#3 North Carolina State Baseball 2014 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
#3 North Carolina State Baseball 2014 Preview
North Carolina State Team Page


North Carolina State made it to the College World Series last season, breaking a 45-year drought.  After a slow start to the season, the Wolfpack really got things going in late March, winning 24 of their last 27 regular season games.  They stayed hot in the postseason, losing just once in an 18 inning game during the ACC Championship Tournament, and swept both the Regional and Super Regional.  This season the Wolfpack return the core of last year’s team, led by consensus All-American’s and top draft prospects Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner.

2013: 50-16, 19-10
2013 Postseason: CWS
Coach: Elliott Avent

Field Players:
Trea Turner is the leader in the field.  Turner is back for his junior season after putting up some monster numbers in his first two seasons with the Wolfpack.  Last season, Turner hit .368 with seven home runs and 42 RBIs.  He also drew 38 walks for an on base percentage of .455 and stole 30 bases.  The stolen bases are down from his freshman year when he led the NCAA with 57 stolen bases, but that can be attributed some to the fact that Turner missed games with an injury last season.  A quartet of classmates will join him.  Jake Fincher and Jake Armstrong are back in the outfield after hitting .313 with 29 RBIs and .266 with 30 RBIs, respectively.  Armstrong was very efficient at getting on base, drawing 30 walks and had 21 hit by pitches for an on base percentage of .440.  Brett Austin returns behind the plate after hitting .251 with two home runs and 37 RBIs and Logan Ratledge will join Turner in the middle infield spots after hitting .250 with 17 RBI’s.  The only other player back who saw consistent playing time last year was Will Nance.  Nance hit .205 with a home run and eight RBIs last year in 73 at bats.  NC State will look for some newcomers to play key roles.  Freshman Preston Palmiero, the son of former big leaguer Rafael, should start at first base and freshman Andrew Knizner is in the mix at third.  In the outfield, Bubby Riley could see some time after transferring in from junior college.

Carlos Rodon burst onto the scene as a freshman and has established himself as the top prospect for the 2014 MLB Draft.  He will head the rotation for NC State this season.  In 2013, he went 10-3 with a 2.99 ERA and struck out 184 batters.  Those numbers come after a dominant freshman year when he went 9-0 with a 1.57 ERA.  He will be key to the Wolfpack’s success.  Logan Jernigan and Brad Stone will join him in the starting rotation.  Jernigan pitched in 11 games with 9 starts and went 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA while Stone was 3-2 with a 5.49 ERA in 13 starts.  Andrew Woeck will lead the bullpen.  He was 6-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 26 appearances last year.  Joining him will be Travis Orwig, who was 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 15 games, and D.J. Thomas, who was 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 14 appearances.  NC State received a boost when twins Eric and Patrick Peterson transferred in from Temple.  They should boost the bullpen.  

Who to Watch:
The addition of the Peterson twins is huge for the Wolfpack.  They will add some much needed depth to the bullpen.  With Temple’s decision to shut down the baseball program after the 2014 season, players were allowed to transfer and be eligible right away, and the twins took advantage of that.  They were set to lead the weekend rotation at Temple, but will be bullpen guys at NC State.  Patrick was 2-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 12 starts last year while Eric was 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 13 games, including 10 starts, last year.  Both are coming off solid summers in the Coastal Plains League and they should both have prominent roles out of the bullpen.

Final Projection:
This will almost certainly be Rodon and Turner’s last season with the Wolfpack and anything less than a return trip to Omaha would be a disappointment for them.  The dynamic duo has established themselves at the top players in the country at each of their respective positions and they will try and lead the NC State program to new heights this season.  The Wolfpack have a very talented team, led by the great junior class, and also have some youngsters ready to produce.  If the starting rotation members not named Rodon can put together some quality starts and take some pressure off the bullpen, NC State should be in the mix for a national title this season.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Jake Fincher, IF, 265
Hits: Trea Turner, IF, 84
Home Runs: Trea Turner, IF, 7
RBIs: Trea Turner IF, 42
Runs: Trea Turner, C, 66
Stolen Bases: Trea Turner, IF, 30

Wins: Carlos Rodon, P, 13
Innings Pitched: Carlos Rodon, P, 132.1
Strikeouts: Carlos Rodon, P, 184
Saves: Brad Stone, P, 1

Madness 2014 Baseball Draft Rankings:
#1 Carlos Rodon
#3 Trea Turner
#125 Logan Jernigan
#136 Brett Austin


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