By: Chris Nee | Noles247
July 3, 2019
Florida State Seminoles Baseball head coach Mike Martin Jr. continues to fill out his staff.
The first hire made by Martin Jr. was Mike Metcalf, the San Francisco Giants Southeast Supervisor. Martin Jr. spoke during his introductory press conference of his desire to hire a scout.
"I want to find one, yes. I think it’s important," Martin Jr. said back on June 24th. "We need to broaden the net. And any time you can do that, widen, broaden, whatever you want to call it, it’s important. And if I can find the right guy that knows how to coach and has the right personality and is respected in that community, I will try to get him. Because it’s important. When they’re out watching guys and there’s more sets of eyes (to say) “Hey, this freshman down here in, wherever, Palm Beach, is really good,” we want to be one of the first calls."
Metcalf, the now former Major League Baseball area scout has heavy ties to the Sunshine State. He is a Sarasota, Fla. native. He attended State College of Florida, where he played baseball. He joined the Giants in 2008. Prior to that gig, he was the Recruiting Coordinator at Florida Southern College. He made his way to Florida Southern College after working as the head baseball coach at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Fla. from 2001-06. While there, he coached five players who were later drafted, including Matt LaPorta, a number one pick by Milwaukee. Metcalf is the son of Sarasota High baseball coach Clyde Metcalf, who won his 900th career game in his 38th season earlier this year. His father is a Florida State alumnus.
The second hire for Martin Jr. came on Wednesday when he pegged current Kentucky pitching coach Jim Belanger as his second primary assistant.
Belanger spent the past three seasons at Kentucky. Prior to arriving at Kentucky, he held the same role at Monmouth and then Maryland. He has helped develop 22 Major League Baseball draft picks over the past seven seasons.
In 2017, his first season at Kentucky, the Wildcats set single-season school records for most strikeouts, most innings pitched and lowest batting average against. Two pitchers earned All-America honors, one was a Freshman All-American, two were first-team All-SEC, including the program’s first SEC Pitcher of the Year, and four were drafted in the first 11 rounds of the MLB Draft. Belanger took a staff that lost all 30 conference starts from 2016 and reconstructed it into one of the league’s best. Sean Hjelle transitioned from closer to Friday night starter, winning SEC Pitcher of the Year while 7-1 with a 1.90 earned run average in conference games. His 11 total wins were the fourth-most in school history and he became just the 11th pitcher in school history to record more than 100 strikeouts in a season. Closer Logan Salow found a mentor in Belanger, who slotted him into the role of rally extinguisher, which suited the senior left-hander perfectly. Salow tied a single-season school record with 12 saves and graduated second on the program’s all-time saves list with 16. He struck out 73 in 55.1 innings, posted a 1.95 ERA and allowed opposing hitters to bat just .188 of him in 31 appearances.
His 2018 staff dealt with a number of unexpected issues, most of all injuries, that led to them leaning heavily on young arms. Still, that group produced six MLB selections.
Kentucky struggled in 2019, going 26-29, including 7-23 against a strong SEC. His staff had a 5.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP during the 2019 season. They struck out 526 batters, while issuing 241 walks. His ace, Zack Thompson, was selected No. 19 overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Thompson was 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA.
Belanger, who is a native of North Babylon, N.Y., pitched two years at Cecil Community College in North East, Md., where he compiled a 17-4 record and 2.90 ERA. He went on to the University of Louisville, where he pitched in 2007-08 and helped the Cardinals advance to the 2007 College World Series.
Martin Jr. shared what he wanted in his assistants during his introductory press conference.
"Well, energy. That’s first and foremost. I want positive people around. I’m big on camaraderie and teamwork. We call it “feel” – say the right things and at the right times. I’m not into a guy that’s going to berate players, that old Bobby Knight style of coaching, I’m not into that," Martin Jr. said. "But offensively, pitching, I don’t want to bore you with all that. but there’s a lot that goes into that. But personality is big."
FSU is expected to carry a few other assistants, such as a volunteer coach and/or a grad assistant coach, as well as support personnel.
Portions from Kentucky's bio on Belanger