Every year around this time the Florida State baseball team loses some committed prospects - and some underclassmen - to the Major League Draft. How did we fare this year? Read on for more on what prospects we can expect on campus now that the signing deadline has passed, and what our Noles are up to during the offseason.
To start things off, here are the current players that were drafted:
D'Vontrey RichardsonRound: 5
Pick: 166th overall
Organization: Milwaukee Brewers
Contract Details: Undisclosed
This should come as no surprise to anyone that has been paying attention; although D'Vontrey is extremely raw, he has all the tools to be a really, really good baseball player - he is branded by many scouts to have the all-important five tools. Unfortunately college coaches have to make a choice between investing time on a player that has a huge upside but might not reach his potential in his time at the school against playing a player that may be more developed but has a lower ceiling. At the end of the day you need to win the games you play, so the coaches chose not to play him as much as he probably deserved. Although he saw limited action with the Noles, the Brewers recognized his abilities and made him the first FSU player drafted. While the details were not disclosed, his contract had to be approved because it was higher than the average 5th round pick, which means Richardson probably got a pretty good payday. Good for him.
Jason StidhamRound: 8
Pick: 249th overall
Organization: St. Louis Cardinals
Contract Details: Undisclosed
Not going to lie guys, this one hurts. Jason Stidham would have been the undisputed senior leader of this team had he stayed. He was great defensively and an extremely clutch hitter. We are going to miss his left handed bat next year. You cannot blame him for leaving, as college seniors often lose a lot of leverage in the draft and he got drafted a little higher than projected. He has now taken his talents to the Quad Cities River Bandits, and we wish him the best of luck as he was an outstanding Nole.
Jimmy MarshallRound: 23
Pick: 697th overall
Organization: Los Angeles Dodgers
Contract Details: Undisclosed
This one doesn't hurt at all, as Marshall was a senior and thus was done with the Noles anyways. Although he did struggle last year, lacking the expected poise and leadership of a senior, he nonetheless was an outstanding Nole during his time here. The problems he has with locating his baseball should be fixed in the minors.
A name that Seminole fans should be glad to not see in that list is Stephen Cardullo's. He played very well last year and some felt he might be picked early enough to leave. Fortunately most teams shied away from picking him and he will be returning next season. His bat and defense will be much needed for the Noles.
Alright then - enough of the current players. Like any other college sport, recruiting is the key to keeping up the level of a play in a program. Unfortunately, college baseball coaches have to deal with the draft taking away prized recruits. Since the minor league system is a place where an organization can polish a player, many high school students see no point in going the college route and simply take any money thrown their way in the draft. To make matters worse most contracts include a clause that the organization will pay for the prospect's education when the time comes. So that only leaves a select few who choose to get the college experience while improving their stock. To put it in perspective, Jason Stidham was a 30-something round draft pick coming out of high school and worked his way to the 8th round. It is hard to fault these young prospects, so coaches have to dance a thin line between signing prospects you expect on campus versus signing prospects that will simply use the school's name during negotiations but will realistically never make it in. Some have criticized Mike Martin for not properly taking this into account in recent years, as the 'Noles regularly lose their top recruits in the early rounds of the draft. So how did we fare this year? Here are the FSU commitments that were drafted this year:
|Keyvius Sampson||P/INF||4th||114th||San Diego Padres||YES|
|Ryan Scooter Gennett||INF||16th||496th||Milwaukee Brewers||YES|
|Jayce Boyd||1B/3B||19th||574th||Texas Rangers||NO|
|Robert Benincasa||P||33rd||1000th||Toronto Blue Jays||NO|
|Jacobbi McDaniel||1B||33rd||1006th||Milwaukee Brewers||NO|
|Brett Lee||P||40th||1195th||Pittsburgh Pirates||NO|
|Justin Gonzalez||INF||46th||1391th||Houston Astros||NO|
To put things in perspective, UNC lost 4 players - 2 prospects and 2 current players - in the first round alone.
Losing Keyvius Sampson really hurts because he really is a terrific prospect and would have been a starter from day 1. Although not a strict power pitcher, what really makes Sampson special is his movement: "Sampson throws both a four-seamer with rise and a two-seamer (86-90 MPH) with sink." Unfortunately he was offered $600,000 - who can turn that down? Sampson went 9-1 with a 0.84 ERA and 134 strikeouts as a senior.
The one prospect we should all be excited about is Jayce Boyd. Projected much higher than the 19th round, he slid because teams were concerned about how much it would take to get him to sign. The Rangers were unable to come to an agreement with Boyd, and he is expected to start classes at FSU in just a few days. What does he bring to the table?
Pitching Coach Jamey Shouppe compared Boyd to Chipper Jones, and we should all be so lucky. Although he plays 3B, I think Tapley is pretty well established there. I expect him to start at 1B, or some shuffling to happen in order to put him in his natural position.
In other 'Nole news, pitcher Austin Wood has transferred to St. Petersburg College. This is yet another pitcher in a long line of disappointing scouting work done by Shouppe and the baseball staff. We have a tendency to sign power pitchers and try to make them into something they are not, and Wood was the latest casualty as he constantly struggled with the curve ball we wanted him to make. It's really not a good reflection on the staff that our best pitcher we simply stumbled upon, as Gilmartin was not recruited primarily as a pitcher, or at least not as a starter.
So what about our current players? Although the season is over, the fun never ends. All-star Tyler Holt was selected to play for Team USA and has done so admirably. In 19 games this summer, Holt is hitting .397 with USA Baseball. Meanwhile, John Gast (a 5th rounder coming out of high school) has been playing for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League - he has a 1.65 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched. This is big because we really need him to be consistent next year. Another name you should all be excited about is that of Sherman Johnson - although he really only saw a handful of at bats last year, you can expect to see a lot more of him this year. So far he is hitting .320 for the Covington Lumberjacks of the Valley League, and was selected to their All-Star game. I really expect big things from Sherman in the coming years.