College Baseball Countdown: 50 Days to Go- Clemson’s Offense


Photo Clemson Athletics

It was a strange year for Clemson in 2015. At certain points of the season, they looked capable of winning a regional, and at other times, they fell well short of even looking like a team that should be in a regional at all.

In the end, they ended up more or less splitting the difference. They got into a regional, in large part on the back of a late-season sweep of Florida State, but ultimately bowed out of the Fullerton Regional pretty meekly, with losses to Arizona State and Pepperdine.

All throughout their roller coaster season, the squad’s pitching staff did much of the heavy lifting. Matthew Crownover and Zack Erwin were a fantastic one-two punch at the front of the rotation, and that kept the Tigers at least competitive in two of the three games in each weekend series.

In 2016, new head coach Monte Lee’s first season, it would appear that it will be the offense’s turn to take the lead after the departures of Crownover and Erwin.

It says something about the sheer offensive talent on the Clemson roster that veteran contributors like Tyler Krieger, Steven Duggar, and Tyler Slaton can move on and there are still high expectations surrounding the unit.

Much of those expectations come thanks to Chris Okey, the team’s catcher. As a sophomore last season, Okey emerged as one of the best hitters in the entire ACC. He put up a .315/.389/.545 slash line with 16 doubles, 12 home runs, and 57 RBI, good enough to be named a First-Team All-American by the NCBWA and Perfect Game. He spent the summer with Collegiate Team USA, and coming out of the summer, named him the #21 prospect in the nation.

Reed Rohlman is another accomplished player Clemson will lean on. Rohlman led the team in hitting at .356, in doubles with 17, and RBI with 58. That’s not bad for a supposed second fiddle in the order. Shortstop Eli White is another key piece as well. Last season, he hit .297 with a .380 on-base percentage and 11 stolen bases. He’s a nice table-setter to have back.

Robert Jolly is a bit of a wildcard. It took him a while to break through, but by the end of the season, all the way through the postseason, he was in the lineup every day. In 25 games (12 starts), he hit .351. Perhaps you can point to the small sample size skewing results, but Lee and his staff will certainly be excited to find out if there is, in fact, more to it than that.

Then, the Tigers will also feature some super-talented players who haven’t quite fully broken out yet. One such player is Weston Wilson. He possesses fantastic raw tools, but he hasn’t quite put it all together in either of his seasons to this point. He hit just .251 a year ago, but flashed solid power with five home runs. Chase Pinder is another such example. He hit .256 last year, but he showed great plate discipline, as evidenced by his 22/21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 160 at-bats.

With so many contributors coming back, there aren’t a ton of opportunities for fresh faces to break through, but freshman Grant Cox, ranked the 99th-best freshman in the nation by Perfect Game in their top 350, has a chance to do so at second base.

This isn’t a typical first-year coaching job for Monte Lee. Usually, new coaches take over when the circumstances are pretty bleak, but Lee’s team has talent all over the field, and in no way will that be more apparent than in the offensive output his team produces.



About the Author

Joseph Healy
Growing up in Houston, Joe Healy was introduced to college baseball at a young age, and it was love at first sight. Like most good love stories, that love has only grown throughout the years. When he's not at the ballpark, he enjoys tacos, college football during the fall, and the spectacle that is American politics. He holds a B.A. in political science from Sam Houston State University and a Master's in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville.