January 26, 2005 - by
Countdown To Opening Day: 2005 Baseball Season Outlook

Jan. 26, 2005


2005 Outlook in PDF Format

GENERAL OUTLOOK FOR 2005



NOTES



  • Twenty-six of the Seminoles 34 roster players have one year of experience or less at Florida State.

  • Aaron Cheesman and Kevin Lynch are the only two players on the roster who have played all four years of college ball at FSU.


“The first thing we will need to do with this team is be patient. We could be starting freshmen up the middle and have as many as four freshmen in the line-up at one time plus a starting third baseman who is a sophomore but playing at FSU for the first time but there are a lot of intangibles with this ball club that I feel good about. Only experience will help this team right now. We have to get out there and play. I like the work habits this group displayed in the off-season. We need to continue to do that. Russell Orr (Strength & Conditioning Coach) has done a great job preparing this team and I know he will continue to do the same great job he did last season.”



EXPECTATIONS IN 2005



NOTES



  • Florida State has advanced to every Super Regional since the NCAA switched to that format six seasons ago.

  • The Tribe’s streak of 27 consecutive years in an NCAA Regional is the second longest streak in the nation.

  • Since 1990 only two teams have made it to the College World Series more times than Florida State.


“If we ever lower our expectations, it is time for me to go to the golf course. Our expectations are the same every year and that is to go to Omaha and win a national championship. We are not going to lower those. We aren’t going to tell people that our goal is to have a good season and make it to an NCAA Regional. Our goal, along with our expectation, is the College World Series and a national championship. It will be difficult this year with the youth of our club but that is no excuse. There are no excuses with Florida State baseball. Our job is to go out there and position ourselves to make a run when the time comes.”



THE SCHEDULE



NOTES



  • This is the first time in over 25 years (1978) that Florida State and Miami won’t play at least four times in a season it is also the first time since that 1978 season that the Canes won’t play in Tallahassee.

  • Florida State will play seven teams that made the 2004 NCAA Tournament. All seven were either seeded first or second in their regional and three advanced to Super Regional play.

  • The 2005 ACC Tournament will be played in Jacksonville, FL. The championship has been held in Florida on two other occasions and FSU captured the conference title both of those years.


“With the addition of Auburn, our schedule is very solid. The fact that we are going to Hawaii during spring break will enable us to play a few more games this year, which will be good for this club. It is vital that this team gets the opportunity to play as much as possible because the more games they play we will get to see young players put into situations that will arise when ACC play begins. With the addition of Virginia Tech and Miami it is going to create even more excitement when we get to the conference portion of our schedule. We are also very excited about the ACC Tournament being held in Jacksonville this year, which is a plus for us and for baseball fans in the state of Florida.”



HOW GOOD IS THE ACC?



NOTES



  • With the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech, the new look ACC had eight of its 11 teams make the NCAA Tournament in 2004.

  • ACC teams have now been to the College World Series 25 times since 1990.

  • Three of the ACC’s coaches rank in the top five among winningest active coaches by percentage (#2 Mike Martin, #3 Mike Fox and #5 Jim Morris)


“With the teams we have added, I don’t know how the ACC is not right up at the top with the Big 12 and SEC. I know the quality of baseball that is played throughout the country and I know the ACC is as strong as any in the country. That is the goal of all our coaches. We want to make the conference number one in the nation. That means playing a tough out of conference schedule and a lot of ACC schools are doing just that.”



WHO WILL LEAD THIS TEAM?



NOTES



  • Aaron Cheesman has played in 147 games in his Seminole career and is a fifth-year senior.

  • Kevin Lynch has appeared in 30 games in each of his first three seasons at FSU.


“The unquestioned leader of this team is Aaron Cheesman. He was the leader last year but even more so this is Cheesman’s club in 2005. He is a fifth-year senior, extremely intelligent and highly competitive. You could not ask for anymore out of a leader than you will get from Aaron. Kevin Lynch will be a guy counted on to get us out of tough situations and settle the pace of the game down. Gibbs Chapman battled some injuries last year and is an important part of this as well.”



SCORING RUNS



NOTES




Ryne Malone is a guy people will look at as a big part of our offense this year. He had a great year but he has never experienced a situation like he will be in this year. He doesn’t have Stephen Drew and Eddy Martinez-Esteve surrounding him. It is different without those guys hitting ahead of you. We have to position the right guy behind Ryne so he will get to see good pitches and enable him to drive in runs. That guy will most likely be Aaron Cheesman. We will put Ryne in the best spot to be productive. Cheesman has to be a run producer. He does so much for this ball club. He is a good bunter, he is great behind the plate and all he cares about is winning. He doesn’t care who gets the credit as long as his team wins.”



DEFENSE



NOTES




“If you ever go into a season with just one guy at a position, it gives the player a relaxed feeling that he may be able to get away with anything and still play the next day. If a guy makes three errors one day, we want him to know he will be out there the next day but if he makes three errors again we want him to know he will be sitting next to us. Last year we made too many errors. We have to do a better job defensively this season.”



WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THIS YEAR?



NOTES



  • This is the youngest club head coach Mike Martin has ever had in his 26 seasons leading Florida State.

  • On opening day, as many as seven starters will have one year or less of Division I playing experience.


“In all honesty, it will be the patience factor. Our entire team has to be patient. There are so many guys that are 18-years old and have never been put in the situations they are going to be put in. We have to be able to overcome adversity. So many freshmen have never experienced adversity at the high school level. They don’t know what it is to have bad at bats. They will have some at bats where a pitcher dominates them. They have to be able to learn from that and be ready to go the next at bat. These young men have to be intelligent every time they step on the field and mostly that intelligence will come in learning how to play the game. Early on this season, our young players will have to learn to deal with failure because baseball is the only game where you have to do that.”



OUTFIELD



NOTES



  • Starters Gibbs Chapman and Shane Robinson combined to make just seven errors in the outfield in all of 2004.

  • Both Chapman and Robinson batted .280 or above last year driving in 77 runs and totaling almost 200 total bases.


“We have to get solid defense from our outfield. A lot of people look at their outfielders as offensive players. Certainly that is important but last year our defensive play in our outfield was suspect. We have to do a better job this year. Gibbs Chapman and Shane Robinson are two guys who provide us with good speed. Shane Robinson showed he can play center field as well as anybody. Now we want him to learn to be productive in a way that suits his size. He is not a home run hitter. We just have to get him on base and have him do all the little things that will help his team win. Chapman can produce some numbers for us. We have also been impressed with Jack Rye but we have to remember he is a freshman.”



INFIELD



NOTES



  • Florida State will open the 2005 season with just one player with more than one season of D-I baseball experiece in the infield with the exception of Aaron Cheesman behind the plate.

  • Not only has Aaron Cheesman raised his offensive numbers every year at FSU, he has never posted a fielding percentage below .982 during his career.


“With Ryne Malone and Aaron Cheesman we have two guys you feel very comfortable with due to their experience. The other three positions will be filled by young players. We have a battle at second between Ryne Jernigan and Tony Thomas. Nick Francis is pretty much set at short but Ruairi O’Connor will be given a chance to show what he can do there. At third we feel very comfortable with Bryan Henry. I also like Charles Cleveland and Dennis Guinn who both were impressive this fall. We just need to get those guys the necessary at bats to see what they can do.”



PITCHING STAFF



NOTES



  • Florida State’s pitching staff is the most experienced group on the 2005 team with 281 games played amongst the returners.

  • FSU’s 2005 pitching staff combined to post a record of 28-13 in their last seasons on the mound.


“This is the strength of our club. If we started tomorrow and Hunter Jones was healthy we’d have Mark Sauls, Hunter, Brian Schultz and Barret Browning. Those are four guys we feel very comfortable with. Out of the bullpen we have Kevin Lynch, Matt DiBlasi, D.J. Echols and Stephen Ochs. I like those guys. They have good stuff. The key will be finding the closer and we are going to give Tyler Chambliss that chance. He has to be able to come in and throw comfortably. He is a curveball, fastball guy and I really like his make-up. He just has to go out there and show us he can do it. Another guy that I really like is Ryan Strauss. He can play in the outfield but I think pitching is his strong suit. Bryan Henry has also shown he can get people out on a consistent basis but he is also our best third baseman.”



DICK HOWSER STADIUM



NOTES



  • In 2004, a total of four home games with over 5,400 fans broke into the top 20 all-time attendance records at Dick Howser including 6,387 against Miami on April 10.

  • Nationally, FSU ranked 11th in total attendance and 13th in average attendance. Only one ACC school ranked ahead of FSU in either of those national categories.


“I am so excited about playing in this stadium. We have new lights, great graphics are on their way, the new artificial turf around the plate is installed and the addition of the Seminole logo adds a lot as well. It is exciting to come to work in a facility that I feel is the best in the country. It is quite a rush every morning when I walk through the gates.”

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