FSU pitcher Cam Leiter

Signs of progress: FSU Baseball is off to a 7-0 start

Florida State baseball is off to an impressive 7-0 start in year two under Link Jarrett. This team looks better, feels better, and has flat-out been fun to watch. They even appeared in Perfect Games’ latest top 25 rankings at 20th. All the signs are there, but now the question becomes whether the Seminoles can sustain this level of success as the competition ramps up in the coming weeks. We’re approaching a critical point for the direction of the 2024 FSU baseball season as the heart of the schedule inches closer.

Looking back at 2023, although it ended up being a disaster of a season, FSU was in a similar spot through its first 7 games. They started 6-1 with impressive series wins over James Madison and a top-10 TCU squad. However, that’s when things started to go sideways. They went 5-5 in their next 10 games before a painful 2-19 stretch. Despite the postseason being out of the picture, FSU found some late-season momentum winning 10 of their final 16 games including a win over top-ranked Wake Forest.

That is why I mentioned we’re approaching a critical time for FSU. They have been downright dominant in the early season games, but how much of that is attributed to the competition level? Three of the four teams they’ve beaten had a losing record last season and none made the postseason. In fairness, neither did FSU, but my point is that FSU “should” win these types of games. Which direction will their season go when they face tougher teams? FSU has 9 games left until ACC play starts. Six of those games are very winnable for FSU with some tougher mid-week tests against UF and FGCU.

Let’s start by looking at a few numbers to see where FSU has improved in 2024, keeping in mind the level of competition. First, let me say that the work Link Jarrett and his staff put in this offseason has paid off so far. The portal additions and development of players from last year’s roster have made a noticeable impact. Two key areas that have seen improvement through the first 7 games are the lineup performing at a high level from top to bottom and the overhauled pitching staff having some really nice arms to work with.

2024 by the numbers (vs 2023)

As you can see, the Noles have improved in multiple areas compared to last season. Put simply, the team’s batting average and runs per game are up. Meanwhile, team ERA and runs allowed per game are down. That all boils down to success in the win/loss column. However, there are a few areas in which FSU has made significant improvement.


On the offensive side, the plate discipline and base running stand out. FSU has 13 more hits, 19 more walks, and 21 fewer strikeouts through 7 games. That improvement at the plate has led to a sizable increase in on-base percentage climbing from .349 in 2023 to .473 in 2024. FSU has also been able to capitalize when getting runners on the bases. The Noles were dead last in stolen bases in the ACC through 7 games last year with only 4. This season, they currently lead the ACC with 18! The FSU offense is currently top 10 nationally in runs per game (11.6), hits per game (13.0), and win margin (+7.9). (vs division I opponents) It certainly doesn’t hurt to have a power plant like James Tibbs III in the lineup who already has 5 home runs and 17 RBI on the season.


On the defensive side, the improved pitching is the immediate standout. Florida State’s bullpen is deeper and has more variety to throw at teams. New pitching coach Micah Posey has to be excited about their performance so far. FSU has four pitchers with double-digit strikeouts led by Cam Leiter (21) and Jamie Arnold (20).

The FSU pitching staff have combined for a whopping 109 strikeouts this season! That works out to 15.6 strikeouts per 9 innings, which is the best in all of college baseball at the time of writing this. Only Arkansas, who has played an additional game, has more strikeouts than FSU and it’s only by 4 (113 vs 109). This pitching staff has certainly kept the Animals of Section B extra busy with their famous “K-time” chant so far this season.

Whether or not they maintain that level of production against better competition remains to be seen, but the improvement is undeniable. This rotation has some guys who can sling it and also have the competitive “Parker Messick-esk” attitude you want from a starting pitcher. The pitching staff has only allowed one home run this season and held opponents to just a .194 batting average.

Aside from the pitching rotation, the rest of the Noles’ defense has been improved as well. They have seen an uptick in fielding percentage and cut the number of errors in half through 7 games. FSU has not committed a single error in four of their seven games, including their last three consecutive games. It took them 14 games last year to reach as many.

The FSU defense currently ranks 26th in runs allowed per game (3.6), 16th in hits allowed per game (6.1), and is averaging 0.9 errors per game which ranks T-77th because they are tied with a lot of other teams that are separated by decimal points. The icing on the cake is that FSU has also been featured in back-to-back Sports Center top 10 plays.

2024 Baseball schedule
(2024 FSU Baseball Schedule via FSU on X)

Looking ahead

One additional benefit of racking up dominant wins early is the ability to go deeper into the lineup and figure out what they have. For example, freshman Cal Fisher has flashed multiple times when given an opportunity. The Noles have already been able to get 16 different guys action on the mound and 17 guys multiple at bats.

As good as it has looked, they aren’t perfect, but that’s why the schedule sets up nicely for FSU. The manageable early season non-conference schedule allows them to test different things, make adjustments, and learn from experience while building confidence.

This team is showing more attributes of being a Link Jarrett-coached team in year two. Combine that with an increase in talent and depth, and FSU could make some noise this season if they stay healthy.

Florida State will have its chance to prove whether they are the real deal or not against some tougher teams in the not-so-distant future. FSU should fare well this weekend in the first pitch invitational as they take on Illinois (3-5), Michigan State (2-5), and Western Michigan (6-2).

Then, they will get a good test from in-state foe Florida Gulf Coast, who took the series win against FSU last year. They also play a top 5 Gators team twice in March, Stetson (who just beat Florida), and a top 10 Clemson squad who is currently 7-1. (although they got beat down recently by Kennesaw State 18-1) The Noles also have a series against Notre Dame (5-2) and Louisville (4-4) before April arrives.

FSU is certainly off to a hot start and the Noles have been fun to watch on the diamond again. Hopefully, they can keep that momentum going as the schedule starts to ramp up. We’re going to find out a lot about this team in the month of March, but with some early success to build on and a little bit of 11’s magic coming from upstairs, it could be an exciting season for the Seminoles. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!!

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