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2024 Florida State Baseball Preview

As opening day approaches, there is growing excitement amongst Seminole fans, in particular the animals of section B, for a thrilling 2024 baseball season. Head Coach Link Jarrett is heading into his second season leading the Seminoles, and both expectations and spirits are high for this year’s campaign. After a challenging 2023 season that saw FSU miss the NCAA tournament, the team is fired up and ready to return stronger than ever. And what better way to kick off the season than with an exciting matchup against Butler University.

So, what can we expect from the Seminoles this season? For starters, they have 17 returning players, including some key pieces like Jaime Ferrer, James Tibbs III, and DeAmez Ross. Plus, they’ve brought in 27 new players, including 13 transfers, which adds some excitement to the roster.

Coach Jarrett has been working tirelessly to address FSU’s pitching issues since last year, and the team has made some impressive moves to bolster its staff. Last season, the Seminoles struggled on the mound, ranking near the bottom in the ACC in several categories, such as strikeouts (429), walks allowed (283), ERA (6.23), and runs allowed (264). However, the team is poised for a significant turnaround with seven new pitchers, including four transfers from other Division I schools. This year’s improved pitching staff should give FSU and new pitching coach Micah Posey much better variety and depth in the lineup for the upcoming season.

One of the Seminoles’ most experienced pitchers from last season, Conner Whittaker, is back and ready to make a significant impact. He split time between the bullpen and starting last season, pitching 79 innings, and posting a 4.33 ERA. He made eight starts that resulted in a 3.93 ERA showing flashes of his potential, and is a strong candidate for a weekend starter role.

And that’s not all. The team has also brought in some exciting new talent, like Cameron Leiter, a UCF transfer who made 14 starts as a true freshman, going 4-2 with a 4.92 ERA, Leiter is an athletic 6-foot-5 righty with an MLB bloodline who can hit close to 96 MPH with an above-average slider at 86. They also brought in Gavin Adams, from Indian River Junior College, who has a 94-97 MPH heater that can touch 100. 

2024 Baseball schedule
2024 FSU Baseball Schedule via FSU on X

Sure, the Seminoles had a tough time during the 2023 season, but Coach Jarrett’s approach to emphasizing fundamentals has yielded positive results in the past. During his leadership of the Irish, they attained an impressive record in fielding, committing only 40 errors in the 2022 season and 30 in 2021, which was the best in the conference. This approach will improve the Seminoles’ fielding statistics in the upcoming season as they ranked among the bottom teams in the ACC across several significant statistical categories last year.

So, what about the team’s infield? Well, they’ve got returning experience in sophomore Cam Smith, who returns at third base. Last season, Smith had a strong showing with 12 home runs, and he’s shown even more improvement over the summer in the Cape Cod League.

The Seminoles also brought in Daniel Cantu from USF, who is expected to play first base and is known for his strong defense and hitting abilities. Last season at USF, Cantu hit .302 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs, and 41 RBI. He had a career-high 11-game hitting streak and a 19-game streak reaching safely in 2023.

And that’s not all – Coach Jarrett also brought in Drew Faurot from UCF and Alex Lodise from UNF, two transfers expected to fill the roles of second base and shortstop. Both are experienced players who have earned all-conference honors as shortstop. Faurot set a UCF freshman home run record with 15 bombs and showed excellent plate discipline with 26 walks, 5 HBP, and five stolen bases.

In the outfield, the Seminoles are looking strong with the return of DeAmez Ross, James Tibbs, and Jamie Ferrer. All three were pivotal players for the Seminoles last season, and they are expected to form the starting outfield again this year.

James Tibbs was a standout performer with a batting average of .338, 17 home runs, and 48 walks last season. His .471 OBP also ranked ninth in the ACC. Meanwhile, Ferrer led the Seminoles in hits with 73 and hit an impressive 22 doubles in the previous season. Despite only drawing ten walks, he has a solid track record of success and will surely be a crucial team player.

The power should be much improved in this year’s lineup, which should help the Seminoles light up the scoreboard on offense. Pair that with some defensive improvement and a re-tooled pitching staff, and the Seminoles have plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into the new season.

With a mix of returning players and promising new talent, the team has the potential to make a splash in the league and compete at the highest level. The Seminoles will open with four consecutive non-conference weekends along with three midweek games against in-state teams JU, USF, and FGCU before working their way through a difficult ACC schedule. The Noles have 5 opponents that are ranked in the D1 baseball preseason top 25.

The Noles will be looking to have a bounce-back season in year two under Link Jarret which begins Opening Day on February 16 against Butler. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!

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