February 14, 2013

2013 Baseball Preview: FSU's Projected Lineup

With Opening Day just one day away, Warchant.com's Paul Thomas takes a stab at filling out Florida State's lineup card.

FSU opens up against Rhode Island on Friday at 4 p.m. ET at home. The game will be broadcast online by ESPN3.

No. 1: Josh Delph RF, 6'0/175 B/T: L/L, So.

2012 Stats: .267, 10 2B and 20 RBI in 131 AB

About: After 37 games as a true freshman the left-hander has been pegged as the Seminoles' new leadoff hitter against righties. Delph will likely be in a true platoon in right with junior college transfer Brett Knief. Delph had an on-base percentage of .349 last season. Knief, who began his career at North Carolina, hit .389 last year at Seminole State College of Florida. Knief is a 6-foot, 200-pound redshirt junior who bats from the right side.

No. 2: Stephen McGee C, 6'3/220, B/T: R/R, R-Jr.

2012 Stats: .230 avg., 9 2B and 41 RBI in 204 AB

About: Last season McGee didn't produce a ton of hits, but he did drive in runs and get on base. His 41 RBI were the fifth-most on the team. McGee had an on-base percentage of .428, thanks to 61 walks and a team-high 16 hit by pitches. If he can get some relief at catcher he could see a spike in production.

Other options at C: Junior college transfer Ladson Montgomery will see time behind the plate to lessen the load on McGee, who caught an astounding 576 innings last season. Sophomore Lee Howard is also an option behind the plate as well.

No. 3: D.J. Stewart CF, 6'0,/230, B/T: L/R, Fr.

2012 Stats*: .429 avg., 9 HR and 21 RBI

About: Stewart has impressed from the moment he set foot on campus this summer. The freshman from Yulee, Fla. has a good mix of power and runs much better than his 230-pound frame would suggest. The former high school football star at Bolles High school worked in left and right throughout the fall but will be the likely centerfielder.

Other options at CF: Senior Seth Miller will get playing time in center (or possibly left) as well. Last season Miller hit .212 with three home runs and 29 RBI.

No. 4: Justin Gonzalez SS, 6'3/205, B/T: R/R, Sr.

2012 Stats: .256 avg., 9 HR and 42 RBI in 211 AB

About Despite his high strikeout rate, Gonzalez is the only proven hitter with any pop returning to the FSU lineup. Gonzalez had 11 doubles to go with his nine homers. As the captain Gonzalez will have to proved the pop in the middle of the order if FSU is going to return to the College World Series.

Other options at SS: Sophomore Giovanny Alfonzo will provide a solid defensive backup at short should Gonzalez goes down with an injury.

No. 5: Marcus Davis DH/LF, 6'2/215, B/T: L/L, Jr.

2012 Stats*: .450, 16 HR and 62 RBI

About: Davis is a junior college transfer from Walters State C.C. in Tennessee. The Cincinnati, Ohio has plenty of power from the left side of the plate and is improving defensively. His ability to drive in runs will earn him a spot in the middle of the order, whether he's at DH or in left field.

No. 6: John Nogowski 1B, 6'1/210, B/T: R/L, So.

2012 Stats: .250 avg., 2 HR and 23 RBI in 140 AB

About: After backing up Jayce Boyd last season, Nogowski fended off newcomers Casey Smit and John Sansone to earn the nod at first. In addition to improving defensively, Nogowski made an effort to become lighter on his feet so as not to be a liability on the base paths. If he can stay consistent Nogo has the power to be right around the middle of the order.

Other options at 1B: Transfer Casey Smit almost beat out Nogowski for the job and just becasue the season has begun doesn't mean the battle is settled. Smit, who last played at College of Central Florida, is a patient hitter who could win the job if Nogowski struggles early.

No. 7: Jose Brizuela 3B, 6'0/182, B/T: L/R, So.

2012 Stats: .226 avg., 2 HR and 38 RBI in 221 AB

About: After starting all but one game last season in left field, Brizuela moves back to his more natural position in third base. The Weston, Fla. native got off to a hot start last season but fizzled out later in the season. After a full year in the system Brizulea should have a much more productive sophomore season.

No. 9: Jameis Winston LF/DH, 6'4/220, B/T: S/R, Fr.

2012 Stats*: .424 avg., 7 HR and 36 RBI

About The two-sport star has been a pleasant surprise for FSU this spring. Winston appears to have the mental makeup to allow him to compete for the starting quarterback job as well as be a productive member of the baseball team. Winston has good range in the outfield. His left-handed swing is slightly ahead of his right-handed swing. He'll either play left or DH.

No. 9: John Sansone 2B, 5'11/200, B/T: R/R, Fr.

2012 Stats*: .597 avg., 7 HR and 40 RBI

About: After working at first and third in the fall, the coaches move Sansone (a high school shortstop) to second base where he won the job. Sansone was drafted in the 39th round of the MLB Draft last summer by the Detroit Tigers. The New Castle, Pa. native has a surprising blend of speed and power.

Other options at 2B: Sophomore Gio Alfonzo could see time at second, as well as true freshman Alvin Swoope.

Starting Rotation

Friday: Brandon Leibrandt LHP, 6'4/205, So.

2012 Stats: 8-3, 2.82 ERA, K/BB: 83/29, 99 innings pitched

About: After a terrific debut season, Leibrandt returns to his Friday starter role. Leibrandt didn't pitch in a summer league, instead stayed in Tallahassee to add muscle. The lefty has put on close to 10-15 pounds. Also experimented with adding a cut fastball as a potential fourth pitch this fall and spring. Leibrandt was named a preseason All-American by Louisville Slugger.

Saturday: Scott Sitz RHP, 5'10/210, Sr.

2012 Stats: 4-3, 1 save, 3.72 ERA, K/BB: 50/21, 65.1 innings pitched

About: With Mike Compton lost for the year to Tommy John Surgery, Sitz slides into the Saturday spot. Sitz is hoping to ride the momentum of a terrific start against UCLA in a CWS-elimination game into this season. Against the Bruins Sitz allowed just one run on five hits in a career-high 6.2 innings, while striking out eight. The key for Sitz will be control of the slider.

Sunday: Peter Miller RHP, 6'1/195, Jr.

2012 Stats: 5-2, 3.89 ERA, K/BB: 36/30, 41.2 innings pitched

About: Consistency is what FSU will be looking for out of Miller this season. Last year he made 10 starts, most in the Sunday role early in the year. The Lutz, Fla. native has electric stuff but he has to be able to avoid the big innings this season if he's going to keep his weekend spot. Spent the summer pitching in the Cape Cod League, posted a 1-1 record with 7.00 ERA. After allowing 12 earned runs in his first seven innings in the Cape, Miller finished strong allowing just two earned runs in his final 11 innings.

Weekday Luke Weaver RHP, 6'2/160, So.

2012 Stats: 1-0, 1 save, 5.93 ERA, K/BB: 40/21, 41 innings pitched.

About The righty from Deland, Fla. may have the most electric stuff on the whole staff. Last season his inability to find the strike zone kept him from a more prominent role. After a full year under his belt, as well as a summer in the Cape, Weaver looks to be putting it all together and could push Miller or Sitz for their spots in the weekend rotation. Like Sitz, the key for Weaver will be to control his slider. Went 1-2 with a 5.70 ERA in the Cape.

*= high school or junior college stats

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