Leggett discusses draft picks

CLEMSON — Clemson baseball coach Jack Leggett isn't sure what pitchers Chris Dwyer and Madison Younginer are going to do about their futures as Clemson baseball players, but it seems as if he had a pretty good idea Thursday where junior first baseman Ben Paulsen is leaning when he spoke with the media.

Paulsen was selected in the third round (90th overall) by the Colorado Rockies Tuesday in the Amateur Baseball Draft and Leggett sounded as if he was already planning for life after Paulsen.

"We've got some good kids coming back from this year's team, and John Hinson can move back and forth — he redshirted this year with an injury — and we've got some other kids coming in that could play there," he said. "Richie Schaffer's a third baseman and he can play anywhere and he's going to be a good hitter for us."

Paulsen, the son of hitting coach Tom Riginos, batted .367 to lead the Tigers this year, while also leading the team with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs.

"We've got some possibilities. We've got some people we could move around (to replace him)," Leggett said. "We'll have some depth before it's all over. Kyle Parker could play first base if he had to. In right field, he's done that for us and played some third base before.

"We've got some guys that can play there, we'll figure that out. We've got a long time during the fall and it's a long process to figure out who's going to be where, and we'll just wait to see how it shakes out before we start thinking too hard about that."

Leggett has to be thinking hard about whom he will have pitching. Dwyer went in the fourth round to Kansas City, while Younginer, a signee from Mauldin High School (S.C), was selected in the seventh round by the Boston Red Sox.

One other underclassmen pitcher was also selected in Graham Stoneburner, who went in the 14th round to the New York Yankees. All three players could easily turn pro or stay at Clemson.

"I really feel that both of them and the other kids who were drafted could benefit by coming back to school," Leggett said. "I think Ben Paulsen's probably going to sign and he's probably got something squared away there, but other than that I think the other guys could benefit, they've got a lot of virtues by coming to Clemson."

Dwyer, a fifth-round selection last year, was drafted in the early rounds by the Royals despite his high-price tag and Younginer reportedly told teams it would take a $1 million dollars to get him away from Clemson, but yet the Red Sox still drafted him in the seventh round.

It doesn't hurt the Red Sox's chances either that their Class A team plays at nearby Greenville. Stoneburner could easily be signed by the Yankees, who got former Clemson pitcher D.J. Mitchell to spring training by signing him with third-round money, though he was drafted in the 10th round.

"They've got the opportunity to improve and be successful, and if they're patient and confident enough and realize they've got to work hard enough, then I think some really good things could happen to all of them," Leggett said. "Graham Stoneburner's another one, and so I hope as time settles down and things settle in, that they look at things clearly and hopefully will come back and help us get to Omaha, and at the same time, put themselves in a great position next year because they all have positions of leverage coming up for them."

But is that enough to entice any of them to come back and play for Clemson next spring?

"I think all of them have their heads on right about college and the college experience and coming to Clemson and so forth," Leggett said. "We hope that Madison can stay strong and realize what he's got ahead of him here and realize he has a higher ceiling ahead of him beyond that, and it's a decision he's got to make.

"Basically in the end, we want kids who want to be here, want the college experience, want to come to Clemson, want to play in front of our fans, want to win a national championship and go to Omaha, and so those are the kids that we target and those are the ones that we want to come to school."

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