Hokies Baseball: Erik Payne, Alex Perez Snubbed From 2015 All-ACC Teams

The Virginia Tech Hokies had one of the better offenses in the ACC this past season , which was critical in helping Virginia Tech get to the 2015 ACC Tournament despite some of the struggles from the pitching staff. Statistically, the Hokies’ numbers don’t stand out as being near the top for overall team statistics due to mid-week struggles, but they are higher up when you only include ACC games.

The Hokies were also built on having four strong hitters with Brendon Hayden and Saige Jenco deservingly earning All-ACC first and third team honors respectively.

However, Hokie fans and analysts were surprised when Erik Payne and Alex Perez weren’t included in the All-ACC teams despite strong senior seasons.

When you look at the numbers, it seems clear that both Payne and Perez were worthy of being on one of the All-ACC teams with both having strong reasons to possibly be on the All-ACC First Team.

The fact that the Hokies finished ninth in the conference likely hurt Payne and Perez though that should not be an excuse for voters, especially since the Hokies’ pitching staff was a big reason for Virginia Tech’s ninth place finish in the ACC. This seems like a situation where the voters just failed to do their due diligence, especially on the ACC newcomer in Payne.

One thing that may have hurt Payne is his poor .914 fielding percentage, but his offensive performance made him worthy of at least being on the All-ACC Third Team. Payne was in the top 10 in the ACC in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, RBIs, and total bases while being just outside the top 10 in slugging percentage and home runs.

Payne was the ideal run producer in his first and only season in Blacksburg with a .347 batting average, .449 on-base percentage, 9 home runs, 53 RBIs, and a .545 slugging percentage. These are the offensive numbers of someone who should absolutely be on one of the three All-ACC teams, whether it be as a third baseman or as an outfielder.

Alex Perez also has a strong case to why he should have been on the All-ACC team. Perez made only nine errors while playing both second base and shortstop along with being one of the best hitters for the Hokies this past season.

Perez led the ACC in triples with seven along with being in the top 10 in runs and walks. Overall, Perez’s offensive numbers are clearly All-ACC caliber with a .320 batting average, five home runs, 34 RBIs, a .435 on-base percentage, and a .510 slugging percentage.

Perez was smart on the basepaths and did a great job setting the table for Brendon Hayden and Erik Payne as proven by how he was 3 for 4 in his stolen base attempts along with scoring 56 runs.

Erik Payne and Alex Perez formed arguably the toughest 3-4-5 in the ACC with Brendon Hayden. This trio of hitters seemed to find many ways to step up late in games to help the Hokies get some critical wins to put them in the 2015 ACC Tournament.

The Hokie offense wouldn’t have been the same without the Perez-Hayden-Payne middle of the order along with Saige Jenco at the leadoff spot. All four should have made one of the three All-ACC teams, yet somehow only Hayden and Jenco made it.

You can try explaining it in whatever way you want to, but the snubbing of Perez and Payne is almost certainly inexplicable and a failure by many voters to do their due diligence when choosing their All-ACC teams.

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