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29 days till FSU baseball: Parker Messick to make impact out of the pen in freshman year

The lefty could spare veteran relievers some innings in 2020 / Haylee Blitch

Parker Messick dominated high school baseball, plain and simple. Messick led Plant City High School to their first district, regional, and state titles while being named the Florida Dairy Farms Mr. Baseball Pitcher of the Year, All-Tampa Bay Pitcher of the Year, and the 813 MaxPreps MVP in 2019. If you just look at the 2019 state semifinal stat line, you’ll see just how good the lefty was at Plant City. Against Hollywood McArthur, Messick struck out 16 batters, gave up no runs, and hit a 400+ foot home run of his own. Parker comes into FSU as the 128th ranked freshman in the ACC and the 12th rated LHP in FL. Messick will pitch in his freshman year, but I won’t be surprised if he hits a bomb over the short right field porch at Dick Howser in his career at FSU.

I know some of you are probably asking yourselves, if he was that dominant in high school, why wasn’t he rated higher? Well, baseball rankings are dependent on the travel ball scene, raw stuff, and players’ projection. The baseball rankings are rarely dependent on production in high school. Messick doesn’t have the flashiest stuff on the mound or much projection in his 6’0, 248 pound frame, but he gets batters out. The hefty lefty uses a uniquely low arm slot to make it hard for batters to pick the ball up out of his hand. The fastball will sit in the low 90’s but he can run it up to 93 MPH from time-to-time. Messick’s strikeout pitch is his slurve which breaks likely more than the width of the plate. He can also drop in a changeup against righties in the upper-70’s. Messick has an advanced three-pitch mix for a freshman.

For Parker, the key is to throw strikes with the fastball early in the count so he can get to his nasty breaking ball late in the count. When he gets ahead, he’s effective and can keep the hitter off-balance. But when he gets behind, the hitter can hunt fastballs or sit on a curveball in the zone. The freshman had two impressive outings, but also one poor outing in the fall. Overall, Messick tossed 3.1 innings and gave up an earned run while allowing three hits. The LHP also struck out five batters while walking two.

Last season, FSU’s trio of lefty relievers, Antonio Velez, Jonah Scolaro, and Clayton Kwiatkowski, combined to throw 129.1 innings. Each lefty ran into a slump at some point in the season and just looked fatigued. Those three relievers will still be FSU’s top LHP’s in the pen, but Messick will be able to spare them multiple innings and at-bats versus lefties as a freshman. With Mike Martin Jr. wanting to get lots of different young pitchers experience in midweek games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get one or two midweek starts as well. If the freshman can throw strikes and get ahead in counts, he can put together a pretty good season on the hill for the Seminoles with his fastball-breaking ball combo.