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 hitting class contains nine RHH’s and two LHH’s. The class is pretty evenly split between the prep and JUCO ranks, with six high schoolers and five JUCOs. Mike Martin Jr. is bringing in four OF’s, five IF’s, and two catchers. This class has the potential to bring the athleticism and fielding ability that Meat is looking to build on in the future. Let’s take a look at the new bats Jr. and Mike Metcalf could be working with in 2021.
AJ Shaver / OF / South Lake HS / Clermont, FL
Shaver has the chance to be a real five-tool player at the next level. The Clermont native has ran a 6.45 60-yard dash, thrown 92 MPH from the OF, and consistently produced exit-velocities in the high 90’s at the dish. Shaver’s athleticism will give him the chance to range CF at the next level. He generates the power with raw strength, as he has a low effort, direct swing path. Shaver is rated the #8 OF in FL.
AJ Shaver (2020) has tools. Strong, a good runner, plenty of bat speed, and can pitch too. Singles to open the game, added a BB and 2 SBs later. Up to 88 on the mound and struck out 7 batters, giving up only 1 run in his 6-innings on the mound. Hit & Pitch shown. #PGHS pic.twitter.com/Zb2adKvi8b— Perfect Game Florida (@Florida_PG) March 12, 2020
Vince Smith / MIF / Calvary Christian HS / Clearwater, FL
Smith is a traditional bat-to-ball MIF. The Clearwater native starts his hands high, leading to a short, quick swing which leads to lots of line drives. He sprays the balls to all parts of the field. He’s athletic enough to stick at SS and consistently hit in the top of an order down the road. Smith still has some room to add more physical strength, which will lead to some more extra base hits. The MIF has shades of former ‘Nole Mike Salvatore written all over him.
Bazz Jimenez / C / Coral Reef HS / Miami, FL
Jimenez will bring a full arsenal of tools behind the plate in Tallahassee. The Miami native has produced sub-1.9 pop-times, sub-6.9 60-yard times, and consistently hit for power on the travel ball scene. The bat speed is very present while watching him, and with some added weight and strength to his 6’4, 204-pound frame, he projects as a power hitter at the next level. Jimenez is also an impact player behind the plate. He’ll stick behind the plate at the next level. The catcher may have the most upside of any ‘Nole commit.
2020 C Sebastian “Bazz” Jimenez (@bazz_018) of the @Flhurricanes is having himself a game at the plate. After homering over the RF wall earlier, he laces this one into the LC gap for an easy standup 2B. Strong follow offensively. @WilsonPremierBB #WPEast #Uncommitted pic.twitter.com/oIMbhBCoK5— Mike Maerz (@Mike_Maerz) June 22, 2019
Colin Apgar / OF / Lakewood Ranch HS / Bradenton, FL
Apgar is a sweet-swinging lefty. The swing creates some easy loft and power to all parts of the field. The Bradenton native has quick hands and extends through the ball well to generate the power from a 6’1, 180-pound frame. Running a 7.20 60 and throwing 91 MPH from the OF profiles him as a corner OF. It will be tough for him to crack the lineup year one, but he will likely contribute some balls over the short porch in Howser during his career.
Luke Hatcher / 3B / Dixie County HS / Cross City, FL
Hatcher is a naturally strong kid. Despite slight movement, the Florida native generates a lot of his power from his lower half in his swing. He does a good job of exploding through the hips and extending through his swings. The IF produces most of his power to the pull side with consistent loft in the swing. Hatcher projects as a corner IF at the next level.
Richie Morales / MIF / Lakewood Ranch HS / Bradenton, FL
Despite being just 5’10 and 181 pounds, Morales has some real power on both sides of the ball. At the plate, his quick hands and direct swing path sprays line drives to the gaps of the outfield. In the field, Morales has one of the stronger ams in the state at SS. The actions are also quick and easy. The Bradenton native will stick at SS at the next level, and could provide some of the INF defense Mike Martin Jr. is looking for.
Morales then showed quick hands and a feel for the barrel with a line drive approach. pic.twitter.com/fJJZTT4slB— Doug Freeman (@DougFreemanPBR) May 25, 2019
Rook Ellington / OF / State College of Florida / Paducah, KY
After getting off to a slow start at the State College of Florida, Ellington ended his 2020 season with hits in 11 of his last 12 games. The former Kentucky-transfer consistently gets the bat to the ball for hard contact. The Kentucky native is athletic enough to stick in CF, but could be moved to a corner OF spot with Reese Albert coming back next season. Ellington will likely find himself in a battle for a starting spot when he reaches campus.
Here’s a look at the swing from @SCFBaseball OF Rook Ellington on a barreled up line out. Athletic defender, feel for getting the barrel out, solid runner too. Just committed to #FSU yesterday. #Noles #PGJC @B_Sakowski_PG pic.twitter.com/D3QTnp4fVE— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) October 7, 2019
Casey Asman / OF, 1B / South Florida State College / Martin County, FL
Asman is another sweet-swinging lefty in the class. The Florida native was having a big year when the season came to an end, hitting .333 with an OBP of .463. He finished the year with two more walks than strikeouts and had nine multi hit games out of 28 starts. He also stole nine bases. He’ll bring the athletic profile that Mike Martin Jr. wants in his lineup. Combine that with the ability to put the ball in play while still being patient, Asman has a real chance to start in 2021.
Colton Vincent/ C / College of Central Florida / Palmetto, FL
Vincent was also having a big year in the JUCO ranks when the season came to an end. After hitting .318 in his freshman season, the Florida native followed it up by hitting .352 in his sophomore year. He also walked 9 more times than he struck out. Vincent makes a lot of contact from his low stance and a quick, low-effort swing. With Mat Nelson likely coming back next year, the staff could try to turn him into a utility player like they did with Carter Smith.
Ryan Romano / MIF / St. Johns River State College / Tampa, FL
Romano was one of the late additions to the class after having a breakout year in the JUCO ranks. The Tampa native hit .300 with a .402 OBP in 2020. The MIF also tapped into his power, hitting five homers in 29 games. Despite being just 5’11 and 170 pounds, Romano generates power with quick hands at the plate.
John Rodriguez / MIF / San Jacinto College / Parkland, FL
Rodriguez was a highly-touted prospect out of the 2018 recruiting class, but struggled in his freshman year at FIU. Rodriguez then went out west to San Jacinto College, before committing to FSU. The Parkland native is a very toolsy player, but hasn’t put it all together yet. FSU’s staff will likely try to tap into the raw tools to get him back to the prospect he once was.