ACC Baseball: ITA Picks Its All-ACC Pre-Season Baseball Team


So many difficult choices to make as the ACC is once again a top-notch league burgeoning with future professional talent. We do our best to take a look at who we expect to excel and raise their draft stock come June.

Kyle Funkhouser, RHP- Louisville

Funkhouser was an absolute stud for the Louisville Cardinals last season posting a 13-3 record with a 1.94 ERA. A strike out machine on the mound, he struck out 122 batters in 120.1 innings pitched over 18 starts. He was a First Team Louisville Slugger All-American last season for his efforts and held opposing hitters to just a .201 average. Expect to see another impressive season from Funkhouser this year in Louisville’s inaugural season in the ACC.

Nathan Kirby, LHP- Virginia

The former ACC Pitcher of the Year returns for his junior season with the Cavaliers. The Southpaw went 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 113.1 innings pitched, making 18 starts. He nearly struck out as many batters (112) as innings pitched (113.1) in 2014. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Kirby held opponents to just a .175 batting average and struck out 18 batters in a complete game no-hit shutout of Pittsburgh. Don’t be surprised to see Kirby be named ACC Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season.

Andrew Suarez, LHP- U of Miami

The second team Louisville Slugger All-American was drafted in the 2nd round (57th overall) by the Washington Nationals, but opted to come back for his senior season in Coral Gables. Suarez was an All-ACC Third Teamer last year posting a 6-3 record with a 2.97 ERA. The lefty also struck out 87 batters in 109.2 innings pitched and 16 starts. Don’t be surprised to see Suarez even improve upon last season’s numbers and be even better this year.

Bryan Garcia, Closer- U of Miami

As a freshman, Garcia finished second in the ACC in saves with 15 and returns as the Hurricanes closer. Garcia’s 15 saves last year was also 11th most in the nation. He also posted a 7-4 record and a 1.75 ERA in 31 appearances last season. His performance last season also earned him preseason Second Team All-American Honors by Louisville Slugger.

Honorable Mentions: Trent Thornton RHP (UNC), Michael Matuella RHP (Duke), Reilly Hovis RP (UNC)

Position Players

Zack Collins, C- U of Miami

The reigning National and ACC Freshman of the Year returns behind the dish for the Hurricanes this season as a sophomore. Collins finished last season hitting .298 with 14 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 54 RBI. The 2015 First Team Preseason All-American by Baseball America was also selected to All-ACC Third Team last season. Don’t be surprised to see Collins listed to the All-ACC First Team by season’s end this season.

Honorable Mention: Chris Okey (Clemson)

Danny Rosenbaum, 1B- Louisville

In a weak first baseman field this season in the ACC there is no clear cut, undisputed top first baseman in the ACC after Virginia’s Mike Papi and Florida State’s John Nogowski were drafted last season. The junior corner infielder split time last season at both first and third base this season. For the sake of this article, we will put Rosenbaum at first base on our Preseason All-ACC Team. The Louisville Cardinal hit .295 last season with two home runs and 24 RBI in 54 games and 37 starts. Expect to see Rosenbaum to get some more playing time at first base this season.

Nick Solak, 2B- Louisville

Solak will join fellow Louisville Cardinal Rosenbaum on the right side of the infield for our All-ACC Team. Last season Solak hit .351 with two home runs, 25 RBI and nine stolen bases in 47 games as a freshman. The now sophomore hit a ridiculous .692 (9-13) in the American Athletic Conference Tournament last season as well. Expect Solak to take on a bigger role as the Cardinals starting second baseman this season.

Andrew Knizner, 3B- NC State

After having a breakout freshman season for the Wolfpack last year, third baseman Andrew Knizner looks to avoid the sophomore slump and become one of the most exciting sophomores in college baseball. Knizner hit .330 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 47 RBI last season as a freshman. He was named a First Team Freshman All-American by Louisville Slugger and National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) as well as to the All-ACC Third Team for his efforts in 2014. Perfect Game also named the sophomore third baseman a Preseason First Team All-American at third base for 2015.

Tyler Krieger, SS- Clemson

Tyler Krieger is a switch-hitting shortstop with some speed and has gained the attention of several Major League Scouts in his first two seasons with the Clemson Tigers. The career .297 hitter was ranked as the 46th best college prospect and 89th best prospect overall for the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft by Perfect Game. He was also ranked as the 11th best ACC prospect for the 2015 draft by Perfect Game as well. The junior captain hit .338 last year with 18 doubles, two homers and 32 RBI with 19 steals in 57 games.

DJ Stewart, OF- Florida State

The reigning ACC Player of the Year is back for his junior season. Stewart led the ACC in hitting last year with a .351 average and a 1.029 OPS. He was also third in the ACC in RBI (50), fourth in doubles (19) and seventh in home runs with seven dingers. Stewart was also named a second team All-American by Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball in 2014 and was named the Preseason ACC Player of the Year for 2015 by D1Baseball. Stewart should be able to repeat as the ACC Player of the Year in 2015.

Joe McCarthy, OF- Virginia

McCarthy was a First Team All-ACC selection last season after hitting .301 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 49 RBI. His 49 RBI last season was good for fourth most in the ACC. The junior outfielder from Scranton, Pa. can flash some leather as well recording five assists and not committing a single error in 120 total chances in 2014. He also stole 11 bases last season on 12 attempts and hit .283 (13-for-46) in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Chris Shaw, OF- Boston College

Rounding out Inside The ACC’s Preseason All-ACC Team is Boston College junior outfielder, Chris Shaw. The Eagles best player, Shaw hit .329 with 18 doubles, six home runs and 45 RBI leading the team in each of those categories. The Lexington, Mass. native earned All-ACC First Team honors last season and was named to the Perfect Game USA’s Preseason First Team All-American. Shaw was also named the Cape Cod League’s Top Prospect last summer after hitting .278 and a league leading seven home runs for the Chatham Anglers. Shaw was also tied for second with 31 RBI in the Cape League last summer.

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