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43 days till FSU baseball: Bryce Hubbart in the mix for weekend rotation

Southpaw could be dominant with more consistency.

@FSUbaseball twitter

Florida State baseball has to replace their top three pitchers from the shortened 2020 season. Despite losing their top arms, the Seminoles may be even deeper on the bump in 2021. There are many arms in the mix to make up for the losses, one of those being the left-handed arm of Bryce Hubbart.

The Windermere native was announced as FSU’s closer before opening day of his freshman season, but an opening day blown save against Niagara sent Hubbart’s role in a different direction. The southpaw became the Seminoles’ main midweek starter, but struggled to keep the baseball in the park. Despite a 6.81 ERA, Jimmy Belanger and Junior continued to use the freshman. Why? Because he has as much potential as any pitcher on the staff.

Hubbart’s struggles came with inconsistent command and efficiency issues. He walked eight batters in 8.1 IP, while giving up three homers. The inconsistencies from Hubbart came from timing and extension issues in his mechanics, similar to the struggles of Shane Drohan early in his college career. When Hubbart is in the zone, he’s dominant, and his strikeout numbers show that.

Even while he was struggling in the regular season, he missed bats. In a shortened 2020 season, he struck out 14.05 batters per nine. He was even more dominant in the Florida Collegiate League this summer, posting a K/9 of 18.6. He also allowed a batting average against of just .122. Despite walking nine batters in 15 IP, he posted a 0.60 ERA.

Hubbart has a premier arsenal for a left-handed pitcher. His fastball sits in the 90-93 MPH range, while reaching up to 94. He often works up in the zone with his fastball, which tunnels well with his curveball. His curveball is one of the best breaking balls on FSU’s staff, which sharp, downward break on the ball. Using the breaking ball off the fastball makes it hard for hitters to pick up the pitch. It’s a wipeout pitch against lefties and is a knee-buckling breaker. He also uses a changeup occasionally against right-handed hitters.

FSU has a large group of arms that could be weekend starters at many power five programs. It will be a tough decision for the staff, but it’s a good problem to have. Hubbart is well in the mix for one of those three spots. When Hubbart is locating his fastball and getting on top of his curveball, he’s as dominant as any southpaw in the ACC. If he can do those two things on a consistent basis in the preseason, he will be part of the weekend rotation. If not, he’ll still be a large part of Belanger and Jr.’s plan, due to his high upside.