Carson Montgomery committed to Florida State all the way back in 2017, the summer after his freshman season.
Now, he’s ready to get to Tallahassee after turning down some offers in the 2020 MLB draft.
On Sunday, Montgomery spoke with Tomahawk Nation for an exclusive inside look into the draft process and his plans going forward.
Going into the draft, Montgomery was rated as the best high school pitcher in all of Florida and the fifth-best RHP from the entire prep class, per Perfect Game. Many saw the Windermere native as a late first to early second round pick. With the chance to play at FSU, he wasn’t afraid to ask for big-time money in the draft.
“I have always been super excited to get up to Florida State, so I knew it was going to take a large amount of money to pull me away and if I didn’t get it, I was more than comfortable turning it down,” Montgomery said.
After the draft, some speculated that Montgomery, like many other high level un-drafted prep players, would test the JUCO waters, as players can come out after one year. With his excitement to become a Seminole, that opportunity never phased him,
“JUCO never even crossed my mind, I’ve always been 100% committed to Florida State.”
As he’s just 17 years old, Montgomery could come out in the 2023 draft at just 20 years of age with three years of ACC competition under his belt. He’s never really cared about the age factor, as he just wants to compete with the top level players.
“I’ve been told it’s an advantage, but I don’t think about it too much because I’ve always held myself to the same standards as the older guys,” he said
When Montgomery committed at just 14 years old, now-head coach Mike Martin Jr. was just the Seminoles’ hitting coach — but he was also the right-hander’s main recruiter. Montgomery’s relationship with Junior has been one of the main reasons he’s been so excited to get to FSU.
Now, Montgomery will come to Florida State as likely the future ace with Junior as his head coach.
“He’s a great coach and one of the main reasons I chose FSU over other schools [with him] being the one who recruited me.”
Florida State pitching coach Jimmy Belanger joined FSU’s coaching staff as the pitching coach just last summer, but has already made an impression on Montgomery — and on other players at FSU which gives the incoming freshman even more confidence in his new coach’s ability to bring out his best.
“We’ve had some great conversations over the phone and on my official visit about pitching and he really knows his stuff,” Montgomery said.
“I’ve heard all good things from fellow teammates that got to work with him (Belanger) last season, so I’m feeling really good about what he can do for me,”
Montgomery will bring a powerful arsenal, a starter’s makeup, and high-level athleticism to the mound in Dick Howser Stadium. A fastball that runs up to 96 MPH with hard running action and a wipeout slider will give him the chance to make an early impact at FSU.
Florida State lost two of their weekend starters in the 2020 MLB draft, but still return a deep, young staff in 2021 that could make it difficult for Montgomery to secure a weekend spot in his freshman season. Despite starting for most of his high school career, Montgomery said he was ready for any role on the bump to best help his team in college.
Montgomery is getting some early bonding with southpaws Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart on the Winter Garden Squeeze this summer in the Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL).
Messick and Hubbart were two freshmen that received many opportunities during their first year at FSU. Messick excelled in the closer role, while Hubbart had some struggles as a midweek starter. Montgomery had time to speak with each of them about the adjustments he’ll soon have to make as he prepares for the next level.
“I’ve got to pick their brains a bit and they’ve had some good advice about the difference between high school versus college hitters and adjustments to make,” Montgomery said.
“Messick even gave me a tip on my change up he’s learned during my bullpen session the other day.”
In his freshman season, Parker Messick rode a FB-CH-SL mix to a 19-2 K-BB ratio and 0.77 ERA. He’s working on adding a fourth pitch to his arsenal, a 12-6 knuckle curve. The 4-pitch mix below is simply unfair. pic.twitter.com/R0v7U4KbR5— Brett (@brettpn) May 2, 2020
With three years at Florida State, Montgomery will have time to round out his arsenal and make himself an even more polished pitcher before pro ball. He knows he needs to work to be consistent in college, as well as to stay dedicated to his craft while maintaining humility.
The former High School All-American will come to FSU as the highest-rated pitching recruit to ever reach campus. Previously, Cobi Johnson came in as the 29th rated player in the country, and some guy named Jameis Winston was ranked the 48th best player in the nation. Montgomery comes in at #17 overall. He called that ranking and coming in as the best pitching recruit ever a “blessing,” but knows there’s still lots of work to be done.
“I always remember that all that means nothing if I don’t produce and help the team win games,” Montgomery said.
“I need to stay hungry.”