Why FSU baseball offense is smashing pitches at the plate

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Florida State catcher Jaime Ferrer (7) watches as the ball he hits flies out of the ballpark for a
Florida State catcher Jaime Ferrer (7) watches as the ball he hits flies out of the ballpark for a / Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA

FSU baseball is batting a robust .376, with a .470 on-base percentage as a team through 12 games. They haven't scored fewer than seven runs in any game and have more walks than strikeouts. All of those are key ingredients to a high-powered offense. FSU has hit 22 home runs, which is nearly half of the amount they hit in the 2023 season. The biggest question is why has there been such a stark contrast. I'm going to answer that question and more.

Young Talent Developing/Talent Acquisition

The best place to start is the young talent FSU already has on the roster. I pointed out in the offseason, that their best hitters were freshmen or sophomores last year, and they would all return in 2024. However, Link Jarrett did an excellent job identifying talent from the transfer portal. Marco Dinges, Drew Faurot, Daniel Cantu, and Alex Lodise have all been productive additions. All these guys had excellent offensive production last year with other programs. FSU has 10 guys with at least 25 at-bats hitting over .300. FSU has a deep squad, and pitchers can't afford to pitch around certain batters, which means more good pitches to hit.


I think most folks would agree with this, but FSU hasn't faced any elite pitching yet. I'm not taking away from what they've done because it has been impressive. I believe FSU will continue to be a potent offense, but I'd be surprised if they continued to score runs at their current pace through ACC play. They will face a slew of quality arms that will eventually play professionally, and that will change things quite a bit. It's not that FSU hasn't faced guys that throw hard because they have. The biggest difference is quality pitchers can locate pitches and throw multiple pitches for strikes on any count. It's what made the Parker Messicks, Bryce Hubbart, Wyatt Crowell, and Conner Whittaker hard to beat. I throw Whittaker in there because he's not a flame thrower, but he can change speeds and locate pitches where he wants. Most of the guys FSU has faced so far struggle to get ahead of batters and can't do those things consistently. FSU will face pitchers who can do these things more consistently in ACC play.

Pitch Selection/Approach

Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports, but hitters can solve half of the program if they swing at strikes and avoid pitches out of the zone. What I've noticed this year? FSU batters don't chase as many pitches out of the zone and don't watch as many fastballs down the middle as in the past few years. Whenever they have hitter counts, they do damage.

It's full count fastball right on a tee for Jaime Ferrer, and he does what he's supposed to with it.

James Tibbs takes a first-pitch curve ball for a hit even though he's fooled on the speed of the pitch a tad. He does a great job of not pulling his front shoulder out too quickly, keeping his hands back enough to put a good swing on it.

It's an 0-1 count, so the pitcher did a good job to get ahead, but grooves what looks like a curveball in the zone, and Dinges rips it for a home run.

Alex Lodise takes a first-pitch fastball and drills it to go shopping at the gap. Pitchers want to get ahead in counts, and many times, the first pitch is something to jump on. In my college days, I was usually aggressive on the first pitch. If it was in the zone, I was trying to do damage.

What do you notice? Lodise swings at the first pitch again, and this time it's a hanging slider he deposits over the wall for his third home run in as many games.

General Takeaway

FSU batters have been aggressive early in counts and made pitchers pay when they get hitter counts. The Noles had 15 hits in Friday's game, and seven came on what I'd call hitter counts. When I go back and look at the play-by-play, FSU batters were consistently in hitter counts. Baseball is a funny game, and batting averages don't tell the whole story. A batter can go 0-4 and hit for rockets for outs right at someone, and other times, he can go 2-4 with two hits that barely get out of the infield. What I'm looking for is batters who have good at-bats and good swings. If a batter can consistently stay in hitter counts with solid fundamentals, he's going to be productive. FSU batters have done that for the most part through 12 games. It'll get tougher when they face pitchers who can throw a 3-2 changeup for a strike instead of a fastball. It'll get tougher when facing someone who can throw any pitch at any time. However, if they stay within the zone and not chase pitches, they should continue to put up impressive numbers this year at the plate.

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