It's nearly impossible to replace a guy like Stephen McGee.
He started every game for the Seminoles during two consecutive seasons, hence the nickname "Iron Man," and also played a crucial role in easing the transition of three incredibly talented arms in Mike Compton, Luke Weaver and Brandon Leibrandt.
His leadership and dedication was unmatched, and the Los Angeles Angels took notice, as they selected him in the 9th round, 227th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft.
In steps Danny De La Calle, whose last name brilliantly translates, "from/of the street," in Spanish.
The JUCO transfer out of Miami Dade College hit .325 during his sophomore campaign, driving in 17 runs in 29 games. He was also selected in the 33rd round of the 2013 First Year Player Draft, but the Florida State offer came as somewhat of a surprise.
"It was definitely unexpected," De La Calle said. "I was drafted by the Rangers and really only had a couple schools interested like FIU and FAU, but then Florida State contacted me."
The Miami native always dreamed of living away from home, experiencing the college life and being able to play baseball for a program like Florida State. Even though it sounded like a dream come true, De La Calle was very close to signing with the Rangers.
"When I got drafted I thought about signing at that moment," De La Calle said, "but then I really sat down and put some thought into it. It was tough because my dad really wanted me to sign professionally, too, but I had to make my own decision. And my parents told me they would support me with whatever decision I made. So I chose to come to Florida State."
Even though the decision was made, the process wasn't complete. De La Calle still had to take five classes over the summer and finish his associate degree. As he finished up his summer classes, he found time to take his first visit to Florida State, taking a Red Coach bus all the way from Miami.
"It was during the summer on a Thursday," De La Calle said with a smile, "and Mike Martin Jr. picked me up at five in the morning. He took me around campus and showed me everything, and I loved the campus -- it really drew me in. And then he took me to see this beautiful field as the sun was coming up."
De La Calle's 6-foot-three 220 pound frame is eerily similar to that of Stephen McGee's, and he works behind the plate with a clear-cut confidence, daring base runners to get greedy. He softly receives the ball, rather than catching it, which is extremely important when catching for a guy like Luke Weaver with lots of velocity and action. And he has an absolute cannon for an arm, which he has showcased throughout the first couple weeks of the season.
While De La Calle is a defensive specialist, his offense picked up over the weekend against Georgia, as he drove in a team high 5 RBI on 3 hits. Only hitting .183, De La Calle isn't looked to for major production at the plate, but it doesn't hurt when he comes through.
He will continue to be sturdy behind the plate, keeping speedy runners on edge, and creating a familiar backstop for one of the best rotations in college baseball. He'll give Mike Martin and the Florida State Seminoles exactly what they need after losing a guy like McGee.
And if he can bring his average up and become consistently productive at the plate, this lineup can be even more dangerous than previously expected.