The last Tuesday before the start of the baseball season wouldn’t be complete without Joey Bart receiving more preseason recognition. This week, it’s a spot as the number 2 overall catcher on D1Baseball’s initial preseason positional power rankings. The rankings aren’t so much a prospect list as they are a ranking of who the D1 Staff would want if the goal was to win a collegiate National Championship this season. The only catcher ahead of Bart is Baylor’s Shea Langeliers. After a few months of Joey Bart preseason love it is probably safe to say that if you only know one thing heading into the season it should be that Joey Bart is very, very good at baseball.
However, for Georgia Tech to reach its potential this season contributors other than Bart will need to emerge. One of those key contributors will be senior reliever Jared Datoc, who was named to the preseason watchlist for the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award. The award is given annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Only 52 players were named to the watchlist, so this is quite the distinction for Datoc. Last season, he led the Jackets with 32 appearances and 6 wins. He was second on the team with 57.1 innings pitched and posted a 3.77 ERA with 51 strikeouts.
If that’s not enough baseball for you, check out this article from the Gwinnett Daily Post profiling Austin and Nick Wilhite. The twins from nearby Buford High School are both looking to make a big impact for the Yellow Jackets in their sophomore seasons. Last season, Austin quickly grabbed the starting shortstop job and earned Freshman All-American honors after a superb season. Nick, an outfielder, struggled to find playing time at a more crowded position and had an even harder time at the plate when he did crack the lineup. After some departures, Nick should be in line for more playing time this year, especially as a defensive specialist. If his bat comes around, he may join his brother in the starting nine.
Finally, a quick update on the status of Jose Alvarado. Tech’s freshman point guard went down with an ugly looking injury during Sunday’s game against Duke and was officially ruled out for the season on Monday after X-rays revealed a fracture in his dislocated elbow. Even if there was no fracture, a return this season was a long shot for Alvarado. News of a break and the potential for surgery ends any slim hope that he’ll return to the court this season. Get well soon, Jose!