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17 days till FSU baseball: Clayton Kwiatkowski to be senior leader in the bullpen

Clay K comes into his senior year with 67 appearances on the mound as a ‘Nole

Florida State hosts Stetson Steve Johnson

Clayton Kwiatkowski has been a dependable option out of the pen from the moment he stepped on campus in Tallahassee. As a freshmen, the lefty posted a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings on the hill. In his sophomore year he compiled a 3.18 ERA in 45.1 innings before posting a 4.00 ERA in 36 innings throughout his junior year. Entering his senior season, the Tampa-native has compiled a 3.69 ERA in 103.1 innings. Last season was the first season that Kwiatkowski really got hit around, as he gave up 38 hits in 36 innings, but he kept the ball in the park for the most part, giving up just two homers. The lefty also put up his best BB/9 in 2019, but still walked four batters per nine as he works outside the zone with off speed pitches for the most part.

Kwaitkowski mainly works with three pitches. The lefty is most effective against lefties due to a big sweeping breaking ball. Each of his three years at FSU, he’s posted a K/9 above nine. The lefty is pretty untouchable against lefties, but had to face more righties in 2019 as the FSU had weak depth in the pen when it came to right-handed arms. Clay K’s fastball will come in at the 87-89 MPH range with some two-seam action as most lefties have. He also throws the big breaking ball in the 75-77 MPH range. He can also drop in an effective changeup against lefties and righties. With not the hardest fastball, Kwiatkowski relies on execution and a lot of swing-and-misses outside the zone on the curveball.

In 2020, we could see less appearances, but a better ERA for the lefty. FSU added three new LHP freshmen on to the veteran LHP trio of Antonio Velez, Jonah Scolaro, and Kwaitkowski this offseason and also multiple dependable right-handed arms. Kwiatkowski can once again focus on getting lefties out in 2020 and be spared some innings by other arms. He can get right-handed hitters out and be effective, but he’s at his best when he’s facing lefties. Maybe the most important part of his 2020 will be as a senior leader and showing the young lefties how to get the job done.

Baseball America dropped their ACC conference preview on Tuesday afternoon, which features lots of honors for the Seminoles.