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FSU baseball all-decade team: Pitchers

Florida State pitchers compiled a 3.76 ERA in the decade

Florida State v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

On Friday, we released our All-decade FSU position players and now it’s time for the best of the best pitchers. Florida State pitchers put together a 3.76 ERA over the last 10 years and have produced multiple high round draft picks from the mound. The list is highlighted by a trio of pitchers from the 2011 recruiting class which took over the weekend rotation from 2012-2014. The Seminoles have also had some dominant arms come out of the pen in the last ten years, including multiple sidearmers and even a Heisman winner. Our list has been broken down into four starters, a closer, and four relievers. Each category goes by alphabetical order and includes honorable mentions.

Starter: Mike Compton

Mike Compton
Mike Compton
  • 2012: 91 IP, 2.87 ERA, 6.33 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 1.29 WHIP
  • 2014: 83.2 IP, 3.23 ERA, 5.41 K/9, 2.06 BB/9, 1.35 WHIP
  • 2015: 71 IP, 3.55 ERA, 8.87 K/9, 1.52 BB/9, 1.23 WHIP
  • 2016: 60.1 IP, 4.92 ERA, 4.79 K/9, 2.85 BB/9, 1.48 WHIP

Why it’s Compton: Mike Compton quickly made an impact at FSU, tying the FSU record for wins by a freshman with a 12-2 record on the season. Compton’s 2.87 freshman ERA earned him All-ACC second-team and first-team freshman All-American honors. Compton’s career was slowed down by Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the entirety of his 2013 season. Compton came back from surgery to post a 3.23 ERA and seven wins in his redshirt sophomore season. Compton’s K/9 dropped to just 5.41, but he also lowered his BB/9 to 2.06. That trend continued for the righty in 2015 as his BB/9 dropped to just 1.52 as he compiled a 3.55 ERA on the year. The sinker-baller had a rough redshirt senior season, as his ERA rose to 4.92, but he still put together a 3.53 ERA in 306 career innings at FSU.

Starter: Tyler Holton

Larry Novey
  • 2016: 67.2 IP, 2.79 ERA, 11.25 K/9, 4.42 BB/9, 1.38 WHIP
  • 2017: 119.1 IP, 2.34 ERA, 10.88 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, .91 WHIP

Why it’s Holton: Tyler Holton was another freshman All-American pitcher for the ‘Noles as he earned second-team honors after a sub-three ERA season. The crafty lefty put together the lowest ERA of any starting pitcher on the 2016 roster while also leading the team with 84 strikeouts. Holton only got better in his sophomore year as he gained more control of the zone and lowered his walks/hits per inning to just 0.91. The crafty lefty attacked the zone with all of his pitches as he led the Seminoles’ starters with a 2.34 ERA, good for third lowest in the ACC. Holton’s big sophomore year led to first team All-ACC and first team All-American honors. The Tallahassee-native lost his junior year to Tommy John surgery afterinjuring his throwing arm on Opening Day of the 2018 season. Holton finished his FSU career with a 2.46 ERA over 191.2 IP.

Starter: Brandon Leibrandt

Gallery Photo: Florida State Move on to Supers Blowing by Troy
  • 2012: 99 IP, 2.82 ERA, 7.55 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 1.19 WHIP
  • 2013: 89 IP, 3.44 ERA, 7.79 K/9, 3.03 BB/9, 1.34 WHIP
  • 2014: 39.1 IP, 1.83 ERA, 6.91 K/9, 2.07 BB/9, 1.02 WHIP

Why it’s Liebrandt: Brandon Liebrandt was another freshman All-American for the Seminoles as he put up a 2.82 ERA in 99 innings in 2012. Liebrandt’s 99 innings and 83 strikeouts were both team highs. The lanky lefty struggled early in his sophomore campaign, but allowed one run or less in six of his last eight starts to finish the season with a 3.44 ERA. Leibrandt may have featured the best pickoff move in Dick Howser stadium history, as he picked off 13 runners in just 16 starts over the course of 2013. After a hot start to his junior year, Leibrandt lost his 2014 to an injury after posting a 1.83 ERA in his first six starts. The lefty went on to be picked in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB draft after compiling a 2.89 ERA in 227.1 IP at Florida State.

Starter: Luke Weaver

Luke Weaver
  • 2012: 41 IP, 5.93 ERA, 8.78 K/9, 4.61 BB/9, 1.51 WHIP
  • 2013: 98.1 IP, 2.29 ERA, 10.92 K/9, 1.74 BB/9, .99 WHIP
  • 2014: 106.1 IP, 2.62 ERA, 7.21 K/9, 1.95 BB/9, 1.05 WHIP

Why it’s Weaver: Luke Weaver got off to a rough start at FSU, posting an era of nearly six in his freshman year. The righty struggled with his command in 2012 as he walked 4.61 batters per nine. Weaver quickly turned it around to become one of the best starters in Florida State history. The Deland-native posted an ERA of just 2.29 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.26. The RHP was efficient, accurate, and tough to hit, giving up an opponents’ batting average of just .221. The numbers earned him just an All-ACC second team honor, don’t ask me how that was all. Weaver got his respect the next season, as he was given first team All-ACC honors and third team All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball newspaper after posting a 2.62 ERA in 106.1 innings. The Florida-native went on to be drafted 19th overall in the 2014 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays after posting a 2.47 ERA over his two seasons as a starter for the ‘Noles.

Honorable mention starters: Sean Gilmartin, Drew Carlton, Drew Parrish, Boomer Bieglaski

Closer: Robert Benincasa
  • 2010: 22 IP, 5.32 ERA, 6.55 K/9, 7.36 BB/9, 1.91 WHIP
  • 2011: 32.2 IP, 3.58 ERA, 6.71 K/9, 3.35 BB/9, 1.30 WHIP
  • 2012: 41 IP, 1.32 ERA, 12.73 K/9, 1.54 BB/9, .76 WHIP, 16 SV

Why it’s Benincasa: Robert Benincasa didn’t have the best career of an FSU reliever on this lost, but he was the most dominant closer in the decade. Let’s highlight Benincasa’s 2012 season to see just how clutch he was in the 9th inning. In 41 innings of work, Benincase allowed just 31 baserunners while striking out 58 batters. He held hitters to a .163 batting average while striking out 8.3 batters for every walk. He converted 16 saves on the season, second most in a single season by an FSU pitcher. Eight of the righty’s saves came in one-run situations, while four others came in two-run situations. The clutch season led the Tampa-native to a handful of honors including first team All-American, finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and first team All-ACC. Benincasa went onto be drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft after his junior season.

Honorable mention: JC Flowers

Reliever: Daniel Bennett
  • 2010: 41 IP, 3.51 ERA, 10.10 K/9, 3.51 BB/9, 1.39 WHIP, 3 SV
  • 2011: 51.1 IP, 2.10 ERA, 8.42 K/9, 3.51 BB/9, 1.21 WHIP, 15 SV

Why it’s Bennett: Daniel Bennett transferred to FSU for his junior and senior years after spending two seasons at TCC. Bennett quickly made an impact in his first year at FSU, making 35 appearances out of the FSU bullpen. In 41 innings, the sidearmer struck out 46 batters while putting up a 3.51 ERA. The Tallahassee-native was permanently moved to the closer role the next season as he posted 15 saves and a 2.10 ERA. Bennett’s strikeout numbers dropped, but he limited hard contact as he gave up just 7.36 H/9. The 6’4 RHP gave up just two home runs in 51 innings as he kept the ball on the ground from his low arm slot. Bennett went on to be drafted in the 19th round after his two-year career at Florida State.

Reliever: Gage Smith

Gallery Photo: Seminoles Dominate Trojans
  • 2012: 53 IP, 2.89 ERA, 5.43 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 1.32 WHIP, 3 SV
  • 2013: 41 IP, 2.41 ERA, 7.02 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, 1.05 WHIP, 1 SV
  • 2014: 64 IP, 2.39 ERA, 4.36 K/9, .84 BB/9, .98 WHIP, 1 SV

Why it’s Smith: Gage Smith was another reliable sidearmer to come out of the FSU pen. In his three years at FSU, Smith never posted a season ERA over 2.89. Smith didn’t see any action in his first two years at FSU before breaking out in 2012 with a 2.89 ERA over 53 innings. Smith’s 39 appearances out of the pen were tied for the ACC lead. Smith lowered his BB/9 by 1.13 walks as his ERA dropped to 2.41 as he led the team in appearances for the second straight year. Smith didn’t have any appearances in which he walked multiple batters. The Tallahassee-native saved his best year for last, as he appeared in a career-high 40 games, leading the ACC for the third straight year, and posted a ERA of 2.39. The season earned him All-ACC third team honors as he went on to be drafted in the 25th round of the 2014 draft by the Detroit Tigers.

Reliever: Billy Strode
  • 2013: 37 IP, 2.43 ERA, 8.03 K/9, 1.95 BB/9, 1.03 WHIP, 1 SV
  • 2014: 48 IP, 2.63 ERA, 9.19 K/9, 4.31 BB/9, 1.27 WHIP
  • 2015: 35 IP, 1.80 ERA, 11.83 K/9, 4.37 BB/9, 1.14 WHIP, 14 SV

Why it’s Strode: Billy Strode might’ve had the best career of any reliever on this list. Strode came to FSU after one year at Indian River State College and put up a 2.43 ERA in his first year at FSU. The lanky lefty posted 33 strikeouts in 37 innings in his 20 appearances. Strode picked up where he left off the next year with a 2.63 ERA in 24 appearances, while striking out 49 batters in 48 innings. Strode also compiled a 17.2 inning scoreless string at one point in the season. Strode’s biggest season came in his senior year as he was moved to closer and recorded 14 saves on the season. A 1.80 ERA earned the lefty third team All-American honors. Strode held hitters to a minimal average of .189 off of him. He went on to be drafted in the 10th round of the 2015 MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians.

Reliever: Jameis Winston

NCAA BASEBALL: MAR 04 Florida State at USF Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • 2013: 27 IP, 3.00 ERA, 7.00 K/9, 4.00 BB/9, 1.11 WHIP, 2 SV
  • 2014: 33.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 8.37 K/9, 1.89 BB/9, .75 WHIP, 7 SV

Why it’s Winston: Well because it’s Famous Jameis, ever heard of him? Jameis Winston was one heck of a pitcher for FSU and is on list for that, not the amount of fans he brought to FSU games to watch the Heisman winner pitch. Winston absolutely dominated in 2014 on the mound, recording a team high seven saves and a team low 1.08 ERA. The QB and RHP held hitters to a .154 average against while posting a minimal WHIP of .75. There isn’t much more to say about Jameis, I’m thinking most FSU fans know about this guy. If you’re reading this Jameis, if the Bucs don’t give you a contract after this season, I’d love to see you strikeout Tim Tebow in triple A next year.

Honorable mention relievers: Chase Haney, Alec Byrd, Robby Coles, Jim Voyles