2019 Preseason Top 25 Capsule: No. 6 Florida State
Last Year: 43-19 (16-13 ACC); reached regionals.
Final Ranking: No. 20.
Head Coach (record at school): Mike Martin (1,987-713-4, 39 years).
Top 100 Draft Prospects: 3B Drew Mendoza (No. 55).
The Good News: Florida State has one more chance to deliver a national championship for Mike Martin, who is returning for his 40th and final season as the Seminoles’ head coach. They have some key returning pieces, including third baseman Drew Mendoza and lefthander Drew Parrish, the latter of whom took over as the Friday night starter last season. Florida State will also get back center fielder J.C. Flowers and righthander Chase Haney, who last season were limited by injury. The Seminoles this fall brought in the third-ranked recruiting class, highlighted by shortstop Nander De Sedas, the highest ranked high school position player to make it to college. The return of Haney helps the Seminoles’ bullpen depth, as he can again take on high-leverage innings along with righthander Jonah Scolaro. Righthander C.J. Van Eyk, a Freshman All-American, will move to the rotation, while classmates Tyler Ahearn and Shane Drohan should be poised to take a step forward in the bullpen.
The Bad News: Florida State will need that recruiting class to deliver immediate results. Catcher Cal Raleigh, Florida State’s leading hitter, led a large group of Seminoles into pro ball after last season. They lost four regulars and two starting pitchers, not including 2017 All-American lefthander Tyler Holton, who last year made just one start before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Seminoles will be leaning heavily on freshmen in the lineup and sophomores on the mound. They’re plenty talented, but they’ll need to grow up quickly.
Player To Know: Reese Albert, OF.
Albert last season worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman and had a solid year, hitting .268/.360/.452 with seven home runs. He’s now one of the Seminoles’ most experienced hitters. If he can make a jump as a sophomore, he would provide needed power after Florida State lost its top two home-run threats in Raleigh and Jackson Lueck.
Path To Omaha: Florida State enters the year as one of the favorites in the ACC, but there are some unknowns with such a young roster. The Seminoles will need to lean on their captains — Mendoza and Parrish — and get some of the newcomers to step up. If they can do that, this team should shape up like so many of Martin’s previous 39 teams and win 40-plus games and host a regional. Florida State’s pitching depth will help in the NCAA Tournament, and the Seminoles will be plenty motivated to send Martin out on top. It’s not hard to imagine a June highlighted by Martin yelling “We goin’ back” and pounding on a table in the clubhouse one last time.
|C||Matheu Nelson||Fr. (HS -- Clearwater, Fla.)|
|1B||Nico Baldor||Jr. -- Did not play (Transfer)|
|SS||Nander De Sedas||Fr. (HS --Montverde, Fla.)|
|RF||Elijah Cabell||Fr. (HS -- Kissimee, Fla.)|
|DH||Robby Martin||Fr. (HS -- Tampa, Fla.)|
|RHP||C.J. Van Eyk||So.||7||0||2.86||57||71||2|
|RP||Chase Haney||R-Jr. -- Did not play (Injured)|