#9 North Carolina State Baseball Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Overall Rank: #9
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
North Carolina State College Baseball Top 44 Team Preview
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North Carolina State finds themselves in unchartered waters. For the first time in program history they have high expectations from the start of the season. This squad has tons of talent and is poised to make a run in the crowded ACC and attempt to stake their claim as college baseball’s best team.

2012: 43-20, 19-11
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Elliott Avent

Field Players:
The leader of the Wolfpack is sophomore sensation Trea Turner. The stud shortstop started in all 63 games as a freshman and hit an impressive .336. He led the team with 72 runs and 57 stolen bases. He smashed five homeruns and is truly a five tool player. His on base percentage was a staggering .432, good for second best on the team. Turner has now had an offseason to improve his already sweet swing and become faster and stronger. He also has a year of valuable experience under his belt. Turner’s bat will intimidate opposing pitchers and help his teammates be more productive. The nation’s best shortstop will look to carry this team to the top of the baseball world this year.

Fellow super sophomore Carlos Rodon is a highly decorated pitcher and the ace of this rotation. With Rodon as the anchor, this team can compete with anyone. The powerful lefty owns a perfect 9-0 career record and a sparkling 1.57 ERA. In his 16 starts as a freshman he worked through 114.2 innings, allowed just 71 hits, fanned 135 batters, while walking a minuscule 41. Rodon held opponents to a pitiful .176 batting average and surrendered just two homeruns.  This season Rodon is looking to pick up exactly where he left off and dominate teams as he leads the Wolfpack pitching rotation.  Every time he is on the hill, North Carolina State feels they will be victorious.

Who to Watch:
Sophomore outfielder Jake Fincher has proven to be a productive player and a legitimate offensive threat. He started in 57 games a season ago after gaining his opportunity by replacing an injured starter. Fincher never looked back and terrorized opponents to the tune of a .300 batting average, seven doubles, and 16 stolen bases. The speedster should benefit greatly from an offseason of strength and conditioning. If his sophomore campaign is as productive as his first, this team will make a deep run. If he gets even better, this team could be competing for a national title.

Final Projection:
The Wolfpack are one of three teams to boast more than one First Team All-American. Expectations could not be higher this season. This squad will rely on many young studs, which makes them difficult to predict. They could explode, all improving their game over the offseason and become one of the best teams in baseball. Or they could crack under the pressure. As North Carolina State looks to make a deep run their youth could hurt them, but do not bet against this team because they are as talented as anyone.
Projected Postseason: CWS

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Trea Turner, SS, 259
Hits: Trea Turner, SS, 87
Home Runs: Trea Turner, SS, 5
RBIs: Trea Turner, SS, 43
Runs: Trea Turner, SS, 72
Stolen Bases: Trea Turner, SS, 57

Wins: Carlos Rodon, LHP, 9
Innings: Carlos Rodon, LHP, 114.2
Strikeouts: Carlos Rodon, LHP, 135
Saves:  Chris Overman, RHP, 6


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