2009 Baseball Preview: The Outfield

CLEMSON - Don Munson brings CUTigers.com subscribers his expert analysis on the 2009 Tigers. Today he examines Clemson's outfield entering Friday's season opener against Charlotte.

In the outfield there is a mix of six total players in Addison Johnson, Jeff Schaus and Kyle Parker, who will command most of the starting time, not to mention Wilson Boyd, Chris Epps and Will Lamb.

Here's a position-by-position breakdown as the Tigers prepare for their 2009 season opener against Charlotte Friday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. First pitch is set for 4 PM.

LEFT FIELD: Jeff Schaus, a sophomore, will patrol left field. He started 58 of the 59 games last year, hitting .315 with three homeruns and 31 RBIs. The left hander hitter has a sweet stroke and produces in the clutch, as evident by his 17-for-35 performance at the plate after the seventh inning last season. He also posted a .374 batting average when batting second in the order.

Wilson Boyd will also see some time in left as well as right this season, but I think we will see him primarily in the DH slot. He was the one of two Tigers that started every game last season, the other was Doug Hogan. Boyd hit an even .300 with 11 homeruns and 44 rbi in his junior campaign. Between Schaus and Boyd you have two of the best left-handed hitters against left handed pitching in college baseball.

Kyle Parker was brilliant in his freshman season, pounding out 14 home runs with 50 RBIs. He also hit .303 and was named a first-team All-ACC performer.
CENTER FIELD: After sitting out all of last season because of injury, Addison Johnson is back in center field and in the lead off spot for the Orange and White. Addison put together an impressive fall campaign, but gave the staff a bit of a scare when he suffered through pain in his throwing shoulder a couple of weeks ago. All looks to be fine heading into the season opener and most Tiger fans can't wait to see what he will be able to do as the lead off man.

Addison's backup will be freshman Will Lamb. The 6-4 Lamb is the fastest man on the squad and thus covers a lot of ground in center field. He is also a very good pitcher and will see some time coming out of the bullpen.

RIGHT FIELD: In right field all Jack Leggett has to do is write in the name Kyle Parker and he's essentially done. Parker was brilliant in his freshman season, pounding out 14 home runs with 50 RBIs. He also hit .303 and was named a first-team All-ACC performer. He settled in as the everyday right fielder in the second half of last year and routrine showed off the arm that led to him to be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation coming out of high school. Simply put, don't look for the opposition to try and run on Kyle this year.

Chris Epps has made big strides heading into his sophomore season. He has put on 15 pounds since last year and has a good eye at the plate. He also brings speed in both the outfield and on the base paths. He could be starting for a lot of other programs and will see time in right when Parker serves as the DH.

Parker, by the way, will only miss two games this season as it stands right now because of his football commitments. He won't be in Boston for the first two games in the Boston College series, but will fly up for the Sunday game.

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