CHARLESTON — Seth Beer should be playing high school baseball. He should be getting ready to go to prom, worrying about exit exams. He should be focusing on all of the things that a high school senior should be focusing on — not playing baseball at Clemson and definitely not being named one of seven national players of the week by Collegiate Baseball.
Thankfully for Clemson, Seth Beer is not your normal baseball player.
The nation’s No. 2 overall player and the No. 1 outfielder by Perfect Game, and the No. 1 overall player in the state of Georgia, The Suwanee, Georgia, product shocked many in the baseball community by choosing to forego his senior season and the subsequent millions of dollars that would come as a sure thing for MLB draft. The reason for his choice was his desire to be a Clemson Tiger, and the understanding that the money will come later.
“I always wanted to be a Clemson Tiger,” Beer said. “I knew that I wanted to graduate early, get here early and hopefully compete for a spot. I just really wanted to help the team and the program get back to where we belong.”
Beer has done little to disappoint through his first 15 games as a college player. Currently sporting a 13-game hitting streak, 20 RBIs (32nd in the nation), 7 home runs (third in the nation) and an .894 slugging percentage (seventh in the nation), Beer is playing at a level that every baseball player only dreams of — regardless of the level of competition.
“It’s just one of those things that you just have to go up, whether in high school, college, pro ball or wherever you may be and have the same mindset,” Beer said. “The game doesn’t change. The rules aren’t any different. So you just have to look at it that way — that it’s the same game”
For Beer, it wasn’t always easy. After joining the Clemson program in January, he was thrust into intrasquad scrimmages, college classes and a level of pressure that he hadn’t experienced before. But it was the words of his head coach that gave him the confidence to relax and just have fun.
“It’s something that I talked about with Coach (Monty) Lee, coming in and going into intrasquad right off the bat,” Beer said. “I had some times where I was like, ‘Man, this is tough.’ But Coach Lee came over to me and told me it was just the same game, relax and go out there and have fun.”
The mindset of having fun is something that is easy to accomplish when you are playing at a level unseen by many freshmen. For Beer, this week’s national award and other recognition are great for his family, but for him they are already in the past.
“Obviously, it’s a great honor,” Beer said. “I put in a lot of hard work in the fall to get in here early. It’s something that I’ve thought about for a little while, but my family is more excited about it than I am. Because with this game of baseball, you put that stuff in the past, move past it and get ready for the next one. It’s a new week, a new time and we have to come ready to play each day.”
For the Tiger baseball team and Lee, the idea of having Beer in a Tiger uniform for at least two more seasons after this one is something that brings joy to their hearts. For the Tiger opponents, however, the thought of facing Beer for two more years is sure to bring some restless nights.
“He’s the best true freshman hitter I’ve ever seen,” Lee said. “I am sure glad that he’s wearing orange and purple and not another color, because he’s going to give people we face a lot of heartburn for a long time.”
Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Clemson basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, Lentz has covered sports from the high school to professional levels.