FSU baseball: 3 things Noles need to improve in 2023

FSU baseball has excitement surrounding the program for the first time in a while, even though they will begin the season outside the top 25.

New head coach Link Jarrett looks to do something his former college roommate, Mike Martin Jr., couldn’t, and that’s getting the Noles in a position to compete for that elusive national title.

I wrote about what the Noles needed to improve going into last year and realized fairly quickly that it wasn’t going to happen and voiced that Martin Jr. wasn’t the guy to get it done, despite some loyal supporters voicing I was crazy.

However, in the end, FSU Athletic Director Michael Alford moved to turn the page, and here we are. Link Jarret inherits a team with talent but lots of question marks. FSU doesn’t have a proven ace like Parker Messick to start on Saturdays.

They also lost their No. 2 pitcher Bryce Hubbart, who was up and down last season. A good bat in Brett Roberts got drafted, and they lost a dependable arm in Jonah Scolaro. However, Link Jarrett has added some talent from the transfer portal on the mound and on offense.

I think the biggest difference this season will be the level of coaching and player development. Jarrett has a proven track record of extracting the max from his players. With that said, here are three areas the Noles will need to improve over last year.

  • Fielding/Defense-As a former pitcher, nothing is more frustrating than humming along only to have your defense commit an error. The Noles have been awful in recent years and last year had a fielding percentage of .966. They had 73 errors in 59 games!! Teams can’t afford to give good teams extra outs no matter how good your stable of pitchers. Historically, Link Jarrett baseball teams are solid on defense.
  • Too Many Strikeouts/Poor OBP-FSU batters did a poor job of getting on base with an on-base percentage of .359 last year. They also struck out 29 percent of the time(583 of 2,012). That’s too many strikeouts for a team with only two guys that had 10+ home runs. However, several of the players with high strikeout percentages are no longer on the roster. They need to put the ball in play and put more pressure on opposing defenses instead of swinging through fastballs right down the middle. The amount of times we watched players not attack pitchers in hitter counts was mesmerizing.
  • Pitching-With Messick and Hubbart gone, where will the Noles turn for quality starts? Carson Montgomery showed improvement last season and could be an option. Wyatt Crowell could be an option if he’s not closing. I like Conner Whitaker a lot, and Jackson Baumeister could be in the conversation if he can become more consistent. Transfer players Brennen Oxford and others will be in the mix to find roles as starters or out of the bullpen.

Overall Thoughts

FSU has enough talent to beat a lot of teams on their scheudule as long as they don’t beat themselves. That’s where the improvement in coaching will come into play. They will likely be better offensively and defensively, but may not have the pitching they had overall last season.

However, this season will provide a great barometer for how long it will take Link Jarrett to get FSU baseball in position to compete for a national title. I don’t have any crazy expectations, other than not to look like the Bad News Bears at times like we did over the past few years. I can’t wait for the season to start to see what we’ve got.