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Florida State baseball: Preseason scrimmage notes

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A running thread of notes from FSU’s scrimmages.

Parker Messick returns for the 2022 season as the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year.
Brett Nevitt

Florida State baseball is a few days into their preseason camp. The Seminoles begin the 2022 season on February 18th vs. James Madison. The ‘Noles are ranked in the top 15 of all major ranking systems. FSU is ramping up for the season with multiple scrimmages every week. Florida State has many position battles ongoing and roles in the rotation up for grabs. The scrimmages will play a large role in deciding what FSU will look like on February 18th.

Starting today, I’ll be updating this article with my notes and standouts from all scrimmages that I attend. This piece will be updated throughout the preseason to show how players and position battles are progressing.

For all videos from the preseason, see the playlist below:


Friday, January 28th

Pitchers

  • Jonah Scolaro was the sharpest pitcher on day one. He threw 20 of his 30 pitches for strikes and picked up six swing-and-misses. Scolaro is one of the eight pitchers in contention for the Sunday spot. He has a real chance with an improved arsenal of off-speed pitches. He’s always had a slider and curveball, but both the breakers' spin rates are higher now. The changeup has made the biggest improvement with hard fading action against right-handed hitters.
  • Bryce Hubbart is working hard on perfecting a pair of his off-speed pitches. Hubbart had a changeup last season but didn’t use it much. Since the fall, it’s taken a major step forward. He’s still working on the consistency of the new slider, but when he snaps it off, not many hitters have a chance. Hubbart got hit a bit in his first inning of work, but he settled in and picked up four swings-and-misses in his second inning. He pounded the strike zone with 22 strikes on 28 pitches.
  • Parker Messick’s arsenal keeps getting more and more unpredictable for opposing hitters. He struck out five of the seven hitters he faced. Messick picked up seven swings-and-misses on 28 pitches and threw 75% strikes. The changeup is simply unfair against right-handed hitters. The fastball sat 90-91 MPH. The new slider is 80-81 MPH, a few MPH harder than his old sweeping slider.
  • Ross Dunn had himself a really strong first outing of the preseason, which will keep him in strong contention for the Sunday spot. Dunn’s FB sat 91-93 MPH and topped out at 94. The southpaw picked up nine swings-and-misses and didn’t walk any of the seven batters he faced. Dunn does a really good job of getting down the hill, which makes his fastball jump on hitters. His changeup has taken a step forward. If he can show consistency with the breaking ball over the next couple of weeks, he’ll fill a big role on the staff.
  • Joe Charles has taken massive steps forward since stepping on campus. At times in the fall, Charles didn’t know where his fastball was going. Now, he’s all around the zone with all three of his pitches. He walked one batter but induced multiple double-play balls. The fastball sat 92-94 MPH. The UNC transfer throws a hard curveball in the low 80’s, which he can throw in any count. If the consistency continues to improve, he has the stuff to be a dominant backend arm.
  • Dylan Simmons also has the potential of a dominant bullpen arm. Simmons throws a low-90’s fastball that has extreme arm-side run. The FB, at 91-93 MPH, bears in on RHH’s hands and locks up left-handed hitters as he runs it off their front hip. The right-handed pitcher pairs it with a hard slider that tunnels well of the fastball. He struck out two and picked up three swings-and-misses in an inning of work.

Hitters

  • As a team, the Seminoles made 0 errors in an eight-inning scrimmage. It was just day one of the preseason, but it was obvious how much more depth the Seminoles have all over the field.
  • Colton Vincent has turned himself into an ultra-reliable defender behind the plate. Vincent does a great job of framing the low pitch. He also blocks just about anything that hits the dirt. Rarely does a ball go to the backstop when Vincent is behind the plate. The former JUCO transfer has an above-average arm, which he showed off to throw out two baserunners. He’s also made improvements at the plate and consistently grinds out at-bats. Vincent, Logan Lacey, and Bazz Jimenez all drove doubles off the right-field fence on day one.
  • James Tibbs has special power. He’s shown it every day in batting practice, easily driving the balls off the scoreboard in the opposite direction. On Friday, he showed what his power can be when he gets a ball out front. The freshman caught a fastball up-and-in and drove it over a tree across the street from Howser. Tibbs’ power has him in the mix for a starting spot at one of FSU’s corner outfield spots.
  • Alex Toral is going to mash. He sat back on a changeup and launched it over the right-field fence in his first AB of the fall. In his next at-bat, he drove a fastball in the other direction for a line-out to the opposite field warning track. Toral is a complete hitter. The left-handed hitter can hit lefties. He works counts, swings at what he should, and takes what he should.
  • Treyton Rank could be a day one impact player as a freshman. In the fall, he put together quality at-bat after quality at-bat, but he wasn’t getting the results. On day one, he produced two hits. Rank also played strong defense at third base and made a couple of high IQ plays.

Tuesday, February 1st

Pitchers

  • Jonah Scolaro had another strong day on Tuesday. He struck out the side in his one inning of work. 14 of 18 pitches were for strikes and he picked up four swing-and-misses. The fastball sat 88-89 MPH. Two of his swing-and-misses came on the slider, while two of the strikeouts came on changeups. The southpaw also mixed in a curveball for a strike.
  • Joe Charles keeps getting better and better. Charles tossed two innings on Tuesday and struck out the first five batters he faced. The fastball sat 92-93 MPH and touched 94. He got swing-and-misses on both the slider and the CH. The right-handed pitcher can break off a curveball or slider at any time. Two of his strikeouts came on knee-buckling breaking balls. If Charles’ consistency continues to improve, he’s going to be an X-factor in the bullpen.

Hitters

  • Tyler Martin is still working his way back from shoulder surgery, but he’s getting closer to 100% every day. He took BP on the field on Tuesday and looked stronger in the box than last season.
  • Logan Lacey never ceases to amaze. Lacey is a junkball hitter that can make hard contact on just about any pitch. On Tuesday, he got his barrel out and deposited a fastball up and riding in on his hands into the FSU bullpen.
  • Colton Vincent had the hardest-hit ball of the day. The catcher took advantage of a 2-0 count and ripped a line drive up the middle for a 101 MPH exit velocity. Bazz Jimenez and Brett Roberts also produced hits in a short three-inning scrimmage.

Thursday, February 3rd

Pitchers

  • Ross Dunn made a statement on Thursday. Dunn is going to be in the mix for the Sunday starter spot heading into the last two weeks of preseason. Dunn tossed three innings and his fastball never dipped below 93 MPH. He was touching 95 MPH in all three innings. The southpaw threw 63% strikes and walked just one batter. Dunn produced 14 swing-and-misses, which led to six strikeouts.
  • Parker Messick is getting sharper and sharper as opening day inches closer. The reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year threw 69% strikes in three innings of work on Thursday. Messick walked just one batter and struck out four. His fastball was lively for all three innings, sitting in the 90-92 MPH range. Messick also touched 93 MPH multiple times. The Plant City native kept hitters off balance by mixing in all four of his pitches and throwing each for strikes.

Hitters

  • Brett Roberts had a nice day at the plate with multiple quality at-bats. Roberts reached base in two of his three at-bats. He walked in his first AB, before lacing a line drive into left field on his final AB. The single was the hardest-hit ball of the day, leaving his bat at 102 MPH.
  • Logan Lacey used the opposite field for a single to begin the scrimmage. Bazz Jimenez had another good day at the plate with another opposite-field single. Freshman Connor Moore had a line drive single with a 94 MPH exit velocity.

Saturday, February 5th

Pitchers

  • Bryce Hubbart had a really sharp three-inning outing on Saturday. The southpaw walked just one batter and struck out seven. He didn’t allow any hits. Hubbart used his fastball up in the zone and mixed in his three offspeed pitches to pick up nine swing-and-misses. The fastball sat 89-91 and touched 92 a couple of times. Hubbart’s best offspeed pitch of the day was his curveball, which he landed at a high rate. He’s still working on the consistency of his slider but the CB has given him time to perfect that SL.
  • Jonah Scolaro has been ultra-consistent in the preseason. On Saturday, he threw 79% strikes in two innings of work. Scolaro didn’t allow a baserunner and struck out four while picking up eight swings-and-misses. The left-handed pitcher has all three of his offspeed pitches (CH, CB, SL) working right now, which has allowed him to keep hitters off-balance.

Hitters

  • Bazz Jimenez is putting together a really strong preseason at the plate. The redshirt freshman provided FSU’s best swing on Saturday. Jimenez caught a CH up in the zone and drove it off the scoreboard for a home run. The ball left his bat at 105 MPH. His strong preseason has put him right in the mix to be Florida State’s starting DH.
  • Colton Vincent looks more and more like an everyday catcher as each scrimmage goes by. On Saturday, he threw out a pair of baserunners trying to swipe second. Vincent also smothered a handful of pitches in the dirt.
  • Jaime Ferrer didn’t get results on Saturday, but he put together good at-bats. His first AB last eight pitches as he fouled off multiple two-strike pitches. He roped line drives to center field in each of his last two ABs (both had 95 MPH exit velocities), but both were caught. Brett Roberts had another strong day at the plate with a single and a line drive out.

Sunday, February 6th

Pitchers

  • Carson Montgomery was one of four pitchers to toss three innings on Sunday. Montgomery had a bit of an up-and-down day, but he showed improvements. Montgomery has added a couple of inches of horizontal break to his cutter while taking a couple of MPH’s off. The added break has made the cutter more of an out-pitch, rather than a get-me-over. He also showed more consistency with his slurvy breaking ball.

His struggles came with the fastball. He had a couple of big misses, spiking the FB well in front of the plate. Montgomery goes as his fastball goes. When he’s consistently pounding the zone with the FB, it opens up the rest of his arsenal.

  • Wyatt Crowell was also up-and-down with some big misses with the fastball. Crowell threw 66% strikes over three innings but had a couple of HBPs. The fastball worked 91-93 MPH and topped out at 94. His slider, which sits in the low-80s, is his best pitch. It’s a true wipeout breaking ball that gives any left-handed hitter trouble. The southpaw also mixed in a handful of changeups in the mid-80s.
  • Jackson Nezuh pounded the zone with 70% strikes in his three innings. He struck out four and didn’t give out any free passes. The fastball sat 89-91 MPH and topped out at 92. No matter the speed, Nezuh gets swings-and-misses with his fastball up in the zone due to high spin rates and his vertical approach angle. The splitter was of on the day, but he only allowed three baserunners. The slider has become more consistent, but it’s not the out-pitch that Nezuh needs when the splitter isn’t sharp.
  • Jackson Baumeister was the most dominant pitcher through his first two innings. The freshman picked up the most swings-and-misses with 12 on Sunday. The righty really struggled in his third inning, as he walked the last two batters he faced on nine pitches. When he was on, the fastball was powerful up in the zone at 90-93 MPH (top 94). The CB spin rate was down, but he consistently put it in the zone for strikes.
  • Dylan Jacobs had his best day yet as a Seminole on Sunday. Jacobs attacked the zone in his one inning of work. The fastball took a couple of ticks up as he sat 91-92 MPH. He paired the fastball with a nasty slider. The slider came in at 78-80 MPH and gave right-handed hitters fits. When he tunnels the two pitches together, it leaves the hitter little to no chance. I still expect Jacobs to be given a year to develop, but he’ll be a weapon for the FSU pen in the future.
  • Joseph Charles has a chance to be the Seminoles’ most powerful bullpen arm this season. Charles has taken steps forward every time he toes the rubber. On Sunday, the fastball sat 92-95 MPH with some arm-side run to it. He threw both a slider and a curveball. The slider, which comes in at 80-83 MPH, has hard bite to it and is his strikeout pitch. The curveball is a tad slower but he uses it to buckle knees and throw for strikes.

Hitters

  • AJ Shaver had the best swing of the day. He showed off his strength by crushing a fastball up the middle for a single. The single left his bat at 105 MPH. Shaver crushes left-handed pitching.
  • Reese Albert struggled in the couple of days before Sunday after coming off a 5-day pause due to covid. On Sunday, he broke out by reaching base in all three of his ABs. His best swing came on a double to the opposite field, which you can see below:
  • Jaime Ferrer is going to be an impact bat as a freshman. Ferrer went 3-4 on Sunday and put the ball in play every at-bat. His best swing came on a fastball up in the zone as he drove it the other way for a double.

Wednesday, February 9th

Pitchers

  • Andrew Armstrong had a strong day on Wednesday. Armstrong’s fastball looked firm at 87-89 MPH. His funky delivery makes the fastball play up, which gets swings-and-misses up in the zone. He had strikeouts with both the slider and changeup. The slider makes him a tough task for left-handed hitters. When he can get the fastball in on RHHs, he’s at his best.
  • Kyle McMullen is going to get innings for the ‘Noles this year. McMullen mixed in all four of his pitches in two strong innings of work. He pounded the zone with all four pitches: fastball, cutter, curveball, changeup. All three offspeed pitches generated swings-and-misses.
  • David Barrett has one of, if not the best slider on the staff. The JUCO transfer will be a right-handed specialist that throws a lot of sliders out of the pen. You can see below how his mid-80s slider works with his 89-91 MPH fastball:

Hitters

  • Jaime Ferrer put together another good day on Wednesday. He had the best swing of the day, roping a ball into the left-field corner for a double. The ball left his bat at 102 MPH.
  • Brock Mathis has struggled to start the preseason, unsurprisingly after not playing in the fall, but had his best swing on Wednesday. He got around an inside fastball and drove it into left for a single.

Friday, February 11th

Pitchers

  • Ross Dunn has been outstanding this preseason. Once again on Friday, he put it all together, this time for four innings. Over four innings, Dunn tossed 68% strikes and only allowed one free pass. He struck out eight and picked up 11 swings-and-misses. The powerful fastball sat 91-94 MPH and topped out at 95 MPH. The breaking ball was as sharp as it’s ever been. He used it front-door against right-handed hitters for strikes and sweeping away from lefties for swing-and-misses. Dunn was as good as FSU could’ve asked him to be this preseason.
  • Parker Messick also tossed four innings as he gets ready for opening day. Messick threw 68% strikes and picked up 13 swings-and-misses. Threw mostly fastball and changeup on the day as he worked on sharpening the changeup. The fastball sat 88-90 MPH and topped out at 91.

Hitters

  • Cade Bush had two hits on the day, including a home run into the FSU bullpen. The home run left the bat at 98 MPH and traveled 360 feet. Bush likely won’t see many at-bats as a freshman, but he could be a masher down the road.
  • Brett Roberts had the best swing of the day on Friday. Roberts drove a low and away fastball to the opposite field for a double. Roberts is at his best when he’s seeing the fastball deep and letting his hands do the work, instead of getting out on his front foot.
  • Alex Toral is going to put a lot of balls off and over the right-field fence this season. Despite getting a fastball off the end of the bat, Toral was able to mash it off the fence for a double. The ball left his bat at 96 MPH.
  • AJ Shaver is going to mash against left-handed pitching. Shaver took a fastball up-and-away and drove it off the right-field fence for a double of his own. The ball left his bat at 102 MPH. He’s strung together a lot of quality at-bats over the last few days.
  • Jaime Ferrer is another young bat that is starting to pile up quality at-bats. He laced a single up the middle and worked a walk on Friday. The single left his bat at 99 MPH.
  • Jordan Carrion had a pair of good swings on the day. His best swing came on a leadoff single into center field. He also lined out to right-field.

For the Tomahawk Nation baseball countdown series, see below:

8 weeks till FSU baseball: Eight breakout candidates

7 weeks till FSU baseball: Seven true freshmen to know

6 weeks until Florida State baseball: How FSU’s six redshirt seniors will provide valuable leadership in 2022

5 weeks till FSU baseball: Five candidates to complete the weekend rotation

4 weeks till FSU baseball: Four areas of improvement for 2022

3 weeks till FSU baseball: Three transfers will take on big roles in the lineup

2 weeks till FSU baseball: Preview of the Seminoles’ 2022 schedule

Also, make sure to catch up on all the latest episodes of Sunday Golds: A Florida State Baseball Podcast: