A Not-So-Early Look at Seminole Baseball

Love is in the air. With the basketball team virtually locking down their first NCAA Tournament bid in over 10 years with a win over Clemson, some might be forgetting that the 2009 Baseball season has started and that our team is off to their usual fast start. More inside on what we can expect from the Seminole baseball team this season.

"You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been." With that Hallmark sentiment in mind I give you this:

The 2008 Seminole Baseball team exceeded everyone's expectations and won the Tallahassee Super Regional en route to ending the program's 7 year drought of College World Series appearances. They achieved this largely due to this outstanding young man:

It goes without saying that it will be tough for this year's team to match the magic that was Dick Howser Award Winner Buster Posey. Here is his stat sheet for last year:

  • Batting Average - .463 (#1 Nationally)
  • Slugging Percentage - .879 (#1 Nationally)
  • Hits - 119 (#1 Nationally)
  • Home Runs - 26 (#3 Nationally)
  • RBIs - 93 (#1 Nationally)
  • On Base Percentage - 0.566 (#1 Nationally)

What's the moral of the story? He was good. Really, really good. Let's not forget, however, he was not alone. He was joined by the following players, 3 of which were seniors and graduated - a lot of leadership lost - and one of which simply moved on to bigger and better things after having a solid year. And they were:

Dennis Guinn

Jack Rye

Tony Delmonico

Matt Fairel

  • 0.332 BA
  • 86 Hits
  • 19 HRs
  • 76 RBIs
  • 0.371 BA
  • 86 Hits
  • 7 HRs
  • 52 RBIs
  • 0.374 BA
  • 95 Hits
  • 8 HRs
  • 69 RBIs
  • 111.7 IP
  • 12-2 W/L
  • 3.79 ERA

At this point you might be asking yourself, "So... Who DO we have back?" After all, That's a LOT of production to replace. Do not fret, Nole fans! Like any legitimate big time program the Seminoles reloaded and are fielding a very good team this year. Are they as good as last year's team? Probably not. But I believe we are still a top 15 team with a legitimate chance to make some noise in the postseason. Here's who we need to step up in order for that to happen:

Jason Stidham

Tyler Holt

Stuart Tapley

John Gast

Geoff Parker

2008 Stats
  • 0.322 BA
  • 82 Hits
  • 11 HRs
  • 63 RBIs
2008 Stats
  • 0.324 BA
  • 81 Hits
  • 41 RBIs
  • .471 OBP
2008 Stats
  • 0.383 BA
  • 8 HRs
  • 40 RBIs
  • .472 OBP
2008 Stats
  • 0-1 W/L
  • 2.70 ERA
2008 Stats
  • 6-2 W/L
  • 4.50 ERA
  • We really need Jason Stidham to be a leader this year. He was very solid throughout the 2008 campaign but this year he will be hitting in a more important position in the order and will be counted upon to get on base and bring runs in. I am confident he will thrive in this role and we can expect him to have a big year.
  • Tyler Holt (named Freshman AA by many publications) was absolutely phenomenal as the lead off man last year, getting on base early and often. As a matter of fact, he reached base during every single regular season game last year. As a result he finished the year with 83 runs, second only to Buster Posey. He must continue to do this. He must also utilize his speed to swipe more bases. Thankfully, he hasn't slowed down a bit and is off to a blistering start this year, hitting for a .643 BA. Obviously that will go down but we will need Holt to continue being productive.
  • Tapley (also named Freshman AA by many publications) was a defensive liability last season. Not going to sugar coat it. He was not recruited to play 3B but that's where he ended up and the hot corner initially proved to be too hot for him to handle. As the year wore on, however, he started to get the hang of it and we can only hope that this offseason he got any remaining kinks worked out. In addition to this, he is a very good hitter that should only improve this year.

Then come the pitchers. Thanks to Mike Martin Jr., we are always going to be a good hitting team - which is a nice change from our inept offenses in football and basketball. As a matter of fact, the Noles led the country in batting average last year hitting a very respectable 0.355 clip as a team and driving in a whopping 663 runs. Last year we would regularly give up 8 runs a game but it would not matter as we would put up 16. There really is no defense like a good offense when it comes to the Seminoles. Much like in other sports, however, when it comes down to it you must have good pitching (defense) to get far into the postseason and this year's staff has a lot of working to do. After losing Matt Fairel and Elih Villanueva to the draft, John Gast and Geoff Parker must rise to the occasion and be effective starters.

  • Gast is a prospect that has been raved about since getting here, but has yet to turn all his potential into game time results. He did undergo Tommy John surgery to his left elbow, so he gets a pass for not being very consistent in limited action last year. He sprained his ankle on Saturday against Auburn, so hopefully everything is okay there.
  • Geoff Parker, however, did look solid last year but must endure the toll of a full season as the man.
  • Two players that I did not profile but will be absolutely essential as well are Sean Gilmartin and Jimmy Marshall. Gilmartin has looked phenomenal in both starts he has had this year, and the Seminoles are going to need for him to continue this as ACC play starts. Marshall, in combination with Brian Busch have been very good out of the bullpen this year. It is absolutely crucial this continues, and I believe it will.

If the Seminoles are able to not rely in their bats too much this year, they could make some serious damage. At the moment we are 6-1 with a loss to Auburn. I am not very concerned about the loss as this is a very young team and losing early will do them some good. It has been a notorious staple of FSU teams to light the world on fire during the regular season only to fail to meet expectations in the Regionals. I believe this year's team will have more growing pains and will lose more ACC games than we may have become accustomed to. Come postseason time, however, we will be very dangerous and have a good chance of getting far. How far? Only time will tell.

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