Pitching talent and depth will be the strength of Florida State’s 2020 season. The weekend rotation has a real chance to be one of the best in the nation. The rotation consists of three pitchers that all had an ERA under four and over 50 innings in the 2019 season. All three pitchers are juniors and could be taken within the first 10 rounds of the upcoming MLB draft. In 2019, the three pitchers combined for a 3.72 ERA in 215.1 innings pitched. The juniors also combined for a 11.3 K/9 throughout their sophomore years. FSU’s 2017 recruiting class is paying dividends on the hill.
Friday starter: CJ Van Eyk
Florida State’s 2020 ace will be CJ Van Eyk. Van Eyk has some of the best stuff on the hill that Dick Howser stadium has seen in years. Heading into the season, the junior is projected to be a first round pick and an All-American. In his first season in the Seminoles’ weekend rotation, the Tampa-native compiled a 3.81 ERA in 99.1 IP. Batters put up a .234 average against Van Eyk as he struck out 11.7 batters/9. With an added slider into his arsenal, he will be even harder for hitters to get to in 2020. The RHP will have to work on controlling the zone at a higher rate, after a 3.7 BB/9 in 2019, to be more efficient and eat up some more innings for the Seminoles. With Van Eyk heading the weekend rotation, FSU should win a lot of games on Friday nights.
Saturday starter: Shane Drohan
In 2019, Shane Drohan opened up the season as FSU’s Sunday starter after a strong fall. Through 10 starts, the lefty had a 3.60 ERA, but was demoted from the role due to struggles with command and efficiency. For the season, Drohan posted an above average 3.66 ERA, but struggled with a 1.85 WHIP and 8.43 BB/9. Despite the struggles with command, Drohan was able to get away with it with his ability to miss bats. The LHP posted a 12.5 K/9 and gave up just two homers on his 16 appearances. If he can consistently attack the zone, he has the potential and raw stuff to be one of the more effective lefties in the nation. Since being paired up with new pitching coach Jimmy Belanger, he’s looked in control on the mound. After being sped up on the hill by Belanger, Drohan didn’t walk or hit any batters in four innings of fall ball. If he can keep attacking the zone with his fastball, he will have a productive junior season.
Sunday starter: Conor Grady
Conor Grady took Drohan’s spot in the rotation after a hot start to his sophomore season and an ACC pitcher of the week honor in April. Grady will once again fill the Sunday role for the ‘Noles in 2020 after posting a 3.64 ERA in 2019. As a sophomore, the righty posted a 1.25 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9 in 64.1 innings. After being made a weekend starter, Grady posted a quality start in three of his five starts, including two during FSU’s postseason run. The Tampa-native posted the lowest batting average against of the three starters, with a .228 BAA. The righty gave up more than two runs in just four of his 25 appearances on the 2019 season. With two plus off-speed pitches, Grady should keep right-handed and left-handed hitters off balance all season.