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Florida State baseball practice report: 10/20-10/25

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Depth of infield and pitching staff leading to heated position battles.

Brett Nevitt

It was another busy week of scrimmaging for Florida State baseball this past week, as the ‘Noles scrimmaged four separate days. We were there for all four and have you covered with notes, videos, and photos from Dick Howser. For a recap of our first live looks, click here for last week’s practice report. Now let’s dive into everything from this week, there’s a lot to take in.

  • Parker Messick made a statement outing on Sunday afternoon. The lefty has sat 88-92 MPH with the fastball, but the 93-94 will be there when he needs it, especially as the adrenaline gets going in the regular season. Hitters simply don’t pick up the ball out of his hand, as he comes from a low release point and does a good job of hiding the ball behind his hip. He’s reshaped his body with the extra time off, down nearly 40 pounds from the end of last season. The changeup to righties and slider to lefties are both plus off-speed pitches. Right now, he is FSU’s most consistent, reliable pitcher. He is my favorite to be the Friday night starter when the 2021 season starts.
  • Tyler Martin has consistently shown this fall that he’s the hardest hitter on this team to get out. He doesn’t have the power presence of the Elijah Cabell’s or Reese Albert’s, but the approach is as advanced as it gets. He doesn’t swing on pitches out of the zone, and FSU pitchers have struggled to get him to swing and miss. When it’s in the zone, he’s making hard contact. When it’s out of the zone, he’s spitting on it. He’s shown that his baseball IQ can be one of the biggest weapons on this team on a daily basis.
  • Hunter Perdue had an up-and-down week, with one rough outing, and one lights-out performance. But even through the rough outing, we saw how good Perdue can be. He sits 93-95 with a heavy fastball, as the ball jumps on hitters. His slider has shown to be his best pitch, picking up consistent swings-and-misses. He’s still working his way back from his Tommy John surgery, as he doesn’t fully have the feel for his fastball command back yet. As that feel and consistency comes back to him, he’ll have a chance to be a top of the line starter with premier stuff.
  • Robby Martin continues to rake, day in and day out. He posted barrels with 100+ exit velocities over and over on the week. He also put a couple balls off the RF fence, as the elevation off the bat is starting to come. The most impressive development of his game this fall has been his defense. He’s made big time throws, cut off balls in the gaps, made jumping catches up against the RF wall, etc. He looks more and more like an everyday outfielder as each day of scrimmages goes by.
  • Freshman Jackson Nezuh was dominant this week. His fastball sat in the low 90’s, but got the most swing-and-misses of any pitcher. The ball jumps out of his hand and rides over the bat of lefties and righties. The off-speed still needs some development before he takes over a big role in a staff as deep as Florida State’s, but the future of the former-UF commit looks extremely bright. As he adds weight to the frame and adds some sharpness to his high 70’s slider, he’ll be a weapon for the ‘Noles.
  • When Reese Albert has put the ball in play, it’s gone a long way. He got a hold of a 95 MPH on the inner third from Perdue and turned it around for a 101-MPH exit velo, 380-foot homer for his second homer in the last 6 scrimmages. He also banged a hanging slider off the RF fence for a double. The timing, which he didn’t find till the end of last year’s shortened season, is already there for the junior OF. If he stays healthy and keeps getting the consistent live looks, he’ll be in for a big season.
  • Jonah Scolaro can be somewhat of a forgotten veteran at times, but he has looked very sharp this fall. The extra time off looks to have benefited the southpaw in a big way, as the stuff looks much firmer. His fastball has sat 88-90 MPH with some real riding life to it up in the zone. When he’s getting on top of his frisbee slider and keeping it down in the zone, he can be a dominant pitcher, which we saw at the 2018 College World Series. The bump up in velocity has been a common trend as Chase Haney has also been up a tick this fall.
  • Nander De Sedas has been a switch-hitter since late in his high school career, but that looks like it has come to an end. On Thursday, we saw De Sedas hitting right-handed vs. RHP’s for the first time, and he stuck with it the rest of the week. De Sedas is a natural righty, and has hit better from that side in college. We have yet to confirm that he’s permanently going away from switch-hitting, but he’s at least testing it out for now. He had some trouble with RH sliders away from him, but as he gets more AB’s, he’ll be able to pick up the spin more. When he can focus on just one side of the plate, that should be able to slow the game down for him, on both sides of the ball.
  • Dylan Simmons was a freshman All-American last year as a hitter, but he struggled on the mound. Simmons was thought to be just as much of a pitcher as a hitter coming in to FSU. But he wasn’t able to get a fall season last year, and this fall year looks to have benefited him in a big way on the mound. He’s sat in the low-90’s with the FB, paired with a wipeout slider. The pitchability has been the biggest difference, as he’s dotted corners and been down in the zone with his arsenal. Simmons looks like he could be a two-way weapon moving forward.
  • Casey Asman was out for a little bit of the fall with an injury, but as he’s gotten back into rhythm, the talent of the bat has started to show. He’s a gap-to-gap, line drive hitter. The bat speed is present, as he’s barreled up multiple mid-90’s fastballs. Despite being a primary first baseman, his biggest tool is his athleticism. When he’s gotten on base, he’s wreaked havoc with multiple steals of second. He had nine stolen bases in a shortened JUCO season last year. He brings a lot to the lineup, as we also saw him play CF and RF this week, with a big arm in the outfield. He will hit for average and bring the aggressiveness that Junior wants on the bases.
  • Doug Kirkland has all the tools of a closer: high intensity, high velocity, and high spin rates. The velocity of the fastball, up to 96 MPH this week, will always be the first thing to jump out, but his strength comes in his off-speed. Kirkland has two hammer breaking balls, both which he can land on a consistent basis. His slider is in the mid 80’s and the CB is in the low 80’s with well above average spin rates, scraping 3000. He will be deep in the mix to be FSU’s closer. A developing changeup could be the next step for Kirkland.
  • Bazz Jimenez was a freshman standout I mentioned in last week’s roundup and he once again stood out this week. The tools are hard to miss when watching him on a daily basis. As every freshman, he has his freshman moments or mistakes, but the flashes of his arm strength and the exit velocity off the bat are there on a more consistent basis. With Mat Nelson behind the plate, Jimenez likely won’t see time in the regular season, but that year of development could turn him into a cornerstone piece for FSU’s future.
  • Conor Grady looked more like his normal self this past week, dotting corners with all three of his pitches. Grady is another veteran arm that has ticked up with his fastball velocity this fall, sitting in the 90-93 MPH range. When he’s at his best, he gets ahead with fastballs on his black, and takes advantage of hitters with his plus off-speed offerings of a slider and changeup. The tick up in velocity also gives him some more room for error.
  • Ryan Romano has been the most consistent hitter out of the main group of second basemen these last couple weeks. He’s produced multiple line drives to all fields. He doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, keeping his swing simple. He’s also shown to be a utility man in the field, playing second, short, and the OF this past week. If he continues to stack good at-bats, he’ll put himself in a good spot for the spring.
  • Tyler Ahearn is another arm with the potential to be a dominant closer. Ahearn was on top of his stuff this week, sitting 93-95 MPH with his sinking fastball. He’s paired it with a sharp slider, which has been up to 88 MPH. He showed the ability this week to land that pitch on the back foot of lefties, which opens up a lot for him. As his confidence in his command continues to rise, he gets more and more dominant on the mound.
  • As the them of the transfers continue, this time it’s Garrett Mathes. Mathes has really stacked up some good at bats this last week. When facing righties, he’s put balls in play at a high level. He’s a physical presence in the box and has a compact swing that gets him to the ball easily. He’s struggled a bit in left on left matchups, but after being a pitcher only for a year at Mercer, that is to be expected. As the pitch recognition and timing continues to come back, he’ll be a consistent bat and another piece to the puzzle for a Seminoles infield with loads of depth.

For all videos from the week (100+), and all videos the rest of fall, see the youtube playlist below:

For photos from this week’s practices, see below: