Dec. 20, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With a little less than two months away from opening day of the 2014 college baseball season, Florida State received its first preseason ranking of the year. The Seminoles will open 2014 ranked No. 5 as announced by Collegiate Baseball.
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 Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 40 Poll
Other Teams Receiving Votes: Arkansas, UNLV, Auburn, San Diego St., Fresno St., Southern California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Alabama, San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, Brigham Young, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech., Mercer, U.C. Irvine, Missouri St., Pepperdine, Troy, Sam Houston St., Austin Peay St., Bryant, Florida Atlantic, N.C. Wilmington, Houston, Central Florida, St. Louis, Creighton, Campbell, Nebraska, Gonzaga, Sacramento St., New Mexico St., St. John's, Cal. St. Bakersfield, Ohio St., Michigan, Southern Mississippi, Kent St., Illinois St., Appalachian St., The Citadel, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Southeastern Louisiana, California, Washington, Washington St., West Virginia, Baylor, Minnesota, Stony Brook, Dallas Baptist, UT Arlington, Texas St., Maine, South Florida, Connecticut, Virginia Tech., Pittsburgh, Missouri, Notre Dame, North Florida, East Tennessee St., Florida Gulf Coast, Virginia Commonwealth, Rhode Island, Charlotte.