#13 Florida State Baseball 2016 Preview

Florida State Seminoles
Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #4 ACC
 Florida State Logo
With 41 wins heading into the NCAA Tournament, Florida State earned a regional hosting spot. And at home, the Seminoles were nearly impossible to beat, as Mercer and Charleston learned the hard way. But then FSU had to go to Gainesville to take on Florida in the Super Regional. Earlier in the season, FSU and the Gators faced off three times and FSU won two of those, but by June, this was a different Florida team. The Gators crushed FSU 13-5 and 11-4 to keep the Seminoles out of the College World Series.
2015: 44-21, 17-13
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Martin
Field Players:
Despite batting .259 as a team last season, which ranked 225th in the nation, Florida State scored 435 runs on the year, which ranked 11th. Clutch and timely hitting were the story of the year for Coach Mike Martin’s squad and that is not a bad way to do it. But this team could be so much more dangerous if they can carry over that clutch hitting while boosting their team batting average 10 to 15 points. That will not be easy to do without DJ Stewart, who led the team with a .318 average, 15 homeruns and 59 RBI. Power hitting will not be a problem without Stewart though. Dylan Busby hit nine out of the park, while John Sanone hit eight and Quincy Nieporte hit seven. Busby and Ben DeLuzio will both help pick up the slack on the base paths.
The Seminoles return two of their regular starters in Mike Compton and Drew Carlton. Compton is an experienced senior with great control. He walked just 12 batters in 71.0 innings of work and he makes the opposition work really hard to get on base. Carlton showed a lot of promise during his freshman campaign. He made 18 appearances, including 12 starts, and tallied a 4.04 ERA and struck out 60 batters in 71.1 innings. Another sophomore, Cobi Johnson could step into the weekend rotation. He needs to work on his control and his ERA was 7.21, but he is a great talent if he can reel it in and develop his game. Alec Byrd should continue to be a strong presence out of the bullpen and could take over the closer role from the departed Billy Strode.
Who to Watch:
The pitching staff should be fine, especially if freshman Cole Sands can live up to the hype. The key will be hitting with more consistency and Darren Miller, Taylor Walls and Steven Wells will be key. Miller played well last season, hitting .282 and boasting a .402 on-base percentage. Walls is the starting shortstop and was second on the team with 227 at-bats, but he hit just .220 on the year. Walls is a patient hitter so he will get on base more than his average would imply, but the team is not going to boost their batting average by much if one of their key players is batting .220. Wells is just a sophomore and barely had the chance to show his stuff. But he is a good hitter and capable of helping the team produce more consistently on offense.
Final Projection:
As usual, Florida State will be a competitor for an ACC title. They get Miami, Notre Dame, Louisville and North Carolina State at home. With no Virginia or North Carolina on the slate, those should be the four toughest conference series for the Seminoles. And, as mentioned before, FSU is tough to beat at home. Last year they went 30-7 at the friendly confines and none of those ACC teams are going to come to Tallahassee and feel like they can easily win the series, even if they are more talented teams. That should keep FSU in the ACC title race and make at least the Regional round of the NCAA Tournament come through Tallahassee.
Projected Postseason:  NCAA Baseball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: John Sansone, IF, 245
Hits: Quincy Nieporte, IF, 62
Home Runs: Dylan Busby, IF, 9
RBIs: Quincy Nieporte, IF, 48
Runs: John Sansone, IF, 60
Stolen Bases: Ben DeLuzio, OF, 14
Wins: Drew Carlton, P, 5
Innings Pitched: Drew Carlton, P, 71.1
Strikeouts: Mike Compton, P, 70
Saves: None
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#7 Cole Sands