NoleGameday

Florida State Baseball Season Preview

Florida State is coming off of a season where they went 41-22, including 16-10 in the ACC.  They return almost all of their key players, both on the mound and in the field.  If head coach Mike Martin can get the same production out of returning players and integrate the talented freshman into the lineup and rotation, FSU will be one of, if not the best, team in the country. The ‘Noles are ranked #5 in the preseason coaches poll.

Schedule

  • Notable home series: Boston College (3/10 – 3/12), UNC (3/31 – 4/2), Clemson (4/15 – 4/17), Virginia (4/20 – 4/22), Wake Forest (5/12 – 5/14)
  • Notable away series: Virginia Tech (3/17 – 3/19), Notre Dame (3/24 – 3/26), NC State (4/7 – 4/9), Miami (4/21 – 4/23), Louisville (5/18 – 5/20)
  • Other: Florida (3/14, 3/28, 4/11) away, neutral, home… respectively

Arms

Key Returners:

  • Drew Carlton, RHP

The ace from Lakeland returns after a monster sophomore campaign in which he amassed 93.2 innings.  His most impressive outing was against Florida in the Super Regional, where he threw a two hit shutout. Carlton should continue to dominate in his role as the Friday night starter.

  • Tyler Holton, LHP

The sophomore returns from a freshman season in which he was named a freshman all-american.  Holton had a 2.79 ERA, the lowest of all of FSU’s starting pitchers.  The lefty will likely pitch as the Saturday or Sunday starter and should thrive regardless.

  • Cole Sands, RHP

The former highly touted recruit looks to build off of a very strong freshman season, in which he posted a 4.13 era in 17 starts.  Sands throws absolute gas and will likely pick up where he left off, whether it is as the Saturday starter or the Sunday starter.

Key Newcomer:

  • J.C. Flowers, RHP/OF

One of the most talented incoming freshman in the ACC, Flowers was ranked the #1 outfielder in the state of Florida coming out of highschool.  He also can touch low to mid 90’s on the mound.  Flowers is competing for a starting spot in centerfield and will likely win the job before conference play, if not sooner.    Either way, he will contribute both on the mound and in the field this spring.

Bats

Key Returners:

  • Jackson Lueck, OF

Leuck is returning from a phenomenal freshman year in which he earned a spot in the heart of the lineup and led the team in batting average (.379).  He also played an excellent left field and will be a key piece for FSU if they want to make a championship run.

  • Dylan Busby, IF

Busby led the team in homeruns last year and really got hot in the ACC tournament, propelling FSU to the championship game.  He also hit a very impressive .323 on the season.  He will man the hot corner for FSU and be a real contender for ACC player of the year as a junior.

  • Cal Raleigh, C

The big sophomore is coming off a season where he hit .301 with 10 home runs and was named a freshman all-american.  The talented catcher will be a lock in the middle of the lineup and give Busby a run for his money at the team’s home run champion.

Key Newcomers:

  • Drew Mendoza, IF

Drew Mendoza.  You should probably learn the name now because every baseball fan in the country will know it eventually.  He was the top-rated high school player in country to pass on the MLB Draft and attend college.   He was rated as Perfect Game’s #1 shortstop in the class of 2016.  This freshman oozes talent but unfortunately broke his thumb and is expected to be out for 4-8 weeks.  As soon as he is healthy, he will be penciled into the lineup.

  • Nick Derr, IF/OF

Derr is a freshman from Lakewood Ranch, FL.  He is a jack of all trades in the field.  Though listed as an infielder, Derr will likely compete for playing time and a possible starting position in right field.  Regardless of whether he wins the starting job at the beginning of the season, look for the freshman to contribute early.

 

Ryan Stalder
Football Writer and Baseball Writer; Student at Wake Forest University; Twitter: @RyanStalder12

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