Florida State is getting ready to start the baseball season in less than a week and there are a lot of holes to fill from last season. The Seminoles lost two starting pitchers, the third baseman, the shortstop, the first baseman, and the top reliever from 2014. The expectations for this season are down for the Noles, but that’s when head coach Mike Martin usually does his best work.
Projected Starting Lineup and Rotation
1. RF Josh Delph (L)
2. CF Ben DeLuzio (R)
3. LF D.J. Stewart (L)
4. DH Quincy Neiporte (R)
5. 1B Chris Marconcini (L)
6. SS Taylor Walls (S)
7. 2B John Sansone (R)
8. 3B Dylan Busby (S)
9. C Danny De La Calle (R) Or C Gage West (L)
Friday Starter: Mike Compton (R)
Saturday Starter: Boomer Biegalski (R)
Sunday Starter: Cobi Johnson (R)
Weekday Starter: Dylan Silva (L)
Closer: Billy Strode (L)
This lineup looks quite a bit different from last year. Two freshmen, Walls and Busby, will be anchoring the left side of the infield. That’s a big difference from the three-year starters that the Seminoles had at the position last season. Florida State will also be replacing first baseman John Nogowski with either Marconcini or Neiporte. Marconcini is expected to be the everyday starter, but Neiporte will be rotated in there as well. Both can hit with power. De La Calle will be the starter at catcher as soon as he is able to return from a broken hand. Until then West will be the starter. John Sansone will remain the second baseman.
The outfield is the one area where there aren’t any question marks. All-American DJ Stewart, Ben Deluzio, and Josh Delph will all return as starters. It should be one of the best outfields in college baseball.
The starting pitching spots are up for grabs and the coaching staff isn’t sure who the weekend starters will be yet. Luke Weaver and Brandon Liebrandt were both drafted last year so the Seminoles have two open positions coming into the season. Biegalski and Compton are the sure bets, but Johnson, Holtmann, and Byrd are fighting for the last spot. Byrd looked excellent in his scrimmage outing on Saturday. Billy Strode will take over the closing position for Jameis Winston.
Predicting the Record
Florida State has a much tougher road schedule than home schedule this season. The Seminoles have to travel to Georgia, Virginia, NC State, Miami, Notre Dame, and Louisville. Three of those teams, Virginia, Miami, and Louisville, are in the Top-12 of Baseball America’s Top-25. Florida State gets Coastal Carolina and Clemson at home, both series that Florida State should be able to win.
Despite the daunting schedule it’s never a good idea to count the Noles out. Florida State has won 40 or more games every season for the past 37 years. Winning two of the three series against Louisville, Virginia, and Miami would put Florida State squarely in the mix to host a regional and could put them in the position to be a national seed.
Prediction: 40-16 (18-12)
Florida State hosts a regional, but is not a National seed. This team has plenty of questions, but the Seminoles are also extremely talented. If the pitching staff can come together this team could be one of the best in the country. The lineup should feature more power than the past few years, and with the new baseballs the number of homeruns should go up drastically. Bottom line is that Florida State will go only as far as their pitching staff will take them, but there is plenty of reason for optimism there.