 2024 Wolfpack Baseball team. Here’s how we’ll try to do this:
- Part I took a look back at the 2023 season and the players who are no longer with the program.
- Part II looked at the returnees from that 2023 team.
- Part III will look at the newcomers for 2024.
- Part IV will look at the non-conference schedule.
- Part V will look at ACC opponents.
The Wolfpack crushed it on the recruiting trail. No doubt, NC State lost some talent from a year ago as discussed in Part I of this series, but the coaching staff had some major wins in the offseason.
First, the Pack only lost one incoming recruit to the MLB Draft (RHP Landen Maroudis - 4th Round, Blue Jays), although they also lost one transfer commitment to the draft (RHP Brett Banks, UNCW - 11th Round, Mets), but everyone knew that was going to happen so it’s hard to count it. When the 2023 MLB Draft started, NC State was looking at potentially losing as many as five high school recruits, so the fact that all but one made it to campus is a huge win for the Pack. Not to mention that Noah Soles, Logan Whitaker, and Matt Willadsen all going undrafted to find their way back to Raleigh in 2024 is another draft win for the coaching staff.
Before moving forward, it is worth mentioning that two commitments, infielders Brandon Crabtree and Gabriel Simmons, wound up at Gaston College, a JUCO program in Dallas, NC, where former Wolfpack OF Trey Truitt played last year. Truitt, by the way, has transferred to UNCG this year where he’s expected to start for the Spartans this year, but don’t let me get too far off track. Crabtree enrolled at NC State in the fall, but transferred before the start of the spring semester. Simmons never made it to campus. Both could conceivably find their way to Raleigh in the future, but the impact of their loss on the 2024 season is negligible.
The freshman class is loaded with talent (more on that below) and the coaching staff went out and added six strategic transfers, including three plug-and-play everyday starters. NC State’s 2024 lineup could feature as many as six fresh faces. The new arms breaking into the weekend rotation ahead of the returning group is a taller task, but they should have a profound impact on the overall pitching staff making it a more talented and deeper group than we’ve seen in, well, maybe ever.
All told, D1Baseball.com ranked NC State’s freshman class as the 5th best in the country and the transfer class as the 12th best. For comparison, NC State ranked 19th and 11th, respectively, in 2023 for those rankings.
Here are all the 19 newcomers for NC State in 2024:
- Heath Andrews - FR - RHP
- Jake Bechtel - FR - OF/RHP
- Brandon Butterworth - JR - INF
- Cooper Consiglio - FR - LHP
- Jacob Dudan - FR - RHP
- Hollis Fanning - SR - RHP
- Josh Hogue - SO - OF/INF
- Jaxon Lucas - FR - RHP/INF
- Alec Makarewicz - SR - 3B
- Chance Mako - FR - RHP
- Ryan Marohn - FR - LHP
- Robert Nedry - FR - INF
- Luke Nixon - FR - INF
- Garrett Pennington - SR - 1B
- Alex Sosa - FR - C
- Shane Van Dam - SO - RHP
- Camden Wimbish - FR - RHP/C
- Peyton Young - FR - INF
- Christopher Zupito - FR - RHP
As usual, let’s hit the transfers first since transfers are typically brought in with the intent of, you know, contributing immediately. For those of you who didn’t count when you read the list of players - or skipped reading it entirely - there are six transfers this year.
Butterworth is a right-handed hitting middle infielder who spent his first two collegiate seasons at Western Carolina. He started 71 games over his two years in Cullowhee, including as the everyday second baseman in 2023. Butterworth is expected to slide over to shortstop with the Wolfpack, but was blocked from that position at WCU thanks to the presence of Pascanel Ferreras, a 20th round draft pick of the Astros last year. Over his total 84 games with the Catamounts spanning 332 PA, Butterworth hit .300/.371/.455 with 16 2B, 7 3B, 5 HR, 55 R, 46 RBI, 8.7 BB%, 139 K%, and went 16-for-17 on stolen bases. He notched 19 multi-hit games last year and really excelled in the New England Collegiate League last summer (.309/.415/.436, 13.9 BB%, 10.8 K%). The Monroe, NC, native was a late bloomer at Sun Valley High School, where the lack of a 2020 season really hurt his college recruiting. With his contact-oriented approach, wheels, and baserunning acumen, Butterworth could be the leadoff man for the Pack.
Fanning is an interesting addition for a deep and experienced State bullpen. The dude is physically imposing standing at 6’8, 225 lbs. Kevin Keatts could probably use him for a few rebounds and, at the very least, five extra fouls given the way that ACC officiating has been to his teams of late. A Tennessee transfer, Fanning was a project recruit for the Volunteers who produced incredibly well last year in limited time (1.26 ERA, 14.1 IP, 5.4 BB%, 42.9 K%). The Vols had a loaded pitching staff last year, but even so, Fanning clearly deserved more innings than he got. He’ll get that chance to show off his low-90’s heater and complements, and if Fanning can maintain that level of control that he displayed at Tennessee and again last summer in the Appalachian League (2.12 ERA, 17.0 IP, 4.2 BB%, 29.2 K%), then he’s going to get his fair share of innings in 2024.
A native of North Palm Beach, Florida, Hogue is a JUCO transfer with three years of eligibility remaining. The 6’2, 192 lbs left-handed hitter spent last year at Santa Fe College where he was a 1st Team All-Conference honoree, batting leadoff and playing left field for the Saints. Hogue is expected to battle Chase Nixon for the starting left field gig for the Wolfpack this spring. Last year, Hogue hit .412/.481/.608 with 12 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 65 R, 41 RBI, 6.5 BB%, 12.1 K%, and 11-of-14 SB. If he can’t win a spot on the grass, Hogue is a candidate for the DH spot thanks to his bat.
Like Hogue, Makarewicz is a Florida native with pop in his bat. A-Mak, as he is better known, sure ruffled some feathers on his way out of Greenville last summer. The East Carolina transfer started every game for the Pirates over the last two years and all told started 183 games in an ECU career that spanned 203 games. During that run, the switch-hitter stroked .272/.352/.467 with 36 2B, 5 3B, 28 HR, 127 R, 128 RBI, 9.8 BB%, 20.8 K%, and was 7-of-12 on stolen bases. Makarewicz is expected to step into the starting third base role for the Wolfpack, although he does have plenty of prior experience playing corner outfield. On the dirt at the hot corner, A-Mak is a consistent defender, with a knack for making the quick-twitch difficult play. He produced a .963 fielding percentage while playing the vast majority of his time at third base. While Makarewicz is better from the left side of the plate, he’s productive enough from both sides to maintain his switch-hitting ways in Raleigh, but he is an incredible streaky hitter - albeit one who is seemingly impossible to retire when he’s on.
Pennington, who is absolutely going to be a fan favorite, started off his career at DII Central Missouri before transferring to Wichita State last year. For UCM, he primarily played outfield and hit .377/.462/.680 over his three-year Mules career with 31 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 83 R, 78 RBI, 8.0 BB%, 15.9 K%, and was 10-of-17 on stolen bases. He earned 2022 3rd Team DII All-American honors his third and final year there. Last year with the Shockers, Pennington hit .307/.372/.560 with 12 2B, 15 HR, 47 R, 55 RBI, 5.5 BB%, and 15.4 K%. He also showed off some impressive wheels for a first baseman, being successful in 11-of-14 stolen base attempts. The Kansas native is expected to step in immediately as the Wolfpack’s everyday first baseman and provide the lineup with plenty of pop from his right-handed swing.
Van Dam is a transfer from DIII SUNY-Cortland where he was a multi-sport athlete, playing for the Red Dragons football team in addition to competing on the diamond. He was the starting QB on his high school’s state championship gridiron squad while also winning a state title in baseball. The dude is just a winner, plain and simple. Last year for Cortland, Van Dam posted a 2-1 record with 3 saves over 15 games, including 3 starts. He tossed 29.1 innings of 3.07 ERA ball with a 11.0 BB% and 36.4 K%. A bit of a late bloomer in terms of baseball having only played two years of varsity ball in high school, Van Dam’s been a quick riser going from DIII to the Cape Cod League to the ACC in one year. That’s nuts. It’s easy to see why, though, when you watch him. Since focusing on baseball, he’s added muscle to his frame and his fastball was in the mid-90s in the fall. It’ll be interesting to see how the coaching staff brings him along, whether as a midweek starter with eyes towards a rotation job next year or a weekend reliever role.
Now on to the freshmen...
Andrews is a 6’3 righty from Fincastle, Virginia, a town just north of Roanoke. From an NC State family, Andrews was a talented two-way player at the prep level, earning 2nd Team All-State honors as a shortstop in 2022 before being a 1st Team All-State honoree as a pitcher in 2023. He was a top 20 player in the commonwealth last year and features a low-to-mid 90’s fastball that he complements with a slider and change. He missed the fall due to injury, but is an arm with a lot of upside. He has a slower motion with a lot of late arm acceleration from a low 3⁄4 slot. He figures to be a relief arm in 2024, but with starter potential moving forward.
Bechtel is a massive 6’5, 230 lbs two-way player from Palm Harbor, Florida. A two-sport star who was also a three-year starting quarterback for the East Lake football team, Bechtel was a later addition to the Wolfpack recruiting class, at least as far as baseball recruiting goes, committing in June of last year. On the diamond, he almost exclusively played outfield with very little time on the mound, but he stood out on the mound for the Pack in the fall with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball. This could be a redshirt year for Bechtel as the Pack have plenty of depth in the outfield and in the pitching staff. His potential is all over the map, but the combination of size and athleticism gives him a high ceiling.
A high school teammate of Bechtel’s at East Lake, Consiglio doesn’t have the same monster build, but he has a four-pitch mix with a low 90’s heater from his high 3⁄4 delivery that jumps out of his hand. His repertoire, all good offerings which he’ll carry forward at the college level, will allow him to see innings early on this season despite a pretty full pitching staff. He’ll be a bullpen feature this year, although could contend for some midweek starts, and will battle for a weekend rotation gig in 2025.
Three Jacobs simply weren’t enough, so State went out and got another one in Dudan, a 6’2 righty from Huntersville. Compared to the rest of the class, Dudan was an lower ranked recruit, but he has already made the most of his time in Raleigh. With callouts from publications like D1 Baseball and Baseball America, Dudan hit S&C hard and has put on almost 15 pounds since he got to campus. The results have seen his fastball jump from occasionally touching 90 to sitting in the mid-90’s. He also mixes in a dirty slider that is a true out pitch. For now, that two pitch mix will keep him relegated to reliever duty, but if he can develop a changeup, he has huge upside.
Lucas is one of State’s top rated freshman for 2024, and one of those that the Pack was lucky to not see drafted last summer. From Garner, he was a two-time All-State selection and the top ranked shortstop in the state coming out of high school and an overall Top 125 player nationally. Despite being much more highly regarded as a shortstop, the 6’3 Lucas is more likely to make his first impact with the Wolfpack on the mound. He’s still developing as a pitcher, but the kid is a flat out ballplayer who is likely to be a two-way player during his time in Raleigh.
Mako was a Top 75 national player coming out of high school, and the fact that he made it to Raleigh was a minor miracle. He already possesses a mid-90’s heater from a 6’7 frame that has plenty of room to add muscle. As weird as this is to say with a guy ranked that high with a fastball already that good, Mako is a bit of a blank canvas; truly a pitching coach’s dream. His slider and changeup need some work, but he has ace potential if he can even make those average offerings. He may see a midweek start or two this year, but he’ll be a very valuable bullpen piece in 2024 with eyes towards a weekend rotation role in 2025.
Marohn is a 6’2 lefty from Chantilly, Virginia. A 1st Team All-State player in both 2022 and 2023, Marohn is a Top 350 player nationally. He was selected by Cleveland in the 20th round of last year’s draft, but thankfully didn’t sign and instead made his way to campus. He features your standard three-pitch arsenal with his fastball sitting in the low-90’s, although it’s bumped as high as 94 in the past. MLB teams aren’t typically in the game of drafting untalented players, so he clearly has high upside, but likely fits in as a bullpen option in 2024. Without a lot of proven southpaws on the roster, the opportunity is there for Marohn - and Consiglio, too - to carve out rather significant roles this year.
Nedry is one of four freshman who were prep shortstops and one of four freshman from the state of Florida, although he’s the only intersection of those two groups. From Lighthouse Point, Nedry does have the ability to play all over the infield, although he’ll likely slot in as a depth piece in 2024 for what may end up being a redshirt year. The lefty hitter looks more like a third baseman long-term. With zero returning starters for the Wolfpack infield, though, anything can happen.
If you didn’t get enough of hearing about Trot Nixon being the dad of an NC State player last year, just wait... he has two sons on the team now. Luke Nixon isn’t quite the spitting image of his dad like his brother, Chase, but Luke was the higher regarded recruit out of high school of the two. Like his dad and brother, Luke is a lefty hitter, but has a smaller frame, albeit with more athleticism. He was a 1st Team All-State player in 2023 at New Hanover High School and has the skills to stick as an up-the-middle defender for the Pack. He should play a prominent role in 2024, most likely at second base, and has garnered some high praise from Elliott Avent, with State’s skipper comparing him to former Pack standout Tyler McDonough.
Sosa is a player that many expected to not make it to Raleigh, but he affirmed his commitment to the Wolfpack ahead of last year’s MLB Draft and went through unselected. The 6’1, 207 pound lefty hitter has an immediate impact bat and looks to be State’s catcher of the future. He’ll likely serve in the same role that Cannon Peebles did for the Pack last year, DHing most days and spelling Jacob Cozart behind the plate on others, before taking over full-time behind the dish in 2025. From Viera, Florida, Sosa is a close friend of classmate Nedry and was a Top 100 recruit a year ago.
Wimbish was viewed as a catcher and a Top 500 recruit nationally, including the #3 catcher in the state. Although he’s listed as a two-way player, Wimbish is expected to mainly pitch for the Wolfpack. The 6’2, 233 pounder from Locust has a big arm and sits in the low-to-mid-90’s while also having a hard breaking curveball. It’s a combo that has “closer” written all over it, but if he adds a third pitch to the mix, he could have an even higher upside.
Young is another athletic lefty swinging prep shortstop. He’s likely looking at a redshirt year in 2024, but the Hickory native has a bright future. Young was a three-sport stud in high school, also playing football and basketball, earning All-Conference honors for Saint Stephens in all three sports. He also pitched in high school, but is expected to focus on the field in Raleigh. He has a nice swing with a bit of pop in the bat with an ability to hit to all fields.
Zupito is the lone player on the Wolfpack’s 2024 roster from the state of Pennsylvania. Hailing from Drexel Hill, Zupito is a 6’2 righty has an almost sidearm delivery that produces a high-80’s fastball with plenty of arm-side run, as you’d expect. He complements it with a slider, knucklecurve, and changeup. The off-speed offerings need some refinement, but with his different look and a bevy of pitches, he could carve our a niche role for the Pack in 2024.