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FSU baseball season preview: outfielders

Florida State’s outfield to be the strength of the lineup

Maine at Florida State Steve Johnson

FSU’s outfield is loaded with talent, but no so much depth. The ‘Noles will enter the spring with just four primary outfielders. Three of those four outfielders were all rated within the top six outfielders in the state of Florida coming out of high school. Florida State will have to replace JC Flowers and his 13 home runs in center field, but the Seminoles’ projected starting OF in 2020 combined for 167 starts in 2019. More so than his home runs, FSU will miss Flowers’ defense in center. A healthy season for FSU’s outfielders is key to the Seminoles’ success in 2020.

Left field

Elijah Cabell had quite the up and down year in 2020 after coming into FSU as one of the top recruits in the nation. Through FSU’s first fifteen games, Cabell was hitting .317 and had already hit five homers. But everything spiraled from there, as he started to struggle and could never get his swing back. The raw talent is still there for Elijah and he still has 80-grade power. If you want to see what light-tower power is, just watch a round of his BP. Recently in an interview with ABC 27’s Alison Posey, Mike Martin Jr. mentioned Elijah as a player that stepped up in the fall. Cabell will hit in the cleanup spot and be FSU’s everyday left fielder in 2020. Tyrell Brewer will likely play the infield for the Seminoles, but if someone gets injured in the OF, he has the athletic ability and experience to play any of the three outfield spots. He played left field for a few innings in the fall and looked comfortable doing it.

Center field

Reese Albert will likely get the call to replace Flowers in CF whenever he gets back to full health. With a full season of health, Albert can likely duplicate JC’s 13 home runs, if not eclipse that number. The junior is the leader of the offense in 2020 and will likely man the leadoff spot after the departure of Mike Salvatore. When Albert is healthy, the ‘Noles have a dangerous lineup that can strike from anywhere in the order and also one of the best outfields in the ACC. The left-handed hitter is currently ranked the 72nd best college prospect for the 2020 draft, but a healthy season could see him go even higher in the draft. JUCO transfer Isaiah Perry is likely the backup in CF on the depth chart, but will be most effective as a pinch runner. Perry is a burner on the base paths and has shown the ability to steal bags at a high rate, as he stole 15 bags in 49 games last season. Perry also has the ability to range center field with his elite speed.

Right field

Robby Martin will return to the heart of FSU’s order as the Seminoles’ leading return in batting average after an impressive freshman year. After DH’ing for most of 2019, Martin will be FSU’s everyday right fielder in 2020. Coming off a Freshman All-American season, Martin will be looked at to be the man in the middle of the lineup. Robby will likely hit in the third spot for most of the season, as FSU looks for a bit more pop out of his bat. The sophomore is a stereotypical RF, big body, not too much range, and a strong arm. The key for Martin in the field will be taking the right angles to balls and cutting off some distance to make up for a lack of speed. The ‘Noles will be in really good hands with Martin’s bat in the heart of the order every day. Cooper Swanson is another infielder that could see some time in the OF if one of the starters goes down. The corner INF saw some time in LF and RF in the fall and has the athletic ability to range the outfield, but doesn’t look completely comfortable yet. Swanson will likely be an everyday starter, but in the INF unless something drastic happens.

For more of Posey’s interview with Junior, you can check out their 20+ minute conversation here.

FSU received their fourth top-14 preseason ranking of the year from the USA Today Coaches’ poll on Friday morning as practice begins.