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Scouting Report: FSU baseball’s potential 2020 MLB draft departures

‘Noles weekend staff and outfield could take a hit in the draft.

Brett Nevitt

Florida State baseball’s season is officially over after the ACC announced the cancellation of all spring sports yesterday. FSU got just 17 games in the 2020 season. The NCAA will likely grant an extra year of eligibility for spring athletes, but only for seniors according to D1Baseball’s Kendall Rodgers.

Florida State has six seniors, 13 juniors, and three sophomores that could be drafted in 2020. All six of FSU’s seniors should return (or transfer), as none are likely to get drafted within the first 15 rounds of the draft.

Eight of these 22 draft-eligible players have a real chance of getting drafted and signing. Let’s take a look at which of the eight have the best chances of getting drafted and signing in 2020. (I’ll use a 20-80 scouting grade scale with 20 being almost no chance and 80 as a guarantee).

RHP CJ Van Eyk: 80

If there is a 2020 MLB draft, CJ Van Eyk’s FSU career is over.

The 2020 draft is loaded with college arms, but Van Eyk will still find himself somewhere in the first round mix. With the season cut short, he couldn’t show much improvement with command or his newly added slider. He also didn’t get to show off his stuff in summer ball, as he rested his arm in the summer. If he had completed a full season, the junior could’ve made a rise higher in the first round. Still, Van Eyk will likely be a back end first round pick.

His arm is electric and the delivery is low-effort. The ball just jumps out of his hand, with a tailing-fastball that sits in the 93-94 range and has been all the way up to 99 MPH in his FSU career. He also possesses three plus off-speed pitches. The curveball is a true-knee buckler, the changeup gets batters swinging out of their shoes, and the slider is a nail-biter. There aren’t many pitchers in the nation with his combo of power and athleticism.

Elijah Cabell: 70

Elijah Cabell only began to tap into his potential this season. He started working the opposite-field more often, and his power numbers exploded. Cabell’s raw tools can’t be matched by many other players in the country. His glaring weakness is strikeouts, but when he puts the barrel to the ball, it’s electric. He has true five-tool potential. His hand speed and strength may be at the very top of many teams draft boards.

The only reason Cabell isn’t an 80-grade and a guarantee to go, is the simple fact it was such a small sample size this season. He also didn’t partake in any summer ball this past offseason. Despite the small sample size, his raw tools will pop off the screen too much for 30 MLB teams to pass up on him. I’d think we see Cabell go within the first five rounds of the 2020 draft.

Shane Drohan: 60

Shane Drohan’s arsenal and raw tools are simply professional-level grade. The lanky-lefty possesses three pitches that all flash plus-potential. His fastball sits in the 91-93 MPH range and has reached up to 96 MPH. The big breaker is sharp enough to fool opponents and get swing-and-misses from righties and lefties. The changeup also has hard late movement that induces weak contact from RHH’s.

Drohan is only a 60-grade because of the small sample size. He didn’t get to show much of his improved command to scouts this spring. He only made four games, but the command and efficiency improvements were there. The stuff itself, is day one (first two rounds) material. But he has to show consistent command for scouts to be willing to take him that high. I think we’ll still see him go within the first five rounds.

Reese Albert: 60

Reese Albert had an extremely tough start to the 2020 season, and that’s the only reason his grade isn’t higher. Albert is a sweet-swinging lefty with a surprising amount of raw pop. His swing has natural loft in it that creates pull-side power. He also has the ability to shoot line drives into all gaps of the outfield. He also ranges the outfield well and has shown the ability to play all three spots at a high level.

Some scouts may want to see more out of him and how much his shoulder is in tact. Some more at-bats would’ve done the junior a lot of help. Either way, it’s hard for scouts to dispute his natural tools and his easy power from the left side. Albert could go anywhere from the third to tenth round, depending on how scouts feel about his shoulder.

Matheu Nelson: 50

Matheu Nelson has a real chance to be drafted highly in 2020, but a slow start to 2020 may lower his draft stock. Nelson also had a slow start to the 2019 season, and was starting to find his stroke in 2020. The catcher possesses pure strength and a strong lower half. The sophomore has a ton of pull side power in his bat and also possesses a keen eye at the plate. Behind the dish, Nelson can sometimes struggle with past balls and slow footwork, but has a strong arm to make up for it.

Nelson is only a fifty-grade due to the fact he’s a sophomore (more leverage, has two more years to get drafted) and the early miscues behind the plate in 2020. I still think he likely goes in the 2020 draft, as he’s one of the better players in the country at a premium position. He also has some of the best plate discipline in the nation, something that really can’t be taught. Nelson is likely another top-10 round pick.

Nander De Sedas: 40

Call me crazy, but I still think there’s a chance for Nander De Sedas to get drafted and sign in the 2020 draft. De Sedas possesses the raw tools that scouts drool over. He has a plus arm, smooth glove actions, a strong lower half, and quick hands. The physical tools are hard to ignore, but the numbers haven’t been there for the sophomore. He finished the 2020 season hitting .150 with no extra base hits.

On his side, scouts have seen De Sedas as much as any other prospect in the country. He was one of the highest rated prep recruits coming out of high school and also had a strong summer in the NECBL this past year. There may be a scout out there that still loves his physical tools and takes a shot on him in the 5th-10th rounds. I think we’ll see him back at FSU next year, as he has two years to prove he can put his tools together on the field. He’s already taken one bet on himself, so why not another in 2021?

Conor Grady: 30

Conor Grady is a player that has succeeded, but doesn’t possess the raw stuff that pops off the table. Grady’s fastball will sit in the low 90’s, as he mostly works off the off-speed pitches. His slider and changeup are both plus pitches. Some more opportunities against tougher competition would’ve likely helped his draft stock. A scout may still look at his frame and ‘pitchability’ and take a shot with him in the 10th-15th rounds. I’d expect Grady to be back and at the front of FSU’s weekend staff in 2020.

Tyler Ahearn: 30

Tyler Ahearn is really the dark horse on this list. Ahearn had major command struggles in his first two years at FSU and was rarely used after coming in as a highly rated prospect. The junior showed significant command improvement this year, to go along with the nasty raw stuff he always possessed. With a new one-seam fastball and some new found command, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a scout take a shot in the dark with the RHP.