2013 FSU Baseball Season Outlook

Here's a general outlook on what to look for and expect with the 2013 season beginning Friday.

Florida State returns 19 players including five position starters and nine pitchers who threw at least 15.0 innings last year. Despite losing three starting infielders, a starter in center field and one of the top closers in the nation, the Seminoles welcome back four starting pitchers in preseason All-Americans Mike Compton and Brandon Leibrandt, senior right hander Scott Sitz and junior right hander Peter Miller. Catcher Stephen McGee is also back after starting all 67 games from behind the plate in 2012.

Senior captain Justin Gonzalez will pace the Seminole offense as the top returning hitter in runs scored (42), hits (54), home runs (9) and RBI (42). Sophomore Jose Brizuela, who made a majority of his starts in left field, will move to third base in 2013, while Seth Miller and Josh Delph, who played significant innings last year, will see playing time in the outfield.

In terms of run production, the 2012 Seminoles led the nation in base on balls for the third year in a row drawing 386 walks in 67 games good for a per game average of 5.76. FSU also ranked in the top 10 in doubles (5th), runs scored (7th), sac-flies (8th) and hit-by-pitches (9th). Despite losing their top four hitters from last year, the Seminoles return 50 percent of their RBI total and 42 percent of their run total heading into the 2013 campaign.

There are plenty of new faces in the clubhouse this year as the Seminoles welcome 15 newcomers including eight freshmen and seven junior college transfers. This year's incoming class, which was ranked 19th-nationally by Collegiate Baseball, is made up of five pitchers (including two left handers), four infielders, four outfielders, one catcher and one utility player.

Florida State enters the 2013 campaign in search of its seventh consecutive ACC Atlantic Division title in this the eighth season of divisional play. The Seminoles have averaged over 20 league wins over the last six years claiming the best record in the ACC three times while tying the league record for wins with 24 twice in 2008 and 2012. FSU has also played in the ACC Championship game three times in the last four years claiming its last league title in Greensboro, N.C. in 2010.

No team in college baseball has won more games in the new millennium than Florida State. The Seminoles sit with 644 victories since the start of the 2000 season, 18 more than their closest competitor (South Carolina – 626). FSU has also posted the highest winning percentage (.737) during that span joining Rice (.733) as the only two schools to win more than 73 percent of their ball games since 2000.

Mike Martin enters his 34th season as head coach and his 41st season in which he has been associated with the Seminole baseball program when you include his time as a player and an assistant coach. Of the 3,598 baseball games played in program history, Martin has been involved in 2,705 games including 1,990 victories. In one way or another, Martin has been a part of more than 75.9% of FSU's all-time wins. He ranks second among active Division I head coaches in winning percentage (.743) and third in victories (1,723). Martin has led the Seminoles to 33 consecutive regional tournament appearances and 15 trips to the College World Series including three in the last five years.

Florida State will open the 2013 campaign ranked among the top teams in the nation according to several preseason polls. The USA Today Coaches Poll gave the Seminoles their highest ranking at No. 9, while the NCBWA (11th), Collegiate Baseball (17th), Perfect Game (18th) and Baseball America (20th) all placed the Garnet & Gold in the top 20. Both Mike Compton and Brandon Leibrandt were honored as preseason All-Americans by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball in 2013.

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