Florida State Seminoles Hosts Stetson Hatters

Ryan Syrkus

The 4th ranked Florida State Seminoles (30-9) begin the first of eight straight home games Tuesday night as the Stetson Hatters (17-24) come into Tallahassee for a two game series.

First and foremost a big thank you to everyone who follows baseball and has been interacting in game threads. Your participation is what makes this the best site for Seminoles coverage and it is also why we are going to change the structure of series coverage. You will notice starting today and moving forward that each series will have its own "Stream". The "Stream" will contain the series preview article (the one you are reading now), a play-by-play thread for each game of the series and a game recap that will be updated at the conclusion of each game.

This is all done in an effort to make the ability to follow along and comment during the games more friendly for both desktop and mobile users. Any other suggestions or comments to better enhance the format are appreciated.

Luke Weaver's Draft Potential

Below is what Keith Law had to saw about what he say from the junior right hander.

Scouting notes on Weaver, Chavis, others

My run through Georgia centered on the Friday night game at Georgia Tech, where Florida State's Luke Weaver, a potential mid-to-late first-rounder, threw against the Yellow Jackets, giving up five runs in the first inning before settling down and competing well to battle through seven innings.

Weaver received no help from his defense in the first inning, as his infield gave away three extra outs, but his inability to finish off hitters also hurt him, as he doesn't have a bona fide out pitch right now. His best offering is a plus changeup, 82-84 mph, which improved as the game went on, with good fading action and better command than he showed on his fastball. The four-seamer was mostly 90-93, and Weaver left a lot of them up, something he will not be able to get away with in pro ball. His slider is below average, at 81-84, backing up on him frequently; even when he throws it well, it's short and has no bite or dive to it.

His delivery is a mixed bag, more positive than negative. He's lean, but extremely flexible, like Lincecum was when he was younger, and so he gets well out over his front side at release, which is good for long-term health and also can help his average fastball play up. He's on line to the plate, and he gets on top of the ball most of the time from a three-quarters slot, so he should be better than what I saw in terms of working down in the zone. Weaver pronates his forearm late, though, after his front foot has already landed.

Weaver has such a quick arm it beggars belief that he can't throw at least an average slider; I would imagine any team that drafts Weaver would make developing that pitch their first priority with him, and while I hate projecting a pitcher, especially a college guy, to develop a pitch he currently doesn't have, Weaver at least has the proper elements to be an exception. I might have ranked him five spots too high in late March, but I think he's a good pick late in the first round for a team that wants a quicker-moving college starter in a year where the greatest depth is in high school pitchers.

And since I know some of you will ask, Jameis Winston didn't pitch; he played a little in left field, had one at-bat, and popped up.

Weaver also was the highlight feature of Baseball America's College Draft Prospects Stat Roundup: Week 10

Florida State righthander Luke Weaver twirled a complete-game three-hitter against Wake Forest, surrendering one run while striking out seven. The lean, athletic Weaver sat 89-92 with his fastball with natural tail from a three-quarters arm slot. Weaver, young for the class, has the potential for above-average control and has walked 1.9 per-nine this season with a 3.9 strikeout-walk ratio. The quick-armed Weaver has been proficient in shutting down the opponents' running games, allowing only three stolen base attempts in 70 innings.

Watching Weaver pitch is so much fun, he throws with so little effort and when he is on it is so impressive. The work him and pitching coach Mike Bell have put in is really paying off and he will be rewarded greatly come June.

Previewing the Hatters

The Seminoles have won 12 of the last 13 meetings against Stetson including a clean sweep last season in which they outscored them 47-11 in four games. Stetson is not any better this season as their RPI checks in at 213 and has only one win (Miami) against a team with an RPI in the top 100.

OFFENSE

The Florida State offense is still looking great at this point in the season, they are coming off a series in which they only were able to score 12 runs but the opportunities were there. They had an on-base percentage over .400 for the series and if they plated the baserunners that they normally do they should have scored around 20 runs. Again the process is there so it is safe to assume the results will follow.

Stetson's offense struggles to score runs and they really struggle to score runs against top competition. In their eight games against teams with a top 100 RPI they managed to score only 16 runs (2.0 r/g) and 7 of those runs came in their only win against Miami. The Hatters have only one regular player with an OBP greater than .400 while the Noles have six starters who can say that.

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It is very obvious who Stetson's best hitter is, Patrick Mazeika, the first baseman and designated hitter is hitting .375/.486/.465 on the season and has impressively walked nine more times that he has struck out. Outfielder Kyle Zech (.305/.376/.343) is another of the Hatters best players and their biggest threat on the base paths as he is 10 for 10 this season while Garrett Russini leads the team in homeruns with three.

For the Seminoles Josh Delph has stepped up since his return in the lineup, in the past six games he is 11 for 27 (.407) with three walks and four strikeouts. Catcher Danny de La Calle had 18 hits in the first 35 games of the season and has had 9 hits in his last four raising his average .52 points to .223 on the season. If the Noles can get any production out of the phenomenal fielding catcher they would take it as it was thought prior to the season that he couldn't keep a .200 batting average.

PITCHING

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The only starting pitcher to be named in this series is Billy Strode for the Seminoles who is coming off of two solid starts against Florida and Jacksonville. Last Tuesday versus the Dolphins the left hander threw 6 innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 4 and issuing 1 walk.

There is not a whole lot of concern with this Stetson staff as there isn't some surprise talent waiting to explode on the scene. The pitching staff for the Hatters has surrendered 50 runs in their eight games against elite competition and have not faced an offense the likes of Florida State.

For the Noles I really think it's necessary to pitch some of the seldom used young arms on the staff over the next two days. Everyone knows what they are going to get from Smith, Miller, and Jameis. We want to just see innings from guys like Silva, Burkhead, Byrd, Blatch and Voyles. It would be extremely disappointing if those pitchers were not able to pitch multiple innings.

COVERAGE

The games are only available to watch if you subscribe to Seminoles All-Access but we will have you covered here with the play by play.

Please familiarize yourself with the format changes as the game threads will not be in this article but can be found within the "Stream".

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The Seminoles should take both of these game easily, keep the regulars sharp and healthy while giving the backups and seldom used pitchers a chance to show their stuff.

See everyone back at 6PM. Go Noles!

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