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Albert has ‘something to prove’ with return to FSU baseball

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Reese Albert had a good chance to be drafted in June – even with a condensed five-round Major League Baseball draft.

But the junior outfielder put out an early message on social media this week – he’s coming back to Florida State.

“He’s letting everybody know he wants to go back to school and he has something to prove,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. told the Osceola. “He’s a good student and he knows how important that is as well. He has a chance to go into professional baseball with his degree and that’s pretty comforting. He’s got the right mindset.”

Albert had shoulder surgery after the Seminoles’ run to the College World Series in June 2018 and didn’t get much lead time in the batting cage as FSU began the 2019 season. While he hit just .242 in 17 games, Albert had a .407 on-base percentage as well as 16 runs scored and 13 RBI.

The 6-foot-2, 203-pound Albert was considered No. 197 on Baseball America’s board of 500 prospects eligible for the 2020 draft. He has shown good power at the plate, smacking nine home runs in 2018. Despite missing 19 games due to injury that season, Albert was a third-team All-ACC pick, hitting .283 with six doubles, three triples, 35 RBI and 33 runs.

Albert also will be able to return in 2021 as a junior based on the NCAA ruling that no spring sports athlete will lose a season of eligibility. So for Albert, it’s a win-win: He can be a leader for the Seminoles and continue to work toward his degree while having the chance to improve his draft stock and won’t lose leverage in negotiations next summer.

“Due to the circumstances of this year, we got cheated out of a lot of great baseball,” Albert posted on Instagram. “It’s always been a dream of mine to bring home a championship with my Florida State family. With that being said, let’s run it back one more time, Noles!”

Martin Jr. thinks that Albert can make a push to be selected in the top three rounds in 2021.

Roster management

Martin Jr. knows that the draft will be just five rounds but the juggling will soon begin as he manages the roster for next season. There are still plenty of moving pieces.

FSU had six seniors in 2020 and they could be drafted, opt to sign with MLB teams as free agents or return as seniors again in 2021. The Seminoles have also has signed a group of high school prospects as well as junior college transfers for the upcoming season – and those players could also be drafted on June 10-11.

“Now we need to know how many more roster spots are we going to get and how much more scholarship money are we going to get, if any,” Martin Jr. said. “And then once the NCAA comes out with that, we’ll start having to make moves.”

Fall season talk quiet

Martin Jr. said discussions about an expanded fall baseball season have quieted for the moment as the NCAA evaluates how to handle roster size and scholarship money. He thinks once those prioritizes are finalized then the discussion of how many games or how long a fall season could be will take place.

Best GPA in program history

FSU baseball had a 3.1 grade-point average in the spring. That’s the highest in program history, Martin Jr. said.

Redshirt senior pitcher Chase Haney was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team on Thursday. With the season ending early due to Covid-19, the 2020 spring awards recognize student-athlete on-field accomplishments throughout the players’ entire career.

Haney, from Winter Garden, Fla., was 3-0 in 2020 with a 1.29 ERA while leading the NCAA with 12 pitching appearances. His three wins were the most on the team. In his FSU career, Haney is 13-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 107 appearances, the fifth-most relief appearances in program history.

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