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Florida State's Offense Holding Their Own

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Despite some early struggles the Florida State offense has started to look much better in the past six games. This is good news as today is the beginning of conference play with Boston College coming into town.

In the season preview we spoke to the inexperience and youth that is comprised on this year's baseball team. Roughly 40% of the teams plate appearances to date have come from players who are breaking into division one baseball for the first time with a third of those plate appearance coming from true freshman. Let's first take a look as how this season compares to those of the past three years.

Florida State Offense through the first 3 weeks
TEAM GP SB % K% BB% Rsco% R/G AVG OBP SLG OPS BABIP IsoP
2015 13 72.2% 22.5% 16.9% 41.5% 7.8 0.269 0.419 0.455 0.873 0.340 0.186
2014 11 80.0% 15.1% 15.6% 45.9% 8.5 0.295 0.431 0.424 0.856 0.350 0.129
2013 12 66.7% 11.3% 16.4% 46.4% 9.3 0.301 0.455 0.482 0.937 0.328 0.181
2012 12 73.3% 14.6% 16.0% 41.9% 8.3 0.311 0.445 0.454 0.899 0.357 0.143

Before we look at the numbers specifically lets think back to the players that were on some of the older teams. In 2012 the offense returned Jayce Boyd and Devon Travis were juniors and Sherman Johnson was a senior season, coming off great 2011 seasons and who would all be drafted highly at season's end. . You might also remember an outfielder by the name of James Ramsey who returned for his senior season and was a first round draft pick.

Comparing the outlook of the 2013 season to that of this season wouldn't be all that unrealistic. The Noles lost a ton to the draft and had relatively few proven players. By year's end Jose Brizuela and Stephen McGee had breakout seasons and Florida State was lucky to hit on JUCO transfer Marcus Davis. The real story of the offense that year was DJ Stewart's campaign that made him a unanimous Freshman All-American.

There was no doubt that the 2014 offense was going to be excellent again with 60% of their total at bats from 2013 plus the return of Justin Gonzalez who had 500 career at bats prior to the injury. That team proved to be one of the best in the country as DJ Stewart won ACC Player of the Year and three position players were drafted.

Entering this season you knew you could count on DJ Stewart and so far he has delivered but who else was ready to break out. Ben Deluzio had a nice freshman season but his numbers did not stand out, he struck out twice as much as he walked and yes he showed flashes but there was still major work to be done. So when you compare this season to those in the past it is reasonable to expect early season struggles when you are trying to fill a lineup with uncertainty.

What do we notice from this season's numbers as compared to last, the glaring difference is the amount of strikeouts this team has accumulated so far. More than one strikeout per every five plate appearances is awful and to be honest I am not sure how that will trend the rest of the season. The hope is that the more comfortable players become that number will decrease but there is also a concern as the level of competition is going to improve as conference play begins. The silver lining with the plate discipline is that this Noles team is walking with more frequency than those in the past. Florida State is currently second in the nation at free passes and in the past seven seasons the Noles have finished first 5 times, second once and third once. Those numbers are truly remarkable.

2015 SEASON STATISTICS - FLORIDA STATE
RETURNERS PA SB % K% BB% AVG OBP SLG OPS BABIP IsoP
DJ Stewart 60 100.0% 23.3% 30.0% 0.350 0.567 0.800 1.367 0.429 0.450
Danny De La Calle 49 0.0% 24.5% 4.1% 0.286 0.333 0.476 0.810 0.333 0.190
Josh Delph 52 50.0% 26.9% 17.3% 0.275 0.423 0.425 0.848 0.385 0.150
John Sansone 62 33.3% 22.6% 16.1% 0.208 0.387 0.458 0.845 0.226 0.250
Ben DeLuzio 54 100.0% 27.8% 9.3% 0.170 0.259 0.191 0.451 0.242 0.021
Hank Truluck 17 100.0% 29.4% 17.6% 0.357 0.471 0.571 1.042 0.556 0.214
Gage West 27 #DIV/0! 18.5% 11.1% 0.348 0.444 0.565 1.010 0.444 0.217
TOTALS 321 66.7% 24.6% 15.6% 0.268 0.406 0.476 0.883 0.339 0.209
2015 SEASON STATISTICS - FLORIDA STATE
NEWCOMERS PA SB % K% BB% AVG OBP SLG OPS BABIP IsoP
Taylor Walls 60 100.0% 18.3% 26.7% 0.326 0.517 0.372 0.889 0.438 0.047
Darren Miller 51 0.0% 21.6% 21.6% 0.300 0.451 0.500 0.951 0.393 0.200
Dylan Busby 48 100.0% 20.8% 16.7% 0.250 0.438 0.417 0.854 0.320 0.167
Quincy Nieporte 32 #DIV/0! 18.8% 9.4% 0.120 0.226 0.160 0.386 0.143 0.040
Hayden Kelly 6 #DIV/0! 16.7% 16.7% 0.500 0.833 1.000 1.833 1.000 0.500
Steven Wells, Jr. 10 #DIV/0! 0.0% 10.0% 0.375 0.444 0.875 1.319 0.286 0.500
TOTALS 207 83.3% 18.8% 19.3% 0.273 0.444 0.416 0.859 0.342 0.143

If you look at the players stats to date you will see that the newcomers are the ones who are actually showing better plate discipline than the veterans. You have to be extremely pleased with the way the freshmen on this team have come around this early on in the season. If a few veterans find their swing, Chris Marconcini can get healthy and contribute the offense will look like those of season's past.

Florida State's conference schedule is brutal this season with the road series it has to play so opening up ACC play with a northern team that has yet to play a home game will be beneficial if they look to win their 9th straight Atlantic Division title. The Eagles have primarily played at neutral sites in some type of classic against lesser opponents coming away with a 5-3 record. Their only true test to date was at LSU where they lost 31-9 in a three game sweep.

Game 14 - Boston College March 6

First Pitch: 6:00 p.m. ET

FSU Starter: RHP, Mike Compton (0-0, 1.98 ERA)

BC Starter: RHP, Jeff Burke (0-2, 7.53 ERA)

Radio: Internet Stream - Seminoles.com

TV/Internet: ESPN3

Game 15 - Boston College March 7

First Pitch: 6:00 p.m. ET

FSU Starter: RHP, Boomer Biegalski (1-1, 3.38 ERA)

BC Starter: RHP, John Gorman (1-1, 5.29 ERA)

Radio: 106.1 FM - Tallahassee

TV/Internet: NolesTV

Game 16 - Boston College

March 8 First Pitch: 1:00 p.m. ET

FSU Starter: RHP, Cobi Johnson (1-1, 8.49 ERA)

BC Starter: RHP, Justin Dunn (2-0, 4.63 ERA)

Radio: Internet Stream - Seminoles.com

TV/Internet: ESPN3

Friday and Sunday starting pitchers have combined for only 14.1 innings in their last 4 starts. If that doesn't improve then the Noles need to look at other pitchers and fortunately there does appear to be other options. Should the bullpen come into play earlier than desired the hopes are that the bullpen can maintain the high level of pitching that we have seen over the last week.

The Noles are the better team and if they play like they have been recently a sweep is probably likely, if the starting pitching struggles and the bullpen can't step up expect a loss. Coverage begins today starting at 6PM and can be viewed on ESPN3. Sunday's game is also on ESPN3 with Saturday's contest available on NolesTV which is offering a free 3 day trial this weekend. As always we will have all of your updates and play by play.

Go Noles!