Florida State baseball was looking for someone to step up at the first base position last season. Dylan Simmons filled that need in a big way. After missing fall ball due to his recovery process from cancer, Simmons raked the entire spring.
He brought stability and depth to FSU’s lineup behind a stacked middle of the order. In 13 games, he hit .378 with a .975 OPS. The big numbers led to a Freshman All-American nod from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Simmons simple approach allowed for a seamless transition to college pitching. He never tries to do too much with the bat, which is evident in his ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. There is swing-and-miss in Simmons’ game, but when he puts the ball in play, it’s almost always hard contact. On balls put in play, he produced a hit 67% of the time, including four doubles.
In 2020, his bat proved over and over why he was the highest rated first baseman in the state of Florida coming out of the prep ranks. A full fall in 2020 will allow him to show the other things he can do on the baseball field.
Without the fall workouts, Simmons looked a bit uncomfortable at times in the field during his freshman season. He only made one error in 55 chances, but he sometimes struggled to pick the ball or would get caught out of position on balls to his side of the infield. With the extra time in fall to work with the rest of the infielders, I’d expect him to look much more natural in the field.
The Jacksonville native also came to Tallahassee as a pitcher, but struggled during the season on the mound. In 2.2 innings, he gave up three earned runs, four hits, and two walks. Without the fall to work in the weight room and with most of his focus in the box, he just didn’t look ready to take the next step on the bump. He took that step this fall.
After sitting in the high-80’s with his fastball in the spring, Simmons came back to Tallahassee with a low-90’s fastball, even touching 94 MPH a time or two. Not only has the fastball been more effective, but his pitchability has progressed. He showed consistency to land his pitches on both sides of the plate this fall. His low-80’s slider is a true out-pitch with swing-and-miss potential.
Simmons is going to do the most damage for Florida State at the plate, but the ceiling on the mound is equally as exciting. The consistency with the bat is hard to ignore, and I’d expect him to be FSU’s everyday 1B or DH, somewhere in the 5-7 spot of the order. I’d also expect to see him on the mound much more frequently this season. Midweek spot starts is where I’d expect him to get his most innings, as he can put down the bat for one day a week and focus on the rubber. With a full fall under his belt, Simmons is just going to build off of an impressive 2020 season.