Aug. 26, 2002
The Seminole baseball program welcomed 19 newcomers aboard Monday as classes began on the Florida State campus. Headlining the 2002 class are a pair of third round Major League draft picks – pitcher/third baseman Mark Sauls and outfielder Eduardo Martinez-Esteve. Sauls turned down an offer from the Minnesota Twins as the 92nd pick overall and Esteve chose FSU despite a lucrative offer from the Seattle Mariners (100th overall). In addition, left-hander Matt Lynch chose to return for his senior year at Florida State after being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round. Lynch earned All-American honors as a junior as FSU’s No. 1 starter after going 13-2 with a 3.59 ERA. The Seminoles finished the 2002 season 60-14 and won the ACC Championship en route a final ranking of number nine in the nation.
“Getting this group in class today was one of the biggest thrills in my 23 years of coaching,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity of watching each of these young men develop. The return of Matt Lynch really solidifies our pitching staff. With a solid nucleus returning, this class should help us be a very competitive ball club in 2003. Jamey Shouppe (recruiting coordinator) deserves the credit for bringing in this impressive group.”
Six of the 19 signees are junior college transfers, including Matthew Sauls (Mark’s older brother) who is expected to push for playing time in the outfield. A pair of right-handed ptichers – freshman Kyle Patrick (Seattle Mariners, 33rd round) and junior Eddie Cannon (New York Mets, 45th round) were also selected in the MLB draft.
Junior Brandon Balkom (OF), freshman Mark Culp (P), freshman Jonathan Diaz (OF), freshman Matt DiBlasi (P), junior Rhett James (P), freshman Hunter Jones (P), junior Ryan Landers, freshman Brandon Manasa (2B), freshman Tyson Posey (IF), freshman Nick Roxby (IF), freshman Glen Simon (P), freshman Derrick Smith (OF), freshman Drew Stilley (P) and sophomore Daniel Wardell (1B) bring the final number to 19.
Individual (four-man) workouts begin Tuesday, September 3rd and fall practice officially begins on October 7th. The Seminoles open the 2003 regular season on Friday, January 31st at 3:30 p.m. against Virginia Military Institute.