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FSU baseball recruiting: ‘Noles pick up two projectable arms

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2022 class moves up to fourth in the nation.

2019 Florida State Baseball Season Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Since Jimmy Belanger and Mike Metcalf were hired, FSU has consistently targeted tall, lanky RHP’s on the recruiting trail. Some of their evaluations are already paying off this summer as many 2021 and 2022 commits have seen bumps in velocity. That trend to projectable righties continued this week when the ‘Noles picked up two commitments. The first came from 2022 RHP Jaden Stockton, which moved Florida State’s 2022 class to fourth in the nation.

Stockton comes out of Sarasota and Cardinal Mooney high school. The righty has a frame to dream on at 6’5 and 175 pounds. The Florida native had always seen FSU as a potential program for him, saying, “I have been talking about the school since I was younger and I always hoped I could play for a great baseball program like FSU.”

Since December, Stockton has seen his fastball climb nearly 10 MPH. The FB sits in the 86-91 MPH range and he also has an effective SL and a developing CH. Stockton took advantage of time at home to bring his FB velo along, as he said, “When the quarantine hit I was able to rest my arm from everyday practice and focus on a set mobility, lifting and throwing program from March to June.”

There’s a lot to like in the delivery as he creates deception and plane towards the plate. He has a similar motion to current Seminole Jack Anderson, with the slight lean back, ball drop behind the hip, and over-the-top delivery. He also has some cross-fire in the delivery which can create an uncomfortable at-bat for the hitter.

The obvious projection is what makes this commitment really exciting. If he can add to that frame, the FB velocity will jump even more and he’ll continue to dominate hitters. Stockton is still two years from touching campus, but he’s ready to get to FSU and make an impact.

“I am excited to compete in one of the top baseball programs in the country [and] to work with Coach Belanger and Coach Martin and Coach Metcalf.”

The ‘Noles picked up their second commit of the week last night in 2023 Chance Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald comes out of Sanford, FL and Lyman high school. Fitzgerald turned 15 just last month and stands 6’1, 160 pounds. The RHP is ranked the 4th best RHP in the state and makes it nine of 10 2023 commits ranked in the top 251 of the national rankings. For Fitzgerald, it was almost a no-brainer to commit to FSU, as he said, “Absolutely FSU was a dream school of mine, and the opportunity to play baseball there is almost unreal.”

Like Stockton, Fitzgerald has also seen a recent jump in velocity, up 9 MPH from last summer. The FB sits in the 85-89 MPH range, and he’s shown a consistent ability to throw a CH for strikes along with a big breaker in the low-to-mid-70’s range. He’s been working hard with his fastball, but knows he’s still got a lot of room to add to it, saying, “I’ve done a lot of work throughout the past year to make my velo increase and if I keep doing what I’m doing I think I can make it high enough for me to go play pro ball.”

The delivery is up-tempo and easy for Fitzgerald. He creates an uncomfortable at-bat for hitters from a low 34 arm slot that leads to significant arm-side run on the FB. As he physically matures into his frame, should be a really fun arm to watch.

Despite being just 15 and heading into his sophomore year, Fitzgerald felt comfortable committing his collegiate career to FSU’s coaching staff.

“The coaches just made it as comfortable as possible to know that if I commit now, I will be in the best hands out there until I show up on campus.”