Florida State’s McGee puts pros on hold to handle unfinished business

By Al Buzzelli

Florida State’s McGee puts pros on hold to handle unfinished business

College baseball’s best two-way player is coming back to school.

Florida State’s Mike McGee—this past season’s John Olerud Award winner, which honors the nation’s best two-way player—put his expected Major League career on hold. The Port St. Lucie native turned down a chance to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks in order to return to Tallahassee for his senior season.

McGee was drafted in the 41st round by the Diamondbacks in June, but did not reach an agreement with the team by the mandatory deadline, which was just before midnight of Aug. 16.

In 2009-10, and for the second year in a row, McGee led the team in home runs and RBI. McGee cranked 17 home runs and drove in 73 RBI at the plate. When it came to taking the mound as the Seminoles’ closer, the right-hander shined as well compiling a 4-1 record with 13 saves and a 2.96 ERA. McGee registered 27.1 innings in 20 appearances, allowing nine earned runs while posting 33 strikeouts. McGee gave up just 15 hits on the season while holding opponents to a .160 batting average.

In his first and only start of the season on March 8 at Jacksonville, McGee no-hit the Dolphins over 6.0 innings. His 13 saves are the third-most in a single-season at Florida State.

In addition to winning the inaugural Olerud Award as the nation’s best pitcher/hitter in college baseball, McGee was named as a third-team All-American selection by the NCBWA.

“Of all the guys that it would have hurt the most to lose, he would have hurt the worst because he’s two guys for us,” Florida State pitching coach Jamey Shouppe said. “Obviously, we’re very excited that he’s coming back.”

McGee will get a chance to play alongside his brother Stephen, an FSU catcher, in 2011. The elder McGee will also anchor the clean-up spot and the heart of the Florida State lineup along with third baseman Sherman Johnson and first baseman Jayce Boyd.

Included in the MLB Draft festivities was Florida State signee Kaleb Cowart, a first-round pick of the Angels, who signed on the same Monday ahead of the deadline that McGee passed on.

Joining Cowart at the next level, the Seminoles lost All-American center fielder Tyler Holt, who signed a reported $500,000 contract with the Cleveland Indians the week prior to McGee making his decision. Holt, a 10th-round draft pick, hit .355 with 13 home runs and 26 doubles as a junior.

Coach Mike Martin said in June that second baseman Devon Travis, a former Palm Beach Central standout, would likely step in to the leadoff role if Holt signed.

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