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Meet the new ’Noles of FSU baseball: INF Mike Salvatore

New Jersey native may be an Opening Day starter.

Mike Salvatore
Photo by Don Juan Moore

The Florida State Seminoles baseball team needs to replace both of its middle infielders from a year ago. On Friday, you read about a strong candidate to fill one vacancy. Now it’s time to meet Mike Salvatore — a JUCO transfer that could secure the shortstop job.

Mike Salvatore (INF)

Graduating from Ewing (NJ) High School as the fourth best shortstop in the state, Salvatore received a phone call from the Cincinnati Reds during the 19th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Rather than sign his pro contract, he decided to enroll in Junior College, at Northwest Florida State College. It’s common for high school kids that get drafted, and don’t sign, to choose JUCO ball instead of a 4-year school. NJCAA rules allow players to re-enter the draft after each JUCO season. Division I schools, on the other hand, require that you finish your junior year (or meet age requirements) before being draft-eligible again.

“I didn’t feel like the timing was right,” Salvatore told me during a phone conversation. “School seemed like the right thing to do and it gave me a chance to develop a little more.”

Stolen bases may increase for FSU

Last season he led Northwest Florida State in hits (53), runs (39), and stolen bases (12), while posting a .293 batting average. With the departure of Dylan Busby (.315 BA) and Quincy Nieporte (.302), FSU needs several players to step up and fill numerous statistical voids. Salvatore’s speed is going to be something to keep an eye on. Certainly the level of competition is different but, speed is speed. His 12 steals last season were two more than any member of the Seminoles.

“I’d like to think that’s how it’s gonna be,” Salvatore said when asked about being in the starting lineup on February 16. He certainly made his presence felt during their Garnet & Gold Series in October — homering in the first game.

It appears that he is in competition with Cooper Swanson for the starting shortstop role. Swanson is another newcomer this season and you’ll be able to learn more about him later this week.