Florida State’s 2020 recruiting class will be making their way to campus soon (when and if they can). This year’s class won’t be a usual FSU recruiting class. As much of baseball recruiting is done early in the high school years, the ‘Noles were a step behind when Mike Martin Jr. was promoted to head coach. The new coaching staff still made some good traction in the class to recover the class.
This year’s pitching class is made up of four RHP’s and four LHP’s, with one JUCO transfer. There’s lots to be excited about with the pitchers FSU will be bringing in. Even the lower-rated arms have qualities that will make them impactful at the next level. Let’s take a look at the new arms Jimmy Belanger could be working with in 2021.
Carson Montgomery / RHP / Windermere HS / Windermere, FL
Montgomery has been the prime jewel of the class for over three years now. The Windermere native is one of the most athletic and electric arms in the 2020 class, topping out at 96 MPH and running a 60-yard dash in the 6.8 range. The RHP looks like a more polished CJ Van Eyk coming out of high school. His fastball sits in the 92-94 MPH range, paired with a hard-biting curveball which he has an advanced feel for. Montgomery is rated the #1 RHP in FL.
Ross Dunn / LHP / Cottonwood HS / Salt Lake City, UT
Dunn reminds me a lot of current ‘Nole Parker Messick. Though not as crafty as Messick, with more of a traditional arm slot, he’s a physical presence on the mound with easy power. Dunn’s fastball has been up to 94 MPH and sits in the 90-91 range. His main secondary pitch is an above-average changeup. The curveball is still a work in progress, but should come around quickly. The Salt Lake City native is rated the #1 LHP in Utah.
Andrew Armstrong / LHP / Flowery Branch HS / Buford, GA
Armstrong isn’t the biggest kid or the hardest thrower, but he simply gets batters out. The fastball will sit in the mid 80’s and top out at 88. But like Messick, Armstrong uses a low elbow slot to give the ball a rising effect, which jumps on hitters. Both the curveball and changeup are advanced pitches and will give him the chance to face both RHH’s and LHH’s at the next level. His advanced pitchability will give him the chance to make an impact year one.
Wyatt Crowell / LHP / West Forsyth HS / Cumming, GA
Crowell is another crafty lefty out of Georgia. His quick arm speed and low arm slot make him extremely deceptive. Crowell has some more velo than Armstrong, working in the high 80’s and topping out at 90. His main secondary pitch is a wipeout slider. He also throws a changeup, but it’s still a developing pitch. Crowell will be nearly an impossible AB for lefties.
Colton Mercer / LHP / Sneads HS / Sneads, FL
Mercer will bring another impressive curveball to the left side of the bump in Tallahassee. The Sneads native runs his fastball in the mid 80’s and tops out at 87. The high school quarterback does a good job of getting on top of a 12-6 curveball from a traditional, over the top arm slot. Standing 6’3, 195 pounds, the lefty has lots of upside if he can add some weight to his frame.
Cooper Nelson / RHP / East Lake HS / Palm Harbor, FL
Nelson was a late add to the class, but could be an impact addition to the Seminoles’ pen. Nelson isn’t a traditional RHP, coming from a near side-arm slot. The FB can reach up to 91 with serious sink on it, paired with a wipeout slider. If he can tunnel the two pitches, like Chase Haney has done in his time at FSU, he’ll be a tough at bat for right-handed hitters.
#Uncommitted 2020 RHP Cooper Nelson of East Lake HS Ks the batter to end the inning here, mostly 86-89,90 FB, 74-77 tight SL, 80-81 CH w/ some sink out of the 3/4 slot in the 1st. pic.twitter.com/EvtITE6h9y— Mike Maerz (@Mike_Maerz) March 23, 2018
Gavin Smith / RHP / American Heritage HS / Cooper City, FL
Smith also profiles as a right-on-right and ground-ball specialist. Smith comes from a more traditional arm slot with a bit more power than Nelson, but both have sinking fastballs with wipeout sliders. The ball really explodes out of Smith’s hand with arm-side run. The RHP should jam a lot of righties in his time at FSU.
Leighton Alley / RHP / Tallahassee Community College / St. Augustine, FL
Alley will bring the sidearm style that we’ve seen out of Chase Haney the last few (feels like forty) years. After switching to the sidearm slot late in the fall of 2019, the St. Augustine native broke out in 2020. The 6’5, 235 pound righty posted a 2.01 ERA with 30 K’s in 22.1 innings. He can also give FSU some depth out of the pen, throwing at two innings in eight of 12 appearances. Alley will be an immediate impact arm out of the pen.