February 8, 2013
Perfect Game Presents
UNC Building a Championship Team
On December 5, 2012, Baseball Prospectus and Perfect Game announced a partnership to help promote and cover the game at both the amateur and professional levels. As a result of this partnership, Baseball Prospectus subscribers will now get the opportunity to read some of the great premium content being published by Perfect Game for its members. Today, courtesy of Perfect Game, we bring you this special report by Kendall Rogers.
North Carolina head coach Mike Fox isn't surprised by much, but he let out a light chuckle when asked about the expectations surrounding his Tar Heels for the 2013 college baseball season. Fox doesn't necessarily disagree with his team's top billing in the Perfect Game Top 25, among other rankings, but he doesn't view this club, at least right now, quite as flawless as some of the great UNC teams over the past 10 seasons.
"I know we've got three really good starting pitchers back this season," Fox said. "But by the same token, we're also having to replace two very key pieces to our team last year in a closer and catcher. I'm a little surprised. Not to take anything away from our players, but I guess some of this credit goes to the pitching staff that we have back this season."
Despite Fox's concerns, which is usual for a head coach this time of year, the Tar Heels' current question marks shouldn't be a huge cause for concern. And that, along with the pitching staff, is precisely why this team is expected to win the program's first national title this season.
Winning a national title would be the cherry on top for Fox, who has transformed North Carolina from a program that just reached the NCAA postseason, to one that everyone expects to not only get to the postseason, but also compete for a national title.
The Tar Heels continue to chase that dream, but have been close in recent years. They reached the CWS Championship Series in both 2006 and '07, losing to gritty Pat Casey and Oregon State on both occasions. Overall, UNC has reached the CWS an astonishing five of the last seven seasons.