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ACC Midterm Grades: Duke

Photo Courtesy of Duke Athletics


It is past the halfway mark in the ACC conference slate which means it's time for midterm grades to go out on all 14 ACC teams. We start with the Duke Blue Devils, who currently sit three games back of first place in the Coastal Division.


Duke has been a Top 10 team in the College Baseball Central polls almost the entire season. The Blue Devils got off to a strong start in non-conference after sweeping a tournament at Coastal Carolina that included three teams from the 2023 NCAA Tournament. After a few series losses early in ACC play to Clemson and NC State, the Blue Devils have righted the ship and are 11-7 in conference play, tied with Virginia Tech and Virginia for second place in the division.


Offense: B+

Prior to the season, everyone but Coach Chris Pollard and the team themselves had major concerns about this Duke offense. Suffice it to say, those concerns have been unfounded as the Devils are Top 5 in the ACC in most major offensive categories. The lineup features six regulars hitting over .300 and six players that have hit seven or more home runs. They have seven players with 25 or more runs batted in. 

Penn transfer Ben Miller, who didn’t play this past weekend at Pitt, leads the ACC with a .452 batting average and has 9 home runs while Zac Morris has been electric in the leadoff spot, hitting .329 with 19 extra base hits. 


Rotation: B

Jonathan Santucci has been electric in his return from injury this season and is the undisputed ace of a Duke staff that leads the conference in ERA. The junior southpaw is 5-0 with a 2.86 ERA and has 71 strikeouts in 9 starts so far. Opposing batters are hitting just .185 against him. The arms behind him haven’t been the most consistent, however. Andrew Healy and Aidan Weaver, the other two Opening Weekend starters, weren’t able to make those spots their own.


That being said, freshman two-way star Kyle Johnson has been impressive in 5 starts with a 1.93 ERA while David Boisvert has recently gotten an opportunity to start on Sundays. Boisvert has looked the part so far, despite a short outing this past weekend against Pitt.


Bullpen: A-

Even though pitching phenoms James Tallon and Fran Oschell III haven’t been at their best at times this year, the Duke bullpen hasn’t missed a beat. Charlie Beilenson and Gabriel Nard rank second and third on the team in innings and both boast sub 3.00 ERAs. Owen Proksch, Jimmy Romano, and Jackson Emus are also getting big innings and impressing in relief, proving that Duke really does have one of the deepest bullpens in the country. If Tallon and Oschell find their 2023 versions over the final stretch of this season, Duke will be considered a lock for Omaha.


Overall: A-

Tough series losses to Clemson and NC State after their impressive showing at Wake Forest to start ACC play is a big reason why Duke is only getting an “A-”. Regardless of their grade, Duke is a player on the National stage this year. Anything less than an Omaha trip will be deemed a failure so I don’t think it’s too harsh to grade the season up to this point as an “A-” instead of an “A”. With big series still to come against Virginia Tech, Florida State, and rival UNC, the Blue Devils have plenty of opportunities to make statements ahead of the postseason.


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