Florida State baseball returns their whole starting lineup from 2020. That experienced lineup will be led by Reese Albert. Albert got off to a slow start last season. The struggles came from missing the entire fall season after shoulder surgery. During the 2019 Omaha run, Albert basically played with one shoulder. He said in an interview on episode two of Sunday Golds, which you can find here, that he couldn’t hit outside pitches without his shoulder popping out of place.
On missing the fall and how it impacted his 2020 season, he said, “I kind of took the fall for granted in the past. I suppose I didn’t really realize how much of an impact it could have but I felt super comfortable midway through the season. You just need that time to kind of settle in and get in a good routine. I’m happy that I had the chance to do that this year.”
When the year came to an end, he was starting to find his stroke again. Albert was starting to look like his normal self again, driving the ball to all fields. He finished the season with a two home-run performance against Illinois State. Albert said that was the first time he felt like himself since early in his sophomore season.
“I would say that that was the first time that I had kind of felt like me again, and I think that was just borderline not enough preparation, because I had to rush into things and didn’t have a whole lot of time to work on things and finally something clicked and of course it clicks when our season ends.”
That dominant form of Albert is what I would expect to see in 2021. Albert showed that form this fall. In just a few weeks of scrimmages, Albert deposited five homers over the outfield walls at Dick Howser. Over the last two seasons, with a bum shoulder and a missed fall, the outfielder has averaged a HR per every 17 at-bats.
In 2021, I’d expect the strikeout rate to go down for Albert as he gets more aggressive early in counts. With a higher contact rate, the batting average will rise back up for Albert. Albert hit in the .300’s for most of the 2019 season, before a late season slump in Omaha. He’s fully capable of being a .300+, double-digit home-run hitter.
Albert is also an above average center fielder. He doesn’t have the range or arm of a JC Flowers (not many do), but he makes things look easy in the outfield. He glides across the big center field at Dick Howser, and is best going back on the baseball and tracking the ball over his shoulder.
With a healthy Albert in the middle of the order, Florida State will have a dangerous lineup this season. On the potential of the 2021 team, the outfielder said, “I think as a whole that this is probably the best team that I’ve been a part of.”
Albert will be the anchor of one of, if not the best outfield in the country. For more on that outfield, make sure to check out episode four of Sunday Golds, which was released today.