I've missed Beesball. Remember with me, if you will, a few months ago. Georgia Tech was in the midst of a miraculous ACC Championship Tournament run. It was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, we've lost a lot of good players from that team. Thankfully, though, Danny Hall has done a great job of reloading some of the talent lost.
Let's take a look at who we lost.
RHP Dusty Isaacs
"Trusty" Dusty was a stalwart as the closer for the Jackets in his time on the Flats. He pitched 61.0 innings for the Jackets last season, finishing 8-5 with a ridiculous 1.92 ERA, seven saves and a 53-21 K/BB ratio.
In the 14th round of this past season's MLB Draft, Isaacs was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays with pick No. 534 overall. In rookie ball, Isaacs pitched decently. He got saves in eight of his 10 opportunities while pitching 29.0 innings. He also seemingly improved his control, holding a K/BB ratio of 36-5. His only real area of concern was his ERA which blew up to 3.41.
IF Mott Hyde
Another of Tech's captains, Mott Hyde was part of one of the single greatest double play combos ever pairing with SS Connor Justus. He was also a consistent bat in the lineup, playing in 63 games. He also had a pretty solid slash line of ..282/.366/.403. His four homeruns were tied for first on the team and his three triples and 10 stolen bases were both good for second on the team behind last year's breakout player Daniel Spingola.
In the 26th round of this past season's MLB Draft, Hyde was drafted by the Houston Astros with pick No. 766 overall. He played 70 games at low-A for the Astros this season. He had a solid slash line of .254/.331/.389.
RHP Jonathan Roberts
Roberts was a solid relief pitcher for the Jackets last season. He appeared in 25 games, pitching 32.2 innings to a 1-2 record and 4.13 ERA. His K/BB ratio also left a lot to be desired at only just 26-23.
C Mitch Earnest
Earnest played more of a mentor role for true freshman catcher Arden Pabst last season. He in appeared in 34 games, starting 26 of them. He had a slash line of ..202/.267/..326. He also added two home runs.
RHP Matt Grimes
In his return from Tommy John surgery, Grimes pitched in 16 games, making 12 starts. He finished with a 5-3 record and a 36-33 K/BB ratio in 65.2 innings pitched.
In the 18th round of this past season's MLB Draft, Grimes joined former Tech catcher Matt Wieters and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with pick No. 541. Grimes got roughed up pretty badly in low-A ball for the Orioles. He appeared in 10 games, starting five, but only finishing 1-3 with a sky-high 5.32 ERA in 22 total innings.
LHP Sam Clay
Statistically, Sam Clay was our best pitcher last season. He pitched in a team-high 31 games and finished with a 4-1 record. Included with his incredible stats from the season are his 1.26 ERA (second-lowest ever in Beesball history) and a team-high 64 strikeouts (tied with Josh Heddinger).
After this incredible season, Clay was drafted in the fourth round of this past season's MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins with pick No. 110. With the exception of his ERA (5.59), Clay played very well in rookie ball for the Twins. He played in 19 games, finishing with a 2-1 record. He also had a ridiculous 44-17 K/BB ratio in just 29.0 innings pitched.
IF Elliott Barzilli
This was probably the most shocking departure Beesball had this offseason. At the end of July, Barzilli announced via Twitter that he had transferred to TCU to continue his baseball career.
He had a productive freshman season for the Yellow Jackets last season. He played in 34 games, starting 26 of them, and finished with a pretty solid slash line of .234/.261/.342.
So, we lost some really good players and some fan-favorites. But as Beesball fans have grown pretty accustomed to, we have some pretty awesome young talent coming to the Flats. Let's take a look at those guys.
IF Wade Bailey
Bailey is a very good utility player from Villa Rica High School who is expected to come in immediately and compete for the job to replace Mott Hyde at second base. He is thought by some to be a favorite for the job.
His stats from the East Cobb Yankees (his summer league team) only support that notion. In his 55 games with the Yankees, Bailey had a ridiculous slash line of .391/.475/.533. To add to that, he also had nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts (25 and 13 respectively).
He is ranked as the 17th-best middle infielder by Perfect Game.
RHP Jared Datoc
Datoc is expected to come in as a relief pitcher for the Jackets. He brings an upper-80s fastball and what Danny Hall describes as a "very good slider."
He comes to the Flats from Pace Academy, the same school to produce Tech great Brandon Thomas.
He is ranked as the seventh-best right-handed pitcher in the state of Georgia by Perfect Game and was also named Honorable Mention Perfect Game Underclass All-America.
LHP Daniel Gooden
Danny Hall's quote about Gooden really says it all, so I'm just going to leave it here: "In our minds, Daniel's the best left-handed pitcher in the state of Georgia. He can be a two-way guy with a lot of power at the plate. Again, a power arm guy that reminds me of Jed Bradley."
Gooden comes to the Flats from Griffin High School and turned down offers from teams like North Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
Gooden's a guy that could easily come in and compete for a starting job, at least the midweek spot.
3B Blake Jackson
Jackson is expected to push incumbent starter Brandon Gold at third base. He should be a good offensive and defensive option at third.
He joined Wade Bailey on the East Cobb Yankees over the summer, and while he didn't hit as well as Bailey, he still hit pretty well. He finished with a slash line of .331/.446/.581 in his 48 games. He also led Georgia Tech participants on the Yankees with four home runs and 43 RBI.
He was ranked the 16th-best third baseman in the entire country by Perfect Game.
OF Kel Johnson
Kel is probably my favorite player in this entire class. I'm not sure if he's going to play first base, outfield or DH, but one thing is certain: he will play.
Even though he was homeschooled, he still had quite the opportunity to make an impact. While playing for the Home Plate Citadels (if you follow homeschool league baseball), Johnson was named to Team USA's 18U National Team at the 2013 IBAF 18U/AAA World Cup in Taiwan. His team won the gold.
He also finished second in the MLB Junior Select Home Run Derby with 13 home runs at Citi Field. So yeah, the kid's got a little pop in his bat.
Johnson's ranked as the 36th-best player overall nationally by Perfect game.
RHP Patrick Wiseman
Wiseman is the brother of current Georgia Tech RHP Joe Wiseman. He can pitch or play first base and joined Bailey and Blake Jackson on the East Cobb Yankees.
He appeared in 41 games for the Yankees and had a good slash line of .360/.461/.547 while also hitting a home run and 15 RBI. He also pitched in two games, working five innings with a 2.80 ERA, seven strikeouts and three walks.
Wiseman was ranked as the sixth-best RHP in the state of Georgia by Perfect Game.
C Trevor Craport
Craport comes to the Flats from Norcross High School where he was named his team's Offensive MVP his senior season. He finished with a .395 batting average while driving in 23 runs and only striking out five times.
He should provide some solid depth with Grant Wruble behind Arden Pabst.
RHP Cody Worthy
Worthy comes to the Flats from Alexander High School in Winston, GA. From what I gather, he's got a mid-80s fastball.
RHP Ryan Young
Young comes to the Flats from Blessed Trinity High School in Kennesaw, GA. He brings a fastball in the low-to-mid-80s, a changeup in the upper-70s and a breaking pitch that sits in the mid-70s.
LHP Cory Pope
Pope comes to the Flats from Lowndes High School in Valdosta, GA, where he had his best season as a junior. That season he pitched to a 7-2 record with a 2.71 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 83 innings pitched.
What do y'all think of the incoming freshmen? Will they be able to help offset Beesball's losses?