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2022 commit Gunnett Carlson talented at, and behind, the plate

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Physical catcher can make impact on both sides of the ball.

Brett Nevitt

Despite having three years to make his college decision, there was only one move to make for catcher Gunnett Carlson when the ‘Noles offered — pledge to play in Tallahassee.

“FSU is FSU. No better place to go,” he said during an interview. “Coaching staff is great. I’ve always loved FSU, I’ve always wanted to be a ‘Nole. I feel like it’s a good opportunity to win a [College] World Series.”

The 2022 commit has gotten to know Mike Martin Jr. well through chats on the phone and attending his camp this past fall. He’s liked everything he’s seen from him, specifically away from the diamond.

“He cares about more than baseball. He cares more about family and making sure everything’s okay. He wants to make sure you’re becoming a better person, not just a better ball player. It’s more than baseball with him, which I really like.”

Mike Metcalf has been his main recruiter and will likely be the coach he works with the most when he reaches campus as he coaches the catchers. Once he gets heads up to Tallahassee, Carlson is excited to be around the former scout.

“He’s great. Always energetic, always wants to know what’s going on. He’s a great guy to talk to, easy to talk to, and you know he loves the game.”

Carlson, from Tampa, has recently had the chance to work with current FSU catcher Matheu Nelson. It’s not often a future Seminole backstop gets to work with the current one, and the sophomore is taking it all in.

“He says how great it is up there, every part of it. He’s always trying to get me better. I love competing with him because he’s someone I look up to and I want to be as good or better than him when I get there.”

When I asked what he would bring to Florida State, his answer was pretty simple: “A guy who’s great in the locker room, great team player, and I’m going to go on that field every day wanting to win and hopefully win a World Series.”

For my entire interview with Gunnett, see below:

I got to sit in on Gunnett’s batting practice and catching session this past weekend, and I really liked what I saw. The 16-year old is a physical presence in the left-handed batter’s box. He stands just 5’11, but is physically mature beyond his years. He’s also become a lot more athletic since committing to FSU, cutting nearly a half second off his 60-yard dash time.

At the dish, Carlson possesses gap-to-gap pop. He’s a naturally strong kid with a simple stroke. He consistently hits balls over 90 MPH and farther than 350 feet and he doesn’t have to swing big to do it. His swing path is short and direct. He keeps his hands close to his body and does most of the work with his legs. He lands soft on his front foot, before exploding through his hips to drive balls to all parts of the outfield. He has a natural loft in his swing, that consistently gets the ball in the air.

To see Carlson’s full round of BP, including open-face mechanics, see below:

Behind the plate, there’s a lot to like in the way the Florida-native receives the ball. I see a lot of similarities in these two clips between Carlson and Phillies’ catcher JT Realmuto. Both catchers work from multiple different set-ups, giving their pitchers different viewpoints. They also work down to up, instead of up to down.

When catchers work down to up, they can steal a lot of strikes with less movement of the glove. When the glove starts at normal height, a catcher has to go down before coming back up, which makes it harder for the umpire to focus on the ball. Carlson also has soft hands and the ability to snatch the ball with the web of his glove.

Due to some injuries as a younger kid, the arm strength is a little behind the rest. The footwork is there for Carlson, the arm should come around over the next couple years. Either way, he should be a catcher that pitchers like to throw to.

To see Carlson’s full catching drills, see below: