Florida State baseball lost both their Friday and Saturday starters to the 2020 MLB draft, but neither Mike Martin Jr. or Jimmy Belanger are worried about their pitching staff. Why? The young arms that are set to take over the weekend rotation are ready and capable. Parker Messick has the potential to be the next dominant ace for FSU. Whether it’s been in high school, his freshman season, or in the Florida Collegiate Summer League, Messick has dominated everywhere he’s been.
Messick wasn’t rated in the top 500 coming out of Plant City high school, but immediately earned a big role as a freshman. The southpaw made appearances in six games, giving up just one earned run over 11.2 innings. He also posted a 0.98 WHIP and 14.7 K/9. The highlight of his season came in Gainesville, closing out the topped rank Gators with three scoreless innings. He was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper after the season came to an abrupt end.
The Plant City native took his dominant arsenal to the FCSL over Summer to start his development as a starter. He posted a 0.49 ERA over four starts and 18.2 innings for the Winter Garden Squeeze. He gave up just five hits and three walks, while striking out 27 batters. He earned the Cy Young award for the best pitcher in the league.
Messick was a starter for his entire high school career, so the transition won’t be too difficult for the lefty. He also dropped nearly 40 pounds over the extended off-season which gives him more durability on the mound. Since going back to a starter role, Messick has also showed a starter’s efficiency. He threw just 13.6 pitches per inning in the summer. The efficiency makes him the heavy favorite for FSU’s Friday night starter, as he can save the bullpen for the rest of the weekend.
The southpaw has a starter’s arsenal. Messick has four pitches for strikes. The fastball will sit in the 90-93 MPH range with spin rates up to 2300 RPM. From his low release point, the ball has a rising effects on hitter. His best off-speed is the hard-fading changeup, which makes him good against both opposite and same-handed hitters. The CH sits in the low 80’s.
Another part of his development into a starter has been adding a second breaking ball to his arsenal. Last season, Messick featured a high-70’s slider which sweeps across the plate. The slider is a true swing-and-miss pitch, but can be hard to control at times. He’s added a mid-70’s knuckle curve, which can be easier for him to control, with more vertical movement instead of horizontal.
Messick checks every box of a Friday night starter. Between the efficiency, mentality, and arsenal, the southpaw has a chance to be a true college ace.