June 6, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The framed photos along the corridor that runs between the Florida State baseball clubhouse and the weight room inside Dick Howser Stadium inspires current Seminoles.
Sean Gilmartin’s photo will soon hang alongside those belonging to Buster Posey, John-Ford Griffin, Paul Wilson, Eduardo Perez, Luis Alicea and others. He earned his spot on the hallway wall Monday night when the Atlanta Braves made him the 19th first-round draft choice in Florida State baseball history, using the No. 28 selection on the left-handed pitcher.
Gilmartin is well aware of the legacy of former Seminoles, whose pictures line that wall.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” Gilmartin said. “I definitely did. Those pictures are there in the hallway as you walk to the weight room, and they’re there for a reason. When you see those guys who were drafted in the first round and you see an empty blank spot, I always said to myself, `This is another day to get better and put myself in position to be on the wall.'”
Monday night, Gilmartin’s commitment to filling one of those blank spots on the wall came to fruition when MLB commissioner Bud Selig called his name.
“It’s what I’ve worked for and strived for my entire life, to put myself in the best possible position,” Gilmartin said. “I’m excited and thrilled. Words can’t explain how I feel.”
Florida State coach Mike Martin, who has either coached or played with each of the program’s 19 first-rounders, was equally thrilled.
“When they said, `Sean,’ I woke up the neighborhood,” said Martin, who was watching the draft on MLB Network. “I’m just tickled to death.
“I’m just so excited. It’s just awesome – golly. Great for him and certainly for us. Heck, I can get up there (to Atlanta) and watch him pitch.”
Gilmartin, in the midst of one of the finest seasons in Florida State history, was the fifth left-handed pitcher selected in the opening round. His selection also came on the same day that the Seminoles secured their 27th NCAA Regional championship.
The junior from Moorpark, Cal. native improved to 12-1 on the season when the Seminoles defeated Alabama 9-5 in Saturday’s second game of the Tallahassee Regional. It was his 33rd career victory, which ranks eighth in FSU history. His 313 career strikeouts also rank eighth in school history.
“Sean is quality left-handed pitcher with great makeup and excellent pitchability.” said Atlanta Braves’ director of scouting Tony DeMacio. “We think he’ll move fast through our system and we are real happy to get him.”
That Gilmartin is headed to the Braves’ organization is ironic, since he has long admired and emulated former Atlanta ace left-hander Tom Glavine.
“My dad had put the Braves games on TV when I was a little kid and said, `Come down here and watch this guy pitch. He’s going to be in the Hall of Fame someday,'” Gilmartin said. “From that point I’ve always enjoyed and liked watching the Braves.”
“He’s a big winner with a solid fastball and a plus change-up,” former Major League executive John Hart said of Gilmartin, during the MLB Network’s draft coverage.
Gilmartin improved his stock with a turnaround season. After going 12-3 during a Freshman All-American campaign, he dipped to 9-8 in 2010. But a summer with the 2010 Team USA Collegiate National Team, when he went 2-1, carried over to his junior campaign with the Seminoles.
He shares the Atlantic Coast Conference lead with 12 victories, while his 122 strikeouts rank third. Opponents are hitting just .208 against Gilmartin over 113.1 innings this season.
Gilmartin will start Florida State’s opening Super Regional game this weekend against either Texas A&M or Arizona.
Several more Seminoles are expected to have their names called over the course of the 50-round draft, which continues Tuesday with rounds 2-30 and culminates Wednesday.
Former Seminole First-Round Picks
2011 Sean Gilmartin P Atlanta (28th)
2008 Buster Posey C San Francisco (5th)
2004 Stephen Drew SS Arizona (15th)
2001 Chris Smith P Baltimore (7th)
2001 John-Ford Griffin OF New York Yankees (23rd)
1999 Nick Stocks P St. Louis (36th)
1998 J.D. Drew OF St. Louis (5th)
1997 J.D. Drew OF Philadelphia (2nd)
1995 Jonathan Johnson P Texas (7th)
1995 David Yocum P Los Angeles Dodgers (20th)
1994 Paul Wilson P Cincinnati (1st)
1993 John Wasdin P Oakland (25th)
1992 Kenny Felder OF Milwaukee (12th)
1992 Chris Roberts P New York Mets (18th)
1991 Eduardo Perez 1B California (17th)
1986 Luis Alicea 2B St. Louis (23rd)
1982 Jeff Ledbetter 1B Boston (26th)
1977 Terry Kennedy C St. Louis (6th)
1966 Jim Lyttle OF New York Yankees (10th)