After passing up on pro ball and the 2018 MLB draft, Nander De Sedas came to Florida State as the number one freshman position player in the nation for the 2019 season. Early in the season, the middle infielder showed why, hitting .328 through 20 games with three home runs. After the hot start, the season started to turn south for the Panama-native. De Sedas was moved to second after 27 starts at short stop as he struggled to make throws across the diamond at a consistent rate. The bat also started to struggle, as his batting average dropped as low as .220 by early May. De Sedas showed his potential late in the season, as he went 6-15 in the UGA regional and drove in the winning run in FSU’s opening game at the CWS. He finished his freshman season hitting .231 with a .353 OBP and .690 OPS.
Since the end of the 2019 season, Nander has only shown signs of improvement. In the New England Collegiate Baseball League, De Sedas posted a .248 batting average with 14 XBH in 33 games. He also took home the defensive player of the year award while playing SS. The bat only got better during the fall in FSU’s exhibitions. In five games, De Sedas was 7-17 with 7 RBI, two doubles, one triple, three walks, three runs, and five strikeouts. More importantly, he made just one error while playing shortstop and looked fluid on the infield all of fall.
Despite the low batting average and struggles in the field, De Sedas was still a key contributor for FSU last season. He’ll return to the lineup as FSU’s leading returner in runs and starts, as well third in RBI’s. The first step for the sophomore in getting back on track in 2020 will be lowering the K-rate. Last season he struck out in 29.3% of his at-bats and had the fourth most K’s on the team. If he can get the K-rate down, the XBH-rate will go up. I’d expect the swing to be a bit shorter and more direct in 2020, with a little less of a leg kick and more of a short stride towards the pitcher. He’s also added some weight this year, which should lead to some more power at the dish.
Last year, De Sedas posted a .923 fielding percentage, making 18 errors in 62 games. Coming into FSU, his glove was really known as his best tool, so what happened? Often he did impress, with dazzling plays and ranging into the holes on the infield for jaw-dropping plays. Often, the issues were with routine ground balls where he would just get too fancy. This year, the infield actions have look extremely simplified and the smooth glove has been all the way back. There will still be errors, but I’d expect him to save more runs than giving up unearned runs for FSU’s pitching staff
Even after a down season in 2020, De Sedas is projected to be a top-five round draft pick in his sophomore draft-eligible season, but why? He has the pure strength to spray the ball to each gap, the arm to stick at short stop, the glove to be a plus-defender, and the athletic ability to stick in the middle infield with his rangy defense. For him to succeed at FSU and be the contributor FSU needs him to be, he just needs to simplify the game. If the K-rate goes down and the FLD% goes up, the Seminoles will be in good hands at shortstop in 2020.