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Florida State junior left-handed pitcher Brandon Leibrandt, one of the nation's best and most seasoned arms, will miss the rest of fall workouts after breaking his right ankle, head coach Mike Martin and the Seminoles announced on Thursday.
Though losing Leibrandt for the rest of fall workouts is a tough blow for him, personally, in order to continue improving as a pitcher, the talented left-handed hurler is expected to be healthy and ready to go come the spring. Leibrandt isn't the only star player in college baseball to be sidelined this fall. Cal State Fullerton third baseman Matt Chapman was sidelined earlier this fall after having surgery on his finger.
"We are extremely disappointed about Brandon's injury. He had worked so hard during the offseason on conditioning and developing a couple of other pitches," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "Everything will be put on hold until he makes a full recovery."
The Seminoles hope Leibrandt won't skip a beat once he's expected to return in the spring. Leibrandt jumped on the college baseball scene in impressive fashion as a freshman two seasons ago, using his consistent, but not overpowering, stuff, to take control of opposing offensive lineups.
Then, as a sophomore last season, along with right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver, Leibrandt again was a godsend for the Seminoles.
Before the 2013 campaign, the Seminoles got the bad news that sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Compton had torn a ligament in his right elbow, requiring Tommy John Surgery, and of course sidelining him for the duration of the spring. Compton, who by the way will be healthy for the '14 campaign, had his departure lessened by Leibrandt's success.
As a sophomore last season, Leibrandt, a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder, had a 3.44 ERA in 16 starts and 89 innings of work. He also struck out 77 batters, walked 30, and limited opposing teams to a .267 batting average. Leibrandt entered 2013 ranked as the No. 40 prospect in the sophomore class by Perfect Game.
Assuming Leibrandt returns to full strength for the '14 campaign, the Seminoles, which finished 2013 with a 47-17 overall record and an NCAA Super Regional appearance, are one of the early favorites to nab the top spot in the Perfect Game College Preseason Top 25, joining programs such as Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State and others.
For now, though, it's wait-and-see time with the sidelined Leibrandt.