I had the chance to speak with assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Metcalf on Thursday afternoon. I talked to the former San Francisco Giants’ scout about the upcoming MLB Draft, as rumors have swirled about many different scenarios. Since I talked to Metcalf, reports confirmed the draft will likely be shortened to five rounds (for more on that and the upcoming D1 council vote, click here). We also talked about recruiting, after the ‘Noles landed their first 2024 commit on Wednesday night. Since Metcalf was officially hired (along with pitching coach Jimmy Belanger), the Seminoles have picked up 33 commitments over five classes.
My full Q&A with the first-year assistant coach is below:
Q: After being in the field for such a long time, what do you feel would be the best draft scenario for both scouts and players?
“I think probably the best scenario would be that one, they have the draft. Obviously. I think that Major League Baseball needs a draft. I think that college baseball and high school baseball need the draft. I think the key is trying to maintain some sort of normalcy in a time of abnormalcy. But I think the best case scenario is they try push it back a couple weeks, and let this thing kind of get under control and then allow some of these players to get back out playing and stuff and allow scouts to get out and evaluate and get a little bit more of a feel of who can do what and where they kind of fit in the draft.
I think that as long as there’s a draft, that’s a positive for everybody involved in baseball. I mean the draft is the building block of the big league teams and they want to have it just as much as the players want to be drafted.”
Q: It could probably be tough on coaches with roster control and management, but do you think overall it could be good for the product of college baseball to have a little extra talent with less high school players getting drafted and heading to college?
“It’s always better to be able to load up a roster of players that are going to contribute and help win ball games. I think that’s definitely a positive. The roster restraints, obviously, we haven’t heard anything from the NCAA, so, you know, it’s all hearsay right now. It’s all up in the air. There’s no definitive answer of what’s going to happen in the NCAA. The simple reality is when guys come to Florida state, they’re coming to compete and we try to put together the best possible roster we can each and every year so that guys are competing amongst each other with one common goal in mind, and that’s to win the national championship.
So is it good for college baseball? Absolutely. Anytime you can get players on campus it’s great, but at the same time if there’s a draft, as long as there’s a draft, that’s the equalizer when it comes to numbers and the amount of top-tier talent that will be on site.”
Q: With a lot more time at home, how much has it helped for the staff to be able to be in constant contact with recruits and build relationships for the future?
“The reality is we’re always in contact with those players. Coach Bellinger and I were talking about the only difference in our days right now is that we’re doing it from home. We’re going through and watching video and we’re evaluating video to put in our files, so when we see players live we have a better ability to make a decision. We were always talking to players. On Tuesday night on the way back from Gainesville, I was taking calls on the bus, so not much has changed in regards to the amount we’re talking to players.
It does help being able to kind of calm their nerves and understand, “Hey guys, look, we’re going to get back to normal. Everything’s going to be alright, you know you got to do what’s right for the country, society, the people around us, our family, and our friends. At the end of the day, if we all chip in and do what’s right, we’re going to get back on that baseball field a little bit quicker.”
We’re always talking to guys. Even at the field, I’ll disappear back behind the dugout and stuff at the end of practices. It’s our way of life. And so the communication part of it, it’s status quo, guys are still calling.”
Q: How important are things like social media and the flat ground app to be able to watch videos and get data on recruits at the palms of your hands right now?
“It’s sweet. We just build files. As a new staff, we’re really big on making sure we see guys live and in living color and how they compete and how they handle adversity. But at the same time, we all know this recruiting thing moves fast, so, we definitely use video we definitely are on social media, we’re definitely digging through as much as we can to build a bigger file in our mind as we can so that when we see those guys live here shortly, we’re able to make a quicker decision and keep up to the pace of recruiting.
It’s something that’s useful, it was useful prior to this, but now especially in this situation and it gives us more time. That’s probably the biggest difference right now. We’re able to spend more time digging through stuff, not so much taking phone calls or making phone calls, but digging through social media and different websites and collecting more and more data in regards to video to put it in that file in our mind so when we see them live we could say go or no.”
Q: Some fans would think it’s a bit crazy to pick up a 2024 commit right now, but how important is it to get out that early and ahead of the pack on the recruiting trail?
“I think it’s important as a coaching staff that we understand the dynamic of recruiting in this day and age and understand that there’s a speed to it that’s different than it’s ever been. We need to be sharp in our evaluations not only on the field, but evaluations of these guys off the field. Yeah, it’s crazy, but it’s part of our job and in every profession has stuff going on in it that people view as crazy. The reality is in order to have success, you have to keep up with the times. It’s the simplest way to say it. Going and being aggressive and believe in what your staff has set as goals and objectives and go out and execute those goals.”
Q: After recruiting at FSU for a little under a year now, what have you learned about the brand that Florida State holds and how kids still respond to it now?
“The brand is unconquered. The brand allows you into worlds that up until that point, you had never considered because they were fans of other schools and live in other states. The brand is living and breathing and is the definition of unconquered. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Odell [Haggins] and Coach [Ron] Dugans and guys that have been around for a long time and when they speak about the brand you get chills because it’s true, it’s real.
There’s examples for 20-30 years of guys flipping from other rival schools because of the belief in the brand and the family environment that’s built here. This brand is real, this brand’s going nowhere, and this brand’s unconquered.
It’s a cliche and all but when you get here and you start seeing it, it’s real and it’s been probably the most impressive thing that I’ve experienced since I’ve been in Tallahassee. How far that brand can carry you and get you, it’s unconquered.”