Summer ball is in full swing across the country and FSU players are starting to rack up innings and at bats. FSU will return their whole starting lineup in 2021, but the pitching staff has many openings to fill. A few pitchers are starting to stand out as favorites for big roles in the upcoming season. Florida State’s pitching staff is already looking like an even deeper staff than the last.
Doug Kirkland was the most eye-popping pitcher of the week. Kirkland has struck out 10 batters and given up one run in 5 innings this summer. I got my first look at Kirkland this past Monday, and it was electric. The Orlando native worked a 1-2-3 inning to close out a win for the River Rats while striking out one. The fastball sat in the 93-96 MPH range while pounding the zone. The wipeout slider was 83-85 and he’s added a curveball to the mix for a breaker for strikes at 79-80 MPH. For a FB/SL overlay, see below:
Kirkland will be a pitcher-only this upcoming season, after also catching last season. The upside on the RHP is as big as it gets. He only threw 10 innings in high school and is just learning how to pitch. It’s pure arm talent with a true wipeout slider. Kirkland is my favorite to be FSU’s closer in 2021. For his entire outing from Monday, see below:
Parker Messick has continued to be Mr. Consistent this summer. Messick made two starts this week, combining to throw eight innings of one run ball on 117 pitches. The southpaw allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out eight. In both outings, he maintained his velocity at 88-91, topping out at 92 MPH. The changeup has been his best off-speed and made hitters look silly with hard fade. He’s put an emphasis on getting the feel for his new knuckle-curve at 72-74 MPH. The CB gives him the ability to throw the breaker for strikes, while using the slider as a swing-and-miss pitch. For a SL/CH overlay, see below:
Messick is one of the frontrunners to fulfill a weekend spot in 2021. So far, he’s shown all the right signs that he’s ready to be a full-time starter. For his full outing from last Thursday, see below:
For his full outing from yesterday, see below:
Jack Anderson is another arm in the mix for a weekend spot. His fastball looked the sharpest it’s been since he made it to FSU this past Saturday when he threw two scoreless innings. The FB sat 88-92 MPH, while topping out at 93 MPH. The slider is a plus pitch and a true out-pitch at 84-86 MPH. Here’s the FB/SL overlay:
Quick look at the FB-SL combo for Jack Anderson here. 93 MPH FB up and in, 86 MPH SL down and away, but pitches ride same tunnel out of the hand. Really hard to hit when he’s sequencing his pitches. pic.twitter.com/KgMzTFzn6t— Brett (@brettpn) July 18, 2020
Anderson will have his biggest start of the summer tomorrow against a loaded Scorpions lineup. If he shows that he can get some of the best bats in the country out consistently and throws strikes, it will be a big sign that he’s ready to make a run at a weekend spot. For his full outing from last Saturday, see below:
Carson Montgomery made his second outing of the summer last Saturday. The incoming freshman honed in his FB a bit to pound the zone. He worked an efficient two innings, going six up, six down on 19 pitches and 15 strikes. The fastball worked 92-94 MPH with significant arm-side run. He struggled with the feel of the slider this outing, but broke out a true swing-and-miss changeup in the 87-88 MPH range. He’s yet to give up a hit through three scoreless innings this summer. For his full outing from last week, see below:
Bryce Hubbart has shown extremely dominant stuff this summer. He’s been up-and-down with command and efficiency, but been able to get around it with strikeouts. Hubbart is second in the league with 22 K’s. In his start this week, he went three scoreless innings despite giving up five free passes. He struck out six behind an 87-91 MPH FB and his big 12-6 breaker. For a FB/CB overlay, see below:
Hubbart has the potential to be a top of the line starter, but he has to find the consistency first. In 11.1 IP, he’s given up just one run. For his full outing from Monday, see below:
Robby Martin continues to swing the bat well in the middle of the Orlando Scorpions’ lineup. Martin is 7th in the league with a .371 average. Martin put together a couple good at bats yesterday, including ripping a line drive through the right side of the INF. He also deposited his first HR of the summer this past week.
HOME RUN ROBBY MARTIN!! A solo homer brings the score to 4-1 pic.twitter.com/5v55F6KYis— Orlando Scorpions (@FCSLScorps) July 18, 2020
For Martin’s AB’s from yesterday, see below:
Reese Albert has struggled statistically this summer, but he’s starting to see the ball much better in the last week. Yesterday, he put together three good at-bats, including a hard line out to second base. He has reached base six times while striking out four in the past six games. For his AB’s from yesterday, see below:
Incoming JUCO-transfer Colton Vincent has been hot all summer in the Gulf Coast League. He’s hitting .319 with a .968 OPS through 21 games. He’s also struck out just six times while working 12 free passes. He also has more extra base hits this summer than K’s. If he continues to put the ball in play at this high rate, he’ll be in the mix for a starting spot in 2021.
FSU’s best incoming position player, AJ Shaver, has been swinging the bat well as of late in the FCSL. Shaver has hits in six of his last eight games. He’s hitting .250 for the season and has stolen nine bases, good for third most in the league.
Leighton Alley joined Brandon Walker, who has been up to 94 MPH this summer, on the Savannah Bananas in the Coastal Plain League this week. Alley went 1.2 IP of one-run ball in his first outing of the summer. He’ll bring another submarine arm to the back of the pen in 2021.