Florida State baseball is a family affair, quite literally and figuratively. It should only be about 30 years from now that Florida State has won 40+ games in 70 straight seasons as Mike Martin Jr. retires and Tyler Martin takes over as head coach of the FSU program. But for now, Tyler is taking place in his first fall ball as he gears up for the 2021 season.
We had the chance to speak to the 2nd-year freshman this past week about the fall and expectations for the 2021 season.
After a stellar freshman season, the signs should only be pointing upwards for Martin in 2021 for after a unique quarantine experience. The infielder was one of the only players in the country that can say they spent their entire quarantine with their dad and coach.
On being with Meat during the quarantine, he said, “Nothing changed, we were just out there working every day, just finding fields around Tallahassee, just doing what we could with what we had and taking ground balls, hitting, just staying on top of this to get better every day. We definitely grew closer without a doubt.”
Due to early enrolling in the spring, Martin didn’t have a fall ball season to get ready for the season last year. That didn’t give him much time to get used to college pitching or add strength for the regular season.
On the importance of having fall ball this season, Martin said, “It’s going to be huge for strength. I didn’t have the two or three months to really get in the weight room and bear down and put on weight. I was in the high school atmosphere. Definitely strength-wise for sure it’s huge.”
The fall ball season also allows him to get his arm healthy, a lingering issue he had in the spring. He mentioned that his throwing arm/shoulder is back to full health. “That’s a hundred percent now, I think the big part of that was, again, I didn’t get that fall to really get my arm in shape. I showed up in the spring and it kind of all came on me at once. I’m throwing hard every single day, every single rep, and that caught up to me. I had some shoulder problems, but it’s all cleared up now it’s back to good.”
The Tallahassee Native was a quick impact player as a freshman, as he was named a freshman All-American. To many people’s surprise, he led off on opening day. But as the games went by, it was no longer a surprise why he was leading off. The intangibles that Martin brings to the lineup perfectly suits the leadoff spot. He makes contact, works counts, and takes walks to get on base for the heart of the order.
For Martin, that leadoff spot is something he takes pride in. “I love it. I mean I want to be the first to see what the guy’s got. Set the tone from the get-go and let him know that 1 through 9, we’re not going to be an easy out. We’re gonna battle, we’re going to grind, we’re not going to give anything to you.”
When it comes to positions, Martin doesn’t have a certain preference. For most of the season he DH’d due to his arm issues, but we also saw him some at third and first base. This year, we’ll likely see him mainly at third and second base.
On playing a certain infield position, the Chiles graduate said, “It doesn’t matter. I’ll play anywhere. I’m a utility, I knew that coming in. I just want to win. I just want to help the team and whatever the best fit is, I’ll do it.”
Behind Martin at the top of the order, Florida State returns all their starting position players, as well as a handful of potential impactful newcomers. Martin expects the bats to excel under the Florida State standard.
“Expectations, they don’t change. We’re going to walk and we’re really going to hit this year. The bats look promising right now, we’re seeing pitches, we’re getting deep in counts, and we’re putting good barrels on it. We’re doing things that make sense. We’re hitting what we should hit and taking what we should take.”