Head coach Mike Martin will have one last chance to win that elusive College World Series title.
In his 40th season he will have one of his youngest teams in years to make it happen. But don’t let the youth dampen your expectations; it is perhaps one of his most talented teams. The 2019-team features two players on the Golden Spikes preseason watch list (Drew Mendoza and Drew Parrish) and eleven previously drafted players.
The Seminoles enter the season ranked 6th in the Baseball America preseason poll.
The Pitching Picture
The last month and a half of last season lefty Drew Parrish emerged as the team’s best pitcher. In the last six starts he threw 46 1/3 innings with a 1.75 ERA and 63 strikeouts but was most remembered for his last pitch of the season that bounced off the scoreboard ending FSU’s 2018 campaign.
The other two starters in the rotation will most likely be sophomores CJ Van Eyk and Austin Pollock. The midweek starter was supposed to be Kyle McMullen, but he tore his labrum last week. Freshman Jack Anderson will most likely be his replacement.
In the bullpen it is expected that Shane Drohan and Chase Haney will be the go to arms. Martin will experiment with centerfielder JC Flowers as the closer to start the season. The pecking order for the rest of the relievers could change through the season as Martin has four other options to choose from such as Jonah Scalaro, Clayton Kwiatkowski, Tyler Ahearn and Conor Grady.
Four of Nine Starters Return
The Seminoles return only four of the nine projected starters, but they have a few bench guys that are back from last year, multiple instant impact freshmen and a couple transfers to choose from to fill those spots.
The switch-hitting shortstop Nander De Sedas from Panama City is the highest rated freshman to choose to go to college over pro baseball in this year’s class. Other drafted players to choose Florida State are catcher Matheu Nelson and outfielders Elijah Cabell and Robby Martin. Nico Baldor a transfer from Miami (yes that Miami) is likely to be the opening day starter at first base.
Junior third baseman Drew Mendoza is the teams leading returning hitter who hit .313 with 7 homers and 44 RBI in 2018. Those are solid numbers for most players, but expectations were very high for Mendoza coming into Florida State and for the team to reach its ultimate goal he will have to be an even bigger force in the middle of the line up.
Other than Mendoza, returning starters include outfielder Reese Albert, centerfielder JC Flowers and second baseman Mike Salvatore. Once Albert was able to play every day he started crushing the baseball and ended the season with 7 homers.
JC Flowers has yet to find his way at the plate, but he is one of the best defensive centerfielders in the country, which is very important to have in Dick Howser Stadium. Salvatore is a very patient hitter and is a threat to steal bases so he will be the lead off man. Returning bench players Cooper Swanson, Nick Derr and Jonathan Foster will get plenty of opportunities as well.
First pitch is Friday at 4 PM versus Maine.