Florida State opens the 2022 season on Friday with James Madison in the first of a three-game series. The rotation is loaded with arms and there is depth on the infield and outfield. FSU often used pitchers in DH roles by necessity last spring and that won’t be the case this year. Mike Martin Jr. expects FSU will have improved infield defense and the lineup should strike out far less.
We’ll take a quick look at FSU on the mound, the infield and outfield.
Shortstop Jordan Carrion (hip flexor) and Tyler Martin (shoulder) will be on the bench to start the season. Martin Jr. indicated both are short-term injuries and also that Tyler Martin could be available sooner as a hitter, potentially opening up options for him as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter. FSU will likely start this infield this weekend: 3B Brett Roberts, SS Treyton Rank, 2B Jackson Greene and 1B Alex Toral.
Catcher Colton Vincent has handled the pitching staff well and thrown out runners at a high rate in the preseason. Brock Mathis will also catch some and could be used as a designated hitter. Jaime Ferrer would be the No. 3 option at catcher and is another DH option.
Logan Lacey showed his versatility last spring in playing third base as well as center field, and he will settle in as FSU’s every day center fielder. Lacey has good speed and range. Reese Albert will play right field. James Tibbs and AJ Shaver will platoon in left field.
The starting rotation will feature three left-handers: Parker Messick, Bryce Hubbart and Ross Dunn. Right-hander Carson Montgomery will start on Tuesdays. Jonah Scolaro is the closer. There are roughly a dozen more options as bullpen arms, although a few (including Davis Hare) are working their way back from injuries. Pitching coach Jimmy Belanger previously went into detail about the starters and bullpen.
By the numbers
In 55 games last season, the Seminoles committed 65 errors and struck out 599 times. Both of those numbers need to be reduced dramatically for FSU to be successful against this schedule.
FSU hit just .241 (last in the ACC) a year ago. It’s fair to expect the average to improve with this being a lineup that will hit for contact and not swing for the fences. FSU also had the ACC’s best ERA (3.45) in 2021. It’s also possible that, with essentially the same arms as last year, FSU could again lead the league in ERA.
With this pitching staff and improved infield defense, FSU is in a good position to earn one of the top 16 seeds and host a regional. FSU would have the home crowd on its side but also would avoid playing against one of the elite SEC teams in a regional (FSU went 1-2 at the Oxford Regional in 2021).
The Seminoles will play home ACC series against Notre Dame, Miami, Louisville, NC State, Duke. FSU will play series at Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina and Boston College. The first of three games with Florida is March 15 at Gainesville.
FSU will play 27 games against teams in D1baseball.com’s projected field of 64, which includes ACC schools like Notre Dame, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Miami, NC State and Duke. (The Seminoles are projected to host a regional.) Florida is viewed as a regional host, while TCU was slotted as a No. 2 seed. FSU will play TCU on April 29-May 1 in Tallahassee.
The full FSU schedule with TV / streaming information can be viewed here.