(ECU SID image)
East Carolina baseball coach Billy
Godwin was parked in front of a computer screen on Wednesday afternoon
on the Major League Baseball website, mlb.com, trying to determine how
the draft would impact his incoming signees.
It appears the potential for personnel
losses is minimal. Infielder Jack Reinheimer, who hit .337 for the 2009
state 4-A champions from Charlotte (NC) Ardrey Kell High School, was
selected in the 31st round by the Atlanta Braves.
Right-handed pitcher Austin Chrismon,
who helped Menchville High School in Newport News, VA, to a state
championship and a No. 1 national ranking in the USA Today, Collegiate
Baseball and Baseball America polls, was taken in the 32nd round by the
Godwin said the draft position of
Reinheimer and Chrismon may not be an accurate indication of their
"Sometimes those kids going into the
draft are high profile guys but because they put a high number on what
it's going to take to buy them out of East Carolina, they tend to drop
as a safety valve," Godwin said. "Let's just say the Atlanta Braves, who
took Jack Reinheimer, don't sign their second, fourth and sixth-round
picks, he could be a safety valve.
"They know what his price tag is but
they know it's high. Sometimes those kids drop because they put a high
amount on what it's going to take to sign a professional contract.
Sometimes the rounds can be deceiving."
According to the Newport News (VA)
Daily Press, the Astros called Chrismon to notify him of his selection
but he had already been advised of his draft status from a friend via a
The Daily Press stated that Chrismon
had a 6-3 record as a senior.
"I knew it wasn't the greatest year for
me, but I had seen a lot of interest from the Astros," Chrismon told the
newspaper. "I was hoping they liked me enough to draft me so, you know,
you can just say you were drafted.
"They had probably come to five or six
of my games this year and called every two weeks or so. Going into
(Wednesday), I knew it was all or nothing. And I didn't really know what
to expect. There's still a lot of things going through my mind."
Chrismon said the Pirate coaches called
him Wednesday and are still encouraging him to enroll for summer school
later this month.
While Godwin apparently felt relatively
secure on the incoming players, ECU ace Seth Maness has a decision to
make after going in the 41st round to the Florida Marlins. Maness was
10-3 with a 4.17 earned run average as a junior. He had 90 strikeouts
and just 16 walks. Godwin said he was confident Maness would be back for
the 2011 season.
Kyle Roller, who returned for his
senior season in 2010, was taken in the eighth round by the New York
Yankees. Roller improved his stock after being taken in the 47th round
by the Oakland A's in 2009. Roller hit .324 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs
Rising senior Devin Harris was taken in
the eighth round last year by the Baltimore Orioles. He was a 48th round
pick by the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday after hitting .314 with 13
homers and 53 RBIs in 2010. Of concern to the major league baseball
evaluators perhaps were Harris' team high 57 strikeouts as well as his
six errors and .908 fielding percentage. The MLB interests also may have
figured that Harris would play his senior season for ECU in 2011 after
electing to remain a Pirate last year.
Thoughts on 2010 season
ECU missed the NCAA Tournament this
season, which Godwin acknowledges is not up to the program's standards.
"I'm at East Carolina and East Carolina
is about competing for championships," Godwin said. "Certainly this year
is disappointing because we didn't have the opportunity to do that. It
wasn't all negative. We had some things that happened that were out of
my control but at the same time it was still my responsibility."
The loss of shortstop Dustin Harrington
for violation of team rules during the season was a big blow. It took a
potent bat out of the lineup and forced the Pirates to juggle personnel
defensively. Harrington was hitting a team high .443 when he was
expelled from the program. Godwin also dismissed reliever Stihl Sowers.
"We had high expectations in our
program," Godwin said. "We didn't meet 'em. We're going to work as hard
as we possibly can to correct that and get back and be competing for
championships next year."
Godwin said his focus quickly shifted
to recruiting when the Pirates were knocked out of the C-USA Tournament
"I know it sounds crazy but I didn't
even look at an NCAA Tournament bracket until last Thursday," Godwin
The Pirates have six commitments for
the next recruiting class and are likely to hit the junior college ranks
for several players who can provide immediate help.
"It's going to be a pitching heavy
class," Godwin said of the signees that will be announced in the fall.
Different year for C-USA
As the Super Regionals are set to
commence, Conference USA teams are not part of the action. Only two
C-USA clubs made the NCAA Tournament, Rice and Southern Miss. Both were
eliminated last weekend on the regional level.
"I don't think it was a down year,"
Godwin said when asked about the league's overall performance. "I think
it was a different year. Our (league) RPI was still fifth or sixth in
the country, which has been about where it stood the last several years.
"But what you find is teams who were 50
to 90 in the RPI. There was probably a lot more parity. There were no
four- or five-win teams in the league. In past years, there were two or
three teams that just had no shot."
In 2010 only six of the league's nine
baseball playing members made the C-USA Tournament. The Pirates made it
in on the last day of the regular season.
"Just about every team on any given
weekend could beat anybody," Godwin said. "The pack was closer together
when it came to competiveness. It was just a different year. Certainly,
some teams got better. Some went backwards."
Thoughts on realignment
Speculation has been plentiful about
how conference expansion in the Big Ten and Pac-10 might affect the
Pirates. ECU interests have seen the potential shifts as a possible
opportunity for ECU to move to the BIg East and join in the advantages
of BCS conference membership.
That could be an adjustment for the
Pirate baseball program as weather conditions for many Big East programs
are not as favorable as those to be found in C-USA.
"First of all, that's speculation,"
Godwin said. "I'll let Coach (Terry) Holland (athletic director) decide
what's best for East Carolina. The only thing I can say in that regard
is that I want what's best for our university.
"Baseball, as everybody knows, is not
part of that equation. It's all football driven and that's great. I do
think that because our baseball program has been successful over the
years, that's nothing but a bonus to any conference that looks at East
Carolina from top to bottom.
"I'll let the powers that be make those
decisions. My stance is that I want to be in whatever league is best for
East Carolina University."
2011 schedule in the works
Godwin said although the schedule for
next season is not complete, it's shaping up with some challenging and
"I know we're going to go to Virginia,"
said the ECU skipper. "Pepperdine is going to be here. We've got a
three-game series with Rutgers at home. We'll be home and home with
North Carolina. We go to N.C. State.
"That's a pretty good start, I'd say."
Pitching coach search
With Bill Jarman stepping down as
pitching coach, Godwin will do his due diligence in finding a
"I'm looking for someone with a proven
track record," he said. "I'm not going to say it'll stop there but we're
early in the process. I'm looking for someone who has a proven track
record of developing pitchers, is a great communicator, a good
"In baseball, we only get three guys
who can go off campus (and recruit). It's not like some other sports
where you can have more than three. I would say someone who has a track
record of developing and recruiting high level arms. We need someone who
can communicate within our staff and with potential recruits. Experience
is going to be a big part of what I'm looking for."