Florida State pitching-rich for 2018 baseball season – Florida Times-Union
By Garry Smits [email protected]
Florida State’s baseball team lost 34 home runs, 216 runs batted in and a combined .292 batting average with the departure of Dyland Busby, Quincy Nieporte, Matt Henderson and Taylor Walls from the 2018 ACC champion and College World Series team.
No one is fretting about it in Tallahassee because what the Seminoles do have back are all three pitchers in the weekend rotation, first-team All-American Tyler Holton, Drew Parrish and Cole Sands.
They combined for a 22-10 record and 309 strikeouts in 294.1 innings, led by the junior left-hander Holton (10-3, 2.34 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 119.1 innings).
“Rarely do you have your entire starting rotation back in college baseball,” FSU coach Mike Martin told seminoles.com. “If you get two starters coming back, you’re feeling real good. I can’t remember the last time we had all three.”
Sands, a junior right-hander, has added velocity. Parrish, a sophomore lefty, has improved control of his off-speed pitches.
Also factoring in as starters will be junior Andrew Karp and senior Will Zirzow of Fleming Island, who is recovering from a pre-season arm injury.
But there’s enough offense back, starting at the top of the order with center fielder J.C. Flowers of Orange Park. Power will come from shortstop Drew Mendoza (10 home runs in 2017), catcher Cal Raleigh (nine) and left fielder Jackson Lueck (nine). Also playing a key role after an injury cost him playing time late in the season is Rhett Applin (.322, six homers) of Fleming Island at designated hitter.
Ready to lend a hand at first base or DH is Holton, who showed some pop in 45 at bats last season.
“He wants to be out there every day, helping his team,” Martin said of the possible value of having Holton in the lineup when he’s not pitching.