We picked Florida State baseball's all-time starting nine
This is the latest in our series of all time starting nines for some of college baseball’s most successful programs. Players' professional careers were not considered, just their college careers — along with consideration given to their positional fits as well as a batting order that could provide a combination of a high batting average, speed and power.
1. Tony Thomas Jr. (2005-07) – Second base
The 2007 Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, Thomas hit .430 with 111 hits, 11 home runs, 50 RBI, 91 runs and 43 walks as a junior. He became the first player in Florida State history to record 30 doubles, 100 hits and 30 steals in a season, while putting up a .552 on-base percentage, the third-highest single-season percentage in school history.
While it took until his third season to reach his potential in college, Thomas became FSU's sixth consensus First Team All-American. His high batting average and on-base percentage, along with his potential for extra-base hits and steals, make him an extremely danergous threat at the top of the batting order in Florida State's all-time starting nine.
Former FSU power-hitting second baseman Marshall McDougall and two-time All-American Luis Alicea both have strong cases to be the Seminoles' all-time starting second baseman, but we chose Thomas to bat leadoff after his impressive '07 season.
2. J.D. Drew (1995-97) – Center field
Drew's 1997 season is firmly cemented on the short list of the greatest individual seasons in the history of college baseball, earning him national player of the year honors. He became the only player in Division I history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases, while also becoming just the third member of the triple-triple club – recording at least 100 hits, runs and RBI in a single season. Drew's stat line that season?
Top 11 Moments— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) April 19, 2018
| J.D. Drew etched his name in FSU lore with a walk-off two-run home run against defending national champion Oklahoma in the 1995 College World Series. @MyNolePass | #ChasingHistory pic.twitter.com/0jueC7mYjt
He hit .455 with 106 hits, 15 doubles, 31 home runs, 100 RBI, 110 runs, 84 walks and 32 steals, while recording an FSU-record .961 slugging percentage. He broke a total of 17 Florida State and ACC records in his career.
In 2017, Drew became just the second former Florida State baseball player to have his jersey retired.
3. Buster Posey (2006-08) – Catcher
It's difficult to find an award that Posey didn't win in 2008, when he earned the Golden Spikes Award, Johnny Bench Award, Baseball America Player of the Year, and Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, among others. He hit an FSU-record .463 on the season with 119 hits, 26 home runs, 93 RBI and 89 runs with a .566 on-base percentage and .879 slugging percentage. The latter two percentages both rank as the second-best mark in a single season in program history and Posey recorded them in the same year.
Top 11 Moments— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) April 23, 2018
| The Year of Buster Posey
- Won every major Player of the Year award in 2008
- Johnny Bench Award winner
- Led FSU to College World Series
- Led country in six categories
-ACC Triple Crown Winner@MyNolePass | #ChasingHistory pic.twitter.com/lWHJkA8aOy
He led the nation in six offensive categories in 2008, while reaching base in 67 consecutive games that season, which is a Florida State record. Posey's career .398 average ranks third in Florida State history for players with at least 500 at-bats and his .487 career on-base percentage ranks eighth.
He posted a career .989 fielding percentage at catcher while throwing out more than 40 percent of attempted base stealers.
4. Jeff Ledbetter (1979-82) – Left field
The Sporting News and Baseball America Player of the Year in 1982, Ledbetter had a ridiculous individual season where he hit .381 with 119 hits, 42 home runs, 124 RBI and 105 runs, leading the Seminoles in each category. While he spent most of his freshman year as a designated hitter before moving to first base as a sophomore and junior – with occasional starts at pitcher sprinkled in throughout his career – left field was Ledbetter's primary field position during his historic senior year.
The player nicknamed "Tree Tops," due to his towering home runs that landed in the pine trees behind the Seminoles' right field wall, holds Florida State's career records for hits (335), runs scored (285), home runs (97), RBI (346), total bases (704). His 42 dingers in 1982 are still a program record and he ranks in the top 10 in career doubles, walks and slugging.
5. Ryan Barthelemy (1999-02) – Third base
Barthelemy and Eddy Martinez-Esteve, another finalist for Florida State's all-time third baseman, both played other positions for siginificant portions of their Seminole careers. Barthelemy, who spent a considerable amount of time at first base, wasn't starting at third base every game until his senior season, but what a year it was. In 2002, he was a team captain on a 60-win Seminole squad while hitting .357, including a 33-game hitting streak, with 17 home runs and 94 RBI, earning First Team All-American honnors.
Barthelemy ranks third in Seminoles history in career doubles (67) and total bases (558), fourth in hits (321) and RBI (261), and sixth in home runs (50).
6. Stephen Drew (2002-04) – Shortstop
Florida State has had three shortstops named a First Team All-American and ironically, Drew isn't one of them. However, he was a three-time All-American and he was named Baseball America Freshman of the Year in 2002 after hitting .402 with 15 doubles, 16 home runs, 54 RBI and 13 steals.
Drew, the younger brother of J.D. Drew, is 10th in Florida State history in career home runs (44), he was a career .360 hitter in college and he's 10th in Seminoles history in slugging among players with at least 500 at-bats (.655). He would provide both a high batting average and some pop in the middle of Florida State's all-time starting nine's batting order.
7. James Ramsey (2009-12) – Right field
A lot of these choices, especially in the outfield where an All-American outfielder could very reasonably play another position in the outfield, are subjective. There are some very talented former Seminoles who played center field or left field, like Mike Fuentes, Jeremy Morris, D.J. Stewart, Shane Robinson and Frank Fazzini, but we tried to stick with a player's natural position.
@FSU_Baseball James Ramsey has been named the National Co-Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings!— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) June 25, 2012
Ramsey spent two entire seasons playing right field so the 2012 ABCA Player of the Year can easily slide into the third outfield spot in Florida State's all-time starting nine. As a senior, he led the ACC in average (.378), runs (78), total bases (152), on-base percentage (.513) and slugging (.652). He had 13 doubles, six triples and 13 home runs, along with 58 RBI, showing he could hit for power and average.
The two-time All-American was the team captain of Florida State's 2012 College World Series team, after leading the Seminoles in average (.364) and RBI (67) in 2011.
8. Doug Mientkiewicz (1993-95) – First base
Florida State has had a first baseman named to an All-American team five times and Mientkiewicz is responsible for two of those seasons. He played for the Seminoles for three years and led Florida State in batting average and RBI each season. Perhaps most impressively, he made significant improvements in both statistical categories every season: .327 to .344 to .371; 47 RBI to 63 to 80.
Mientkiewicz also had a good eye at the plate as he drew 174 walks in his college career, tied for the eighth-most in program history. Defensively, he holds the school's single-season record for putouts in a season with 659.
He was a team captain in 1995, when he helped lead the Seminoles to the College World Series, where he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
9. Mike Loynd (1983-86) – Pitcher
It's almost unfair to choose just one pitcher because Florida State has had some incredible arms over the years.
We could've gone with Richie Lewis, a two-time All-American who's second in NCAA history with 520 strikeouts and was a member of the 1986 College World Series All-Tournament Team. Or Paul Wilson, the Golden Spikes finalist and 1994 All-American who becamse the highest draft pick in Florida State history across any sport when the New York Mets selected him No. 1 overall in 1994. Jonathan Johnson, the three-time All-American who led FSU to its first ACC championship and compiled a career 34-5 record in college, has a strong case as well. Chris Chavez, Nick Stocks, Bryan Henry and Sean Gilmartin were First Team All-Americans.
Top 11 Moments— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) April 21, 2018
| Mike Loynd was one of 2 players in NCAA Division I history with 20 wins in a season. Loynd was also the 1986 Golden Spikes winner as the nation's top player, the 2nd Seminole of 4 to win the honor, all under Martin.@MyNolePass | #ChasingHistory pic.twitter.com/dDHuEkdluC
However, we went with Loynd, who won the 1986 Golden Spikes Award that's given to the best college player in the country. As a senior, he compiled a 20-3 record, including victories in 17 straight starts, for a 61-win Florida State team that finished as the runner-up in the College World Series. He struck out 223 batters that season to finish his career with 417, the second-most in Seminoles history. He had a team-best 2.45 ERA, along with a 1.17 WHIP and he only allowed 36 extra-base hits in 164.2 innings in his final collegiate season.
His career was so impressive that Florida State has a "tradition room" named after him that showcases the Seminole baseball program's impressive history.
Coach – Mike Martin
Martin is only three wins away from breaking the all-time wins record in NCAA history, which is currently held by the late Augie Garrido, who won 1,975 games, so he's really the only answer for the all-time coach position for Florida State.
He's in his 39th season as the Seminoles' head coach. Martin, a former Seminole center fielder, has led FSU to 38 straight regional tournament appearances and 16 College World Series trips. He's the winningest active college baseball coach by win percentage and he's a seven-time ACC Coach of the Year.
Martin's career accomplishments speak for themselves.