Future Diamond Heel: Joe Dudek

Future Diamond Heel: Joe Dudek

Inside Carolina profiles UNC's 2013 baseball recruiting class. Today the spotlight is on Joe Dudek.

For more on UNC baseball recruiting, visit Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels Forum.
Bio: Dudek is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound first baseman from Wall Township, N.J. The left-handed senior for Lincroft (N.J.) Christian Brothers Academy is ranked the No. 117 prospect nationally and the No. 6 first baseman by Perfect Game. Dudek plays for the Indiana Prospects during the summer.

Recruitment: Dudek first came into contact with North Carolina two years ago during his sophomore season. Tar Heels assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Scott Jackson watched Dudek at an event in Georgia. Jackson and Dudek continued to talk over the winter and into the spring and Dudek took an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill that fall.

With an elite prospect comes tough recruiting competition and such was the case with Dudek The hard-hitting first baseman fielded offers from Virginia and Florida in addition to North Carolina. Fortunately for the Tar Heels it was a lifelong goal of Dudek to attend North Carolina and he committed shortly after his official visit.

Why Carolina? Dudek has no connections or family in the Chapel Hill area, but his passion for the Tar Heels developed at an early age while growing up in New Jersey.

"Ever since I was a kid I wanted to go to North Carolina," Dudek said. "It's an awesome institution with excellent academics and obviously the baseball program so I've been attracted to North Carolina ever since I was young and I always wanted to go down south so I just felt like it was a great fit… It was just from watching Carolina sports growing up."

The climate in the south also played a roll in Dudek's decision. "Being from New Jersey our seasons are very limited as far as weather, but as far as the south the weather was definitely a big factor," Dudek said.

Scouting Reports: Dudek is an elite prospect at the plate. In addition to batting left handed, his bat speed allows him to get around on most pitches. It is unfair to label him as merely a power hitter or a high-average hitter, because Dudek has shown the ability to do both.

"I consider myself more of a doubles guy," Dudek said. "Doubles and hopefully bring some home runs to the table so I feel, after talking to the coaches, like bringing the power to the lineup would be a good addition."

North Carolina hit just 20 home runs last season compared to 25 for its opponents. That was good enough to rank 189th out of 290 division-one baseball programs. Dudek looks to bring additional power to the Tar Heel lineup. Last season he hit .400 to go along with 9 doubles, 4 home runs and 20 RBI. Dudek also walked 20 times and recorded a .531 on base percentage.

"He's got excellent power," Christian Brothers Academy head coach Marty Kenney said. "I guess he's averaged maybe four home runs a year during the high school year which doesn't seem like a whole lot, but with the change in bats it's kind of decreased power right across the board whether it be on the college level or high school level. He hits for average, but he also hits for power."

Dudek, who is interested in studying business at North Carolina, is a steady first baseman as well. Although his hitting ability is ahead of his fielding skills at this point, Dudek is more than capable of scooping low throws and stretching for the wide ones as well.

Coach Quotes:"I think his strongest aspect would be how well he swings the bat," Kenney said. "His bat speed, his hitting mechanics kind of separate him from a lot of the other high school players."

"I would think with his bat I see him competing for playing time right away," Kenney continued. "I don't know what their situation is at first base, but there is always the possibility that he could do some [designated hitting] depending upon whether or not they need another left handed bat in the lineup. I would think he'd get a good look in terms of hitting."

"He's an excellent defensive player. He gives the rest of your infield confidence that throws don't have to be perfect in order to make the play. He handles himself around the bag very well and can catch poor throws as well as a good throw and he has a good arm at first too."

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