Jan. 27, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State baseball team garnered two more top 10 preseason rankings on Monday. The Seminoles will open the 2014 season ranked fourth by Perfect Game and sixth by Baseball America.
Florida State has been ranked in all three preseason polls released so far this year as Collegiate Baseball has the Noles sitting at No. 5 to open the season.
The Seminoles return 21 players including six student-athletes that registered at least 30 starts. On the mound, Florida State returns four starting pitchers and five relief pitchers that made at least 10 appearances out of the bullpen in 2013.
Freshman All-American DJ Stewart is back for his sophomore season at Florida State a year after leading the Seminoles in four offensive categories. Stewart will look to pick up where he left off last year as the Yulee, Fla., native hit .564 over his final 10 games including a .636 average in the Tallahassee Regional that landed him a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Also returning for the Seminoles in the field are Jose Brizuela (Jr./3B/Westin, Fla.), Josh Delph (Jr./OF/Bartow, Fla.), John Nogowski (Jr./1B/Tallahassee, Fla.), John Sansone (So./2B/New Castle, Fla.) and Jameis Winston (So./OF, DH/Hueytown, Ala.).
Florida State's pitching staff also looks strong heading into 2014 with three starters that logged at least 58 innings a season ago and the return of redshirt sophomore right hander Mike Compton from Tommy John surgery. Luke Weaver, Brandon Leibrandt and Peter Miller went a combined 23-8 with a 3.00 ERA over 47 appearances last year. Weaver returns as the leader in innings pitched (98.1) and strikeouts (119), while Leibrandt collected 10 wins.
The bullpen will be loaded with plenty of experience led by senior Gage Smith, who returns for his third year after leading the Seminoles in appearances in back-to-back seasons. Also providing depth to the bullpen are Kenny Burkhead (So./RHP/Deltona, Fla.), Bryant Holtmann (Jr./LHP/Albers, Ill.), Brandon Johnson (Sr./LHP/Tampa, Fla.), Dylan Silva (So./LHP/Lake Worth, Fla.), Billy Strode (Jr./LHP/Parkland, Fla.) and Winston.
Florida State opens the 2014 baseball season at home on Friday, February 14 against Niagara at 4:00 p.m.
2014 Baseball America Top 25
2014 Perfect Game Top 25