Projecting the MLB Season for Former FSU Players

Opening day has come and gone, baseball fans! After a long winter, or sunny winter if you live in Florida, the grass is cut, the hot dogs are grilling, and Major League Baseball is back on our televisions for the first time in 2016. Spring Training has come and gone and as the Florida State baseball team continues their 2016 campaign, there are some former Seminoles preparing for their first game of major league action. We’ll preview all the Seminoles who are currently on 25-man rosters as well as mention those who are likely to be up on the big league ball club at some point this season.

*Note: All projections for 2016 stats are from the ZiPS projection system courtesy of Dan Szymborski, ESPN, and FanGraphs. ZiPS projections also project a player as if he will get full playing time over the course of a full season, that is obviously not the case. 

^Indicates currently on the disabled list.

Stephen Drew 2B Washington Nationals

2015 Stats: .201/.271/.381 17HR 44RBI 0.2WAR

2016 ZiPS: .219/.291/.375 10HR 42RBI 0.4WAR

Stephen Drew is coming off a very peculiar offensive season that he had as the starting second baseman for the New York Yankees. He hit very poorly for an everyday regular but his BABIP (.201) suggests that perhaps he was a little bit unlucky. Unfortunately for Drew he heads to Washington where he will be a utility infielder for the majority of the season. He will have opportunities for playing time as he is the one of two left-handed infielders on the roster (offseason acquisition Daniel Murphy) and the starting shortstop Danny Valencia and second baseman Anthony Rendon are both coming off of poor seasons offensively. Drew is still an extremely flawed player as his strikeout percentage has remained between 20-25% over four of the past five seasons and his walk rate has gone down in each of the last four seasons. Drew is 33 and in the tail end of his career but clearly projection systems and analysis of the Nationals depth chart indicate that he can still contribute value to a major league team.

Tyler Holt OF Cincinnati Reds

2015 Stats: .097/.176/.097 4R 36PA -0.1WAR

2016 ZiPS: .227/.294/.282 1HR 27RBI 20SB -0.4WAR

Tyler Holt enters what might be his last chance at the big league level. The story of his professional career to this point is his inability to connect on MLB level pitching (in 2014 he had an astronomical strike out rate of 32% in limited at-bats). At the minor league level, specifically AAA, he has been a productive .300 hitter but it simply hasn’t translated to the big league level. Holt is the fourth outfielder on the roster and it appears as if he could be in a platoon situation in left field. Holt’s main asset is his contact ability and speed. He is a guy who puts the ball in play and wreaks havoc on the base paths. The good news for Holt is that the Reds are projected to be one of the worst teams in baseball so there will be opportunity for him to prove he is a major league regular. The best case scenario is that he finally is able to hit at the highest level and sticks as the Reds starting left fielder. The worst case scenario is that he gets designated for assignment midway through the season and is a career minor leaguer.

Devon Travis 2B Toronto Blue Jays^

2015 Stats: .304/.361/.498 8HR 35RBI 2.3WAR

2016 ZiPS: .267/.325/.441 13HR 53RBI 2.2WAR

Devon Travis has been plagued by a shoulder injury throughout his young career, and because of that nagging shoulder he is beginning the season on the disabled list for Toronto. The good news is that Travis was outstanding in limited playing time last season and is not currently blocked at second base on the major league roster. Ryan Goins, who was the backup second baseman/utility infielder while Travis was healthy and Darwin Barney, who will probably be designated for assignment once Travis comes back, are the only two other second basemen on  the roster right now. ZiPS projects that Travis comes down to earth a bit, if we’re being honest .304 is a tad unsustainable, but the good news is that the projection system seems to like Travis so long as he stays healthy going forward. Travis has more gap power than he does home run power but he does have above average home run power especially for a second baseman. The Blue Jays are one of the most potent hitting lineups in all of baseball and they should only be strengthened once Travis comes back healthy.

Buster Posey C San Francisco Giants

2015 Stats: .318/.370/.470 19HR 95RBI 5.7WAR

2016 ZiPS: .305/.368/.462 18HR 86RBI 5.8WAR

The former-MVP delivered yet another MVP-esque season as Buster Posey led the way for the San Francisco Giants last season. It is also an #evenyear so does that mean the Giants can capture their 4th World Series title in seven years? That may be unknown, but at this point in his career Posey is the closest thing to a known quantity, especially at the catcher position. The crazy part is that Posey is just 29 years old, the prime of his career, and he might be getting better. Last season Posey posted the lowest strike out rate of his career, a laughably low 8.3%, and the third highest walk rate of his career at 9.0%. The only major time that Posey has had to miss was with the freak ankle injury in 2011, and might be the best hitting catcher since Joe Mauer in his prime. Defensively he is also one of the top rated in terms of defensive WAR and pitch framing ability.


Likely to See MLB Time in 2016

Sean Gilmartin LHP New York Mets

2015 Stats: 3-2 2.67ERA 57.1IP 0.9WAR

2016 ZiPS: 3-3 3.46ERA 65.0IP 0.6WAR

Sean Gilmartin was a rule 5 draft pick that was required to stay with the big league club the entire season or he would be transferred back to the Minnesota Twins. He pitched extremely well in long relief for the Mets last season and even pitched well in the playoffs. The problem for Gilmartin is that he is blocked by the outstanding young pitching that the Mets possess. Gilmartin will not be an option to start ahead of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler (when healthy), or Jacob DeGrom. This season Wheeler is expected to return sometime during the season and Bartolo Colon is now the long man out of the bullpen for the Mets. He may be blocked thus far but should make the big league club at some point during the season and with the potential innings limits on the young starters, Gilmartin could be called up to make spot starts as the season goes along.

Regardless of how any of the former FSU players perform the good news is that major league baseball is finally back!

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