The Florida State baseball team will look completely different in 2020.
And the biggest change will be in the dugout.
As coach Mike Martin steps into retirement, the Seminoles will have a new leader for the first time since 1979. Mike Martin Jr. has plenty of talent returning but also plenty of holes to fill.
Let’s take a look at how the Seminoles could shape up next spring:
Drafted Seminoles: 3B Drew Mendoza, SS Mike Salvatore, LHP Drew Parrish and RHP J.C. Flowers. All were taken in the first 10 rounds and typically MLB teams check with players, families or advisors about the “signability” or slot value before making a selection. Negotiations could change things but the odds are good that FSU loses all four players.
Top returning hitters: DH Robby Martin (.315, 4 HR, 17 doubles, 54 RBI), OF Reese Albert (.283, 9 HR, 35 RBI), C Matheu Nelson (.282, 6 HR, 29 RBI), 1B Carter Smith (.245, 2 HR, 10 RBI), 2B Nander De Sedas (.231, 4 HR, 32 RBI) and OF Elijah Cabell (.220, 7 HR, 25 RBI).
Potential weekend rotation: RHP C.J. Van Eyk (10-4, 3.81 ERA) and RHP Conor Grady (9-6, 3.64 ERA) are the likely 1-2 starters. If LHP Antonio Velez (5-2, 4.17 ERA) nails down the No. 3 spot in the rotation, LHP Shane Drohan (3-1, 3.66 ERA) would be the top candidate for the midweek starting job.
Top relievers: RHP Chase Haney, LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski, LHP Jonah Scolaro, RHP Jack Anderson and LHP Austin Pollock.
Strengths: The weekend rotation will have experience, and Van Eyk may be one of the top starters in the ACC. Nelson handled the staff well as a freshman, and his .442 on-base percentage is second to only Mendoza. Albert and Cabell make up two-thirds of the outfield and, along with Martin, give some big bats in the lineup.
Question marks: Beyond the coaching staff, the major spots that need to be filled in are third and short. De Sedas could move back to short but must make the routine plays after committing a combined 18 errors while splitting time between short and second as a freshman. If Albert and Cabell are corner outfielders, the search is on for a center fielder who can cover ground. FSU must also find a leadoff hitter. The coaches may have to hit the road to look to the junior-college ranks for help. Cabell had 84 strikeouts in 164 at-bats and must adjust his plate approach.