FSU baseball got underway today with their first official practice of the 2020 season. Mike Martin Jr. talked to the media during his first official regular season practice as head coach of the ‘Noles. Assistant coach Jimmy Belanger, Reese Albert, and CJ Van Eyk also spoke to the media. Junior stressed the importance of tempo and scrimmages in his interview. He also spoke on what it means to be the head coach of the ‘Noles on his first official practice.
Jimmy Belanger talked on the formation of the pitching staff and just how deep the bullpen can be. He also spoke on the progression of Shane Drohan and how a speed up in his delivery has helped with command issues. He also spoke on adding a new pitch to Van Eyk’s arsenal.
Albert spoke on his shoulder and how rehab is going. He told us that he’s back to 100% and he’ll be ready for the season. He also spoke on what it’s like to have Junior at the head of everything versus 11.
Van Eyk talked about adding a slider to his arsenal as his fourth pitch. He also spoke on the freshman class and their athletic ability. The Seminoles’ ace also talked about the pace of practices and facing his teammates in scrimmages.
I got to take in over two hours of practice today and had quite a few takeaways. First off, Dylan Simmons is a beast and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him as FSU’s everyday DH when as the season goes on. He’s a presence at the dish and puts a mammoth swing on the ball. FSU could be choosing between his power and Tyrell Brewer’s speed at the DH spot. The DH spot is one of four spots still up for grab.
At first base, Carter Smith looks like he will continue on from his role at the end of last season. Smith made multiple picks at first and looked more comfortable in the field than he did last year. Simmons and Caleb Cali joined Smith at first for drills. Nico Baldor has moved to the outfield, which he played in high school and at Miami. He will likely backup Robby Martin in right and battle for the DH spot.
Cooper Swanson looks like the favorite at third right now. In the field, the glove looked much better than last year but he’s still struggling with some throws across the diamond. Tyrell Brewer was also at third but struggled with the glove. Brewer looks like he may need more time developing in the field before starting at third. Tyler Martin looked dependable at third with the glove, but the arm drags quite a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Martin as a late game defensive sub. Defensively, third may be a bit of a liability.
Second base is the fourth and final spot that still has an ongoing battle for the Seminoles. Jackson Greene impressed me the most out of anyone with the glove on the afternoon. His glove was clean most of the day and the arm actions were quick and simple. He also looked much improved around the bag on double plays on the afternoon. Danny Andzel also took reps at second and may be the better of the two with the bat. Andzel or Greene should both be reliable options for the Seminoles.
Both Albert and Elijah Cabell manned center field throughout the afternoon. The two may be in defensive position battle heading into the season. Logan Lacey was another guy that has been moved to the outfield for some depth, but he was also FSU’s only other catcher in reps. This was the first time we had seen Lacey behind the plate since he came to FSU. Smith will likely still be the backup behind the plate, but Lacey may be the third option as Doug Kirkland focuses on pitching.