TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With a little more than a week until opening day, Florida State’ pitching rotation and batting lineup are coming into focus.
FSU coach Mike Martin announced Friday that fifth-year senior Mike Compton will be the team’s Friday-night starter. Sophomore Drew Carlton will follow on Saturdays and freshman Cole Sands is set to start on Sundays.
All three are right-handed pitchers. Freshman lefty Tyler Holton will get the first crack at a midweek start.
Martin hopes Compton (4-4, 3.55 ERA in 2015) can provide both a steadying hand on the mound and a veteran presence for the freshmen to lean on as they learn the ropes of the college game.
Even with impressive pedigrees – the Houston Astros drafted Sands in the 22nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft and Holton earned Big Bend Player of the Year Honors – Martin cautioned patience with his two freshmen.
“You have a guy that you know has the potential to really, really be a good one,” he said. “And you have to be careful not to get across to him any negative thoughts or any negativity. We just know that this season is one that we just have to be patient with all of our players, especially our freshman pitchers.”
A late scheduling quirk forced the Seminoles to not play their first midweek games until March 1, 10 days after the season begins.
Which means that regardless of how the rotation shakes out, Martin expects plenty of pitchers to take the mound during FSU’s opening weekend against Rhode Island.
“We’ve got to get guys into the game that first weekend because we had a (midweek series) cancelation about four months ago that messed us up,” Martin said. “We don’t play until the next weekend, and that’s disappointing.”
Elsewhere, Martin said the Seminoles are deciding between a pair of transfers – Tyler Warmoth from Stetson and Matthew Kinney from Belmont – for the closer’s job, with Warmoth currently holding the inside track.
He is also “pretty sure” that JUCO transfer Matt Henderson will lead off, and that freshman catcher Cal Raleigh will hit either third or fourth.
Beyond that, though, there still are some questions to be answered.
The defensive infield is set and junior Ben DeLuzio will anchor the center field spot, but Martin said expects to start the season with committees in both left and right field.
And he’s still piecing together the rest of the batting order, a process that will likely extend beyond Opening Day.
“You may not see the same lineup twice in a row until April, in all honesty,” Martin said.
The Seminoles will also start the season without slugging junior Quincy Nieporte, who will serve a six-game suspension stemming from an off-field incident over the summer.
Nieporte hit seven home runs and had 48 RBIs a year ago.
“Quincy will be out for a period of time, university policy,” Martin said. “Six games.”