Tag Archives: Duke Baseball

Freiman Selected In 28th Round

Junior first baseman Nate Freiman was selected with the 843rd overall pick by the Texas Rangers Friday in the MLB Draft.

It seems unlikely that Freiman will leave school, considering he still has a year of eligibility, but we’ll work on getting that confirmed. He said in a May interview that he “loves school and expects to be back next year.” Freiman was likely selected so low because of signability issues, as he was almost a sure thing to return to Duke unless he was selected in an early round.

The slugger led Duke in almost every offensive category last season, including batting average, RBI and home runs, despite missing a sizable portion of the season due to injury.

Duke’s highest pick in the last 10 years was Larry Broadway, who went in the third round in 2002. Freiman was projected that high by one scouting organization.

–by Ben Cohen

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Freiman’s MLB Draft Prospects Look Bright

Despite a recent lack of widespread success on the diamond, Duke Baseball has a long track record of producing drafteable MLB Prospects. Last year, three Blue Devils were drafted, with center fielder Jimmy Gallagher leading the pack as a 7th round (239th overall) selection of the Chicago White Sox. The 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft, however, might see a Duke draftee have his name called in a much higher round.

A recent scouting report on the blog Saberscouting projects Duke junior first baseman Nate Freiman as a third-round pick in the upcoming MLB draft, which will be held June 5-6 in Orlando, Fla. Run by a pair of scouts employed by Major League teams, Saberscouting compares the 6-foot-8 Freiman to “Richie Sexson (with much better bat handling),” and describes him as a “polished hitting prospect” whose “great strength and approach could allow him to be a 40 home run type hitter.”

Freiman has been the offensive centerpiece for the Blue Devils over the past two seasons, each year leading the team in virtually each offensive category, from batting average RBI to home runs, and his shift this season from catcher to the team’s full-time first baseman allowed Freiman to have an excellent year at the plate in 2008, hitting .368/.428/.626 with team leading totals of 9 home runs and 43 RBI.

If drafted in the third  round or higher, Freiman would be the first Blue Devil selected that early since 2002, when OF Larry Broadway was drafted by the Montreal Expos. And before Broadway, the last Duke player to be drafted that high was current New York Mets reliever Scott Schoenweis, who was picked in the 3rd round in 1996.

But it’s no guarantee that Freiman would leave before his senior season if he were drafted this June, as the All-ACC Academic Team said recently in an article on GoDuke.com that he “loves school and expects to be back next year.” If a major league team came calling for Freiman in a high round however, the opportunity (and compensation) of a jump to the pros may be too good to pass up. Additionally, it is common for MLB teams to offer draftees contract clauses that will pay for the remainder of a signee’s college education, meaning that if he left early for a pro career, Freiman would likely have his college education taken care of if he ever wished to complete his degree.

If  he does return for his senior season, look for Freiman to reprise his role as Duke’s offensive anchor in a year when the Blue Devils will have legitimate postseason aspirations for the first time in many years.

-by Will Flaherty

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Baseball Misses ACC Tourney By 1/2 Game

Sean McNally’s squad needed to sweep this weekend’s three-game series against cellar-dweller Virginia Tech this weekend to make the ACC tournament for the first time in McNally’s three-year tenure. Instead, the Blue Devils took two of three and finished 1/2 game out of the conference’s top eight.

The full story from this weekend’s action and reactions from McNally and his players will run in Thursday’s The Chronicle, but here are a few things to remember about this season:

  • The team won 10 games in the ACC, probably the nation’s best baseball league, for the first time since 2001.
  • The team finished with a perfect 27-0 non-conference record for the first time in school history.
  • Against the two last place teams in each division, Boston College and Virginia Tech, Duke finished 2-4, and in the penultimate series of the year, the Blue Devils were swept by Wake Forest.
  • A controversial tie with Clemson on April 20 could have been avoided if Duke had held its 6-2, ninth-inning lead in the first place.

Our basic analysis: Duke played well enough to make the ACC tournament, of course. This is still a young team that returns all of its weekend starters and every one of its top hitters. With perhaps the best recruiting class in McNally’s career coming in next year, the Blue Devils should be ready to compete for not only a spot in the ACC tournament next year, but perhaps the NCAA tournament, as well. After all, had this year’s team simply won one more game–be it against the two worst teams in the league, Wake Forest, Clemson, or any other team–it would be heading down to Jacksonville right now instead of packing up the locker room.

–by Ben Cohen

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Sunday Morning Round-up

The opinions on Johnny Dawkins’ move to Stanford keep rolling in…

  • Raleigh N&O: Time was right to make move
  • Former Daily Quickie man Dan Shanoff had one line to say on his self-titled blog—Stanford hires Duke’s Johnny Dawkins: Not bad, not exciting either.
  • Statement from Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski released by the athletics department last night: “In my 28 years at Duke, no one did more to build our program as a player, coach or a person than Johnny Dawkins. He is as responsible as anyone for the success we’ve had for more than two decades. Johnny is certainly ready to become a head coach at a high level, and that is exactly the opportunity he’s been presented. He will identify completely with what Stanford does, both in the classroom and on the court, and will maintain its strong basketball tradition. This is a great fit for both Stanford and Johnny.”

Rounding out this morning’s other news, North Carolina’s Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington have declared for Saturday’s NBA draft, as did sixth man Danny Green (although Green did not hire an agent). Tyler Hansbrough, however, has decided to grace Tobacco Road with his presence for yet another year… Duke southpaw Chistopher Manno pitched another gem Saturday as the Blue Devils took down Maryland and came one step closer to postseason play. Duke looks to take the series today at 1 p.m. at Jack Coombs Field… The men’s lacrosse squad goes for its fifth ACC championship when the team squares off against Virginia in Charlottesville today at 3:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Network. If you can’t get close to a television, watch out for Sports Managing Editor Matt Iles’ live blog of the game right here at this very url.

—by Meredith Shiner

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