#37 Duke Baseball 2018 Preview

Duke Blue Devils
Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #9 ACC
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It was not surprising that Duke took a step back last year. After making the NCAA Tournament in 2015, Duke had to reload much of their lineup and pitching staff. As a result, the Blue Devils went just 12-18 in ACC play. But this is a new year and Coach Chris Pollard has just about everybody returning. All nine regular starters in the field are back and so are the three regular starting pitchers and closer Jack Labosky. With so much experience returning, Duke figures to make a significant jump up the ACC standings.
2017: 30-28, 12-18
2017 Postseason: None
Coach: Chris Pollard
Key Departed Players:
Key Returning Players:
Jimmy Herron, OF, .326 BA, 5 HR, 39 RBI
Kennie Taylor, OF, .314 BA, 2 HR, 22 RBI
Michael Smiciklas, OF, .302 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI
Griffin Conine, OF, .298 BA, 13 HR, 56 RBI
Zack Kone, IF, .291 BA, 2 HR, 28 RBI
Jack Labosky, IF, .275 BA, 6 HR, 43 RBI
Ryan Day, P, 3.30 ERA, 73.2 IP, 43 SO
Mitch Stallings, P, 4.50 ERA, 76.0 IP, 74 SO
The biggest improvement is needed on the mound. Ryan Day was the most productive starting pitcher last year, going 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA. Mitch Stallings boasted a 4.50 ERA and fellow regular starter Adam Laskey was way up at 6.83. Laskey did have his moments during his freshman campaign though and he can certainly emerge as a much more consistent player in 2018. Griffin Conine leads the deep group of hitters. He batted .298 with 13 homeruns and 56 RBIs as a sophomore. And Conine is surrounded by plenty of talent. Jimmy Herron, Kenie Taylor and Michael Smiciklas all hit over .300 last season. With some speed on the base paths from Herron, Zack Kone and Max Miller and a little more power from Jack Labosky, this Duke team should have enough firepower to compete in the tough ACC and do enough to get to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament