MLB's raid still leaves Tigers with talented, deep 2014 recruiting class

Upstate star K.J. Bryant, Clemson 'legacy' signees Coan McAlpine, Charlie Barnes highlight incoming group

K.J. Bryant (Perfect Game photo)

K.J. Bryant (Perfect Game photo)

Having paid its dues to Major League Baseball on the both the coming and going fronts, Clemson's 2014 baseball signing class is still shaping up as a good one - even without first-rounder Michael Chavis and likely New York Yankees' signee Austin DeCarr.

Jack Leggett, Bradley LeCroy and Dan Pepicelli have assembled a class of a dozen players, with a heavy emphasis on in-state and Atlanta area recruiting.

The Tigers' 2014 class, which signed last November and will enroll in August, includes a pair of lefthanded pitchers with strong Clemson family ties - Coan McAlpine of Hickory, N.C. and Charlie Barnes of Sumter, S.C.

Following is a look at the next generation of Tigers:

Charlie Barnes, 6-2, 160, LHP, Sumter, S.C.

With both parents and grandparents Clemson graduates, Sumter's ace lefthander never had a doubt where he wanted to go to college. In two spectacular seasons playing for coach Brooks Shumake's Gamecocks, Charlie Barnes cemented his future as a Tiger.

"Talking with (pitching coach) Joe Norris, Joe just raves about him," said Shumake, a former Clemson infielder and .317 career hitter for Bill Wilhelm. "His ability to control his pitches and hit his spots is what separates him. Coach Norris compares him a lot to (South Carolina's) Jordan Montgomery, who I had the pleasure of coaching here."

As a sophomore at Sumter, Barnes had a 5-0 record and a 1.62 ERA, with 62 strikeouts in 44 innings. As a junior, he improved to 9-1 with a 0.90 ERA, with 93 strikeouts in 70 innings.

He was a Perfect Game All-Atlantic Region performer in 2014.

K.J. Bryant, 6-1, 160, OF, Greenville, S.C.

Considered to be the state of South Carolina's top senior outfielder, Bryant flipped his commitment from South Carolina and signed with Clemson last fall.

He batted over .400 during the past two seasons at Wade Hampton High, while earning 2014 Perfect Game All-America second team honors, and is also a member of the PG All-Atlantic Region team.

Paul Campbell, 6-1, 170, RHP, Revere, Mass.

A teammate of Clemson signee and New York Yankees' draftee Austin DeCarr at the Salisbury School, Campbell earned Perfect Game All-Northeast Region first-team honors for one of the top pitching staffs at the prep school level.

Ranked as the No. 10 player in Massachusetts, Campbell transferred to Salisbury from Malden Catholic.

Some notes from his scouting report in the New England Baseball Journal:

'At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Campbell might not have the prototypical build for a major-league starter, but he has plenty of arm speed and a nice assortment of pitches. His fastball sits in the high-80s, while he is able to mix in a cut fastball, slider and changeup.'

“I didn’t really get as much playing time at Malden Catholic as I thought I could have gotten,” Campbell told the publication. “I guess the first time I really noticed that this is something I could pursue as a career was last summer. I was talking to Clemson and those big schools, some pro scouts. It’s been a big year for me."

Michael Goren, 6-3, 190, RHP, Westbury, N.Y.

Michael Goren is an under-the-radar prospect, and he likes it that way.

He's determined that Clemson fans will be in for a pleasant surprise.

"I'd like to remain (a secret)," Goren recently told Newsday. "I love it. My coach (at Jericho High), my dad and I like to think of ourselves as the people no one knows. When I go down to Clemson, kids will be going, 'Who are you?' "

According coach Ryan Crawford, "when Goren pitches, he makes people talk."

"He's got this power changeup and he can hit 91," Crawford said. "He's a special kid. He throws strikes and he's smart. He's the kid no one knows about."

Before injuring a hamstring last season, Goren went 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. Later, he closed out his final three games with his travel team with a no-hitter, a one-hitter and a 16- strikeout performance.

Goren told Newsday that while Clemson recruited him as an off-speed pitcher, "I made the jump they were expecting, so it might be different."

Cody Hardage, 6-5, 210, C, Johns Creek, Ga.

A tall righthander who plays tight end for the Johns Creek High football team, Hardage has been playing baseball since he was a six-year-old.

Through the years, he's established himself as one of the Atanta area's top players, earning Perfect Game All-America second-team and Connie Mack World Champion honors.

He picked Clemson over Georgia Tech.

Robert Jolly, 5-11, 180, C, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Rated as one of the state's top high school catchers, Jolly originally committed to Liberty and coach Jim Toman before flipping to Clemson before signing day last fall.

He starred for four seasons at Carolina Forest High in Myrtle Beach, and batted .408 during his junior season while making the Sun-Times Toast of the Coast team. He also had an offer from College of Charleston, among others.

Coan McAlpine, 6-4, 210, LHP, Hickory, N.C.

Like fellow lefty Charlie Barnes, he's a Clemson 'legacy' addition to the Tiger baseball program. A fourth-generation Tiger, his grandfather was one of the founding members of IPTAY.

I’ve been working on a dream for 13 years now – since I was five years old, I knew I was going to put on that Tiger uniform and go to Omaha to bring home the national championship," he said after signing with Jack Leggett's program last fall. "That’s what I plan to do.”

With a 90+ MPH fastball and rated as the No. 2 lefthander in North Carolina, McAlpine projected as a first-half draft pick before affirming his intention to play college baseball.

His two-season high school totals include a 24-1 record and a 1.24 ERA.

The valedictorian of his high school class, McAlpine will study biochemistry at Clemson.

Chase Pinder, 6-0, 165, INF-OF, Poquoson, Va.

Ranked as one of Virginia's top prep players, Pinder picked Clemson over Duke and Virginia Tech, where his older brother, Chad, was a starter at third base. As a junior, he batted .463 with seven triples and had a .701 slugging percentage.

Perfect Game's scouting notes:

'Slender young athletic build. 6.71 runner, charges hard in the outfield, athletic actions, can improve footwork on throws, developing arm strength. Also plays middle infield. Right handed hitter, straight stance, limited shift to contact, simple line drive swing, short to the ball, contact approach, all fields, good game approach and contact, will improve offensively with more strength. Good student.'

Adam Renwick, 6-1, 160, SS, Spartanburg, S.C.

The first player to commit to Clemson's 2014 class, Renwick has considered himself a Tiger since his freshman year at Dorman High.

He was a 2013 Perfect Game high honorable mention All-American, and a 2014 second-team All-Atlantic pick.

Derek Vail, 6-4, 190, RHP, Santa Fe JC, Fla.

A product of the same Florida junior college program that sent Shane Kennedy to Clemson, Vail signed with Santa Fe Junior College out of Buchholz High in Gainesville, Fla.

As a freshman he was 5-5 with a 3.11 ERA in 46 innings pitched.

Drew Wharton, 6-3, 200, OF, Suwanee, Ga.

Like several of his classmates, Wharton was being projected as a possible fifth to seventh-round MLB pick before opting for college.

He earned Perfect Game All-Southeast first-team honors after batting .351 against region competition at Peachtree Ridge High, and also had a 2.74 ERA and three saves as a relief pitcher.

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Comments » 2

urangefevr writes:

Always nice to see talented players, FYI Dalton Ewing is listed as a signee with Coastal Carolina per Perfect Game.

cwby writes:

All skinny players with no power, typical Leggett.

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