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ACC Midterm Grades: Wake Forest

Photo Courtesy of Wake Forest 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 continue with the Miami Hurricanes, who currently sit 6th in the Coastal Division.


Offense: A


No, this is not just going to be about Nick Kurtz. As unhuman as he is, and how he has turned it around the last two weeks has been nothing short of impressive. But before Kurtz was pulled for a few games due to a shoulder injury, he was struggling at the plate. Some of that had to do with pitchers not pitching to him. He was, and still is, getting walked a lot. But the Wake Forest offense did well treading water while he was struggling and was absent for a few week due to the injury.


Adam Tellier, Jack Winnay, Seaver King, and Jake Reinisch have been tearing the cover off the ball. Not to mention shortstop Marek Houston who leads all ACC shortstops in multiple hitting statistics. It's not last years lineup where we saw a ton of home runs, but this year, the team has done very well to produce in other ways. Now that Nick Kurtz has turned it on, there's no telling how well this offense will finish by the end of May.


Rotation: B+


It has been a solid rotation so far for the Deacs. At the start of conference play, Pre-Season ACC Pitcher of the Year Josh Hartle, struggled mightily. But since getting his first win in conference play against Louisville, he has settled in and has fit quite nicely into the Saturday role. Hartle is coming off of his best outing so far against Boston College in which he gave up no earned runs for the first time in ACC Play. Sunday starter Michael Massey has dealt with a little injury bug here and there and has not gone far in his latest outings, but he is getting job done and hasn't had any serious hiccups this year.


What has made the rotation special is transfer star Chase Burns. The former Tennessee Volunteer is in the middle of his campaign for ACC Pitcher of the Year and has been electric all season. Burns is 7-1 with a 3.00 ERA and leads the country with a stunning 105 strikeouts. The next closest in the ACC is Florida State's Jamie Arnold who has 78. Opposing batters are only hitting .166 off Burns as well. The next closest? Once again, it's Jamie Arnold, who is only allowing batters to hit .173. The Florida State southpaw also leads the ACC with a 1.32 ERA and is Burns' main competition for ACC Pitcher of the year. Oh, did I mention that these two front runners are going up against each other on Friday?


Bullpen: C


With the late editions of Cole Roland, Crawford Wade, and Chase Walter, the Wake Forest Bullpen has started to settle. For a while, it seemed like the only guy out of the 'pen that could be relied on to get outs was Will Ray, who has been their most consistent reliever. Other than that, it had been a lot of young talent that did not have much experience in high leverage situations. Wake lost a lot of bullpen arms in the draft, or in Massey's case, was promoted to the starting rotation. So for a while there were a lot of walks, hit batters, wild pitches, and home runs that were given up. But since those three aforementioned upperclassmen have returned, there has been a noticeable improvement in the relief performances. It seems like having those veteran arms present have helped settled those younger arms.


Overall: B

It is not about how you start, it's about how you finish, and this Wake Forest baseball club is one of the hottest teams in the country as we get closer to the end of the regular season. Even with their struggles out of the gate, we knew this team had major upside and it seems like all the key pieces are clicking at the right time.

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