Cal Raleigh Is The Starting Catcher
Florida State head coach Mike Martin hinted at this at the beginning of the camp, but at the end he flat out said that Raleigh is expected to be the starter. Raleigh was voted an first team All-Atlantic region by Perfect game coming out of high school, and initially signed with Clemson before they fired their head coach Jack Leggett. Raleigh asked for a release, which Clemson granted, and signed instead with Florida State.
"Very Impressed with Cal Raleigh," Martin said. "...Cal Raleigh is targeted to start for us, but here is a guy behind him that will make him better and challenge him every day because Bussey has gotten to that point. That’s good for everybody."
Raleigh hit .459 his senior year with 23 RBIs, 10 homeruns, and an on base percentage of .551 his senior year.
Shakeup In The Infield
The infield is an area that was supposed to be stable, with all four starters returning. That hasn't been the cas as some of the new guys are fighting for spots. John Sansone has been working at third base during the fall and coach Martin has been very impressed with his play.
That leaves the second base spot open, and it looks like Matt Henderson will fill that role. Henderson is a JUCO transfer from Santa Barbara City College. Coach Martin didn't say that he would start at second, but did say that he would start.
"As you saw in the ninth inning he’s a very good infielder," Martin said. "He can play short and he can play second. He’s going to play. I’ll just say that. He’s going to start for us somewhere. He’s a solid baseball player."
Taylor Walls at short stop is the only remaining starter that has his position locked down at this moment.
Tyler Holton In The Mix As A Pitcher And At First Base
Holton was one of the top prospects from last years recruiting class, and getting him on campus at Florida State was a major pull. Holton was ranked as the No. 70 prospect in the state of Florida, including college and JUCO players, and the 498th overall prospect nationally by Baseball America.
Coach Martin has been very impressed with his versatility.
"A very good pitcher and a very good first basemen," Martin said. "Made a great play in the first inning on the first and third. Got right where he needed to get to tag the guy out before the run could score... I don’t mind a pitcher first baseman. Don’t like to play him in the outfield, he’s a very good outfielder. I look for him to be a guy that could start at first base on Friday and Saturday, and pitch on Sunday. You never know, but we’re not going to turn our backs on his pitching because he is right in the mix. I’m proud to say, as a freshman, that he’s got a good head on his shoulders. Very smart baseball player."
Holton starting at first would move Quincy Neiporte into the DH role. A move that would really help out the Florida State defense while keeping one of the best hitters in the lineup.
West's Struggles Open Up Competition For LF
Coach Martin came into fall camp wanting to see some improvement from Gage West at the plate. That, unfortunately, hasn't happened.
"He’s not had the fall that I was hoping that he would have had," Martin said. "We’re going to work him in the offseason to hopefully develop a more consistent stroke. He did not have the fall that I expected him to have from an offensive standpoint. He played very well in left field. We expect him to be right in there."
With West struggling that opens up the left field spot for competition, and there are multiple candidates for the job according to coach Martin.
"We have a couple of infielders that, so called, might not start that can play out there," Martin said. "We’re looking for the best nine. In January we’re going to try and put them in spots to help us win. If John Sansone was to win the third base job, and, let’s face it, he’s a three year starter so to sit here and try to fool y’all and say he might not start then if I was looking at me y’all would say ‘that man’s crazy.’ He is a guy that’s going to play somewhere. If he plays third base Dylan Busby, who led our team in home runs in the fall, I don’t think I’m ready to put someone like that on the bench so he needs to play somewhere. So we’ve got some things that we can do. January will still be an interesting time for us to see where these young men fall in."