FSU Baseball hot on the recruiting trail

Christopher Stock

During the offseason, all of the recruiting focus goes to the football team, and Taggart and co. have deserved that these past few weeks. Taggart’s staff isn’t the only FSU staff hot on the recruiting trail, as Mike Martin Jr. and his new staff have picked up 12 commits this summer. One of the very first points Jr. made at his introductory press conferences was that he wanted recruiting to be done early and often, “But there will be things that will be done differently. From the recruiting, I want to recruit faster. I want to recruit earlier.” The new HC hasn’t disappointed in that department, already picking up multiple 2022 commits. He also made a point of the entire staff being out and about on the recruiting trail, “I’m going to be out on the road. I want all three (coaching staff members) – when I hire my staff, they will be out as well. Everybody in this organization will know exactly what I want said.” New pitching coach, Jim Belanger, and recruiting coordinator, Mike Metcalf, were cleared to begin recruiting on July 19th. In 19 days since, FSU has picked up 7 commits.

Going into the summer, I thought FSU would go for hard-throwing RHP’s, lanky LHP’s with projection, and athletic position players that can make a difference on the field in more than one way. For most of the season last year, FSU relied on the HR ball to win games, but in a pitcher-friendly park like TD Ameritrade in Omaha, the bats fell silent. I’m sure Jr. would like to move to an offense like Michigan’s, one that can create runs with speed on the bases and being aggressive in every area of the game. Meat mentioned a bit about being more aggressive in his presser, “I don’t want another pitch taken on the inner third of the plate. … I don’t want another one taken, a fastball, in the middle part of the plate ever again in this program.” The Noles also had little depth last year when it came to RHP’s, so it should be a focus for them. Here’s a look at the commits FSU has picked up this summer.

Class of 2020

FSU came into the summer with a very weak 2020 class and needed lots of work to be done. FSU had some big names already committed, such as Carson Montgomery, Anthony Shaver, and Trey Carter, but not much depth. Only 7 2020s were committed to the Noles entering the summer, giving them the 28th ranked class in the country. But FSU has since added 4 commits and moved up a few spots in the class rankings.

Vince Smith, MIF, Clearwater, FL

The Clearwater native is the highest-rated recruit FSU has picked up this summer, rated #206 overall in the country by PG. Smith comes from Calvary Christian, the same high school as Mat Nelson. Smith is a quick-twitched MIF, running a 60 as fast as 6.69. The 5’11, 170 SS/2B is a compact RH hitter that is powerful for his size. Smith will likely project to be a 2B at the college level, as he doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he’s very sure-handed with the glove. Smith was formerly committed to LSU, but will likely end up at FSU, unless he is taken in the 2020 MLB draft.

Bazz Jimenez, C, Miami, FL

FSU picked up a huge commitment in Jimenez, a very athletic catcher. Jimenez has popped times behind the plate as quick as 1.89 while throwing 80 MPH from behind the plate. The catcher can run a 60 as quick as 6.87, as FSU looks for athleticism even behind the dish. His 6’4, 202 frame projects to a power hitter that can stroke balls from the right side of the plate. Jimenez is ranked #287 in the class, and the 28th best catcher in the nation.

Colton Mercer, LHP, Sneads, FL

Mercer stood out at the PG 17U Elite tournament and FSU quickly picked up the uncommitted LHP. The Sneads native has been a very under-the-radar prospect coming from such a small town. The lefty doesn’t throw very hard, working in the mid-’80s with his FB, but his off-speed pitches standout. Mercer’s strikeout pitch is a big breaking ball that he has a plus feel for. The 6’3, 195 lb will likely remind many of Clayton Kwiatkowski.

Alexander Serrano, RHP, Fontana, CA

FSU’s only commit in the class from California is RHP Alex Serrano. Serrano is from Etiwanda High School, known for many different players coming out of their baseball program. Serrano is a 6’0, 175 RHP that showed out at the WWBA Memorial Day classic, making the All-Tournament team. Serrano caught the staff’s eye there, leading to a commitment.

Class of 2021

FSU had already put in a lot of work to this class coming into the summer, but they’ve only piled on since. This class ranks number 8 in the country with 15 commits. FSU has added 5 commits this summer, including lots of athleticism and velocity. FSU may be just about finished with this class.

Colby Frieda, RHP, St. Johns, FL

Frieda has been a guy that has burst onto the scene during summer ball this year. The RHP has consistently thrown in the low 90’s this summer and caught the eyes of many. Frieda specifically caught FSU’s eyes at the 16U WWBA this summer. Frieda also flashed a nasty slider that kept hitters off of his fastball. Frieda is 6’2, 190 with lots of room to go and throw even harder. This is the type of pitcher FSU will target for many years to come, with lots of projectability and room to grow. Check out PG’s clips of Frieda from the 16U WWBA. His simple, yet powerful, delivery reminds me of JC Flowers on the hill.

Edwin Arroyo-Agosto, SS/LHP, Arecibo, PR

The Puerto-Rico native is easily the most interesting prospect on this list. Arroyo plays SS, obviously righty, but throws lefty off the hill. He throws 88 off the hill, and 86 across the diamond, with different arms, not to mention he’s also a switch-hitter. Arroyo is a product of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy and works on his tools all the time. Arroyo is an all-around electric player, running a 6.86 sixty while putting together quality at-bats together constantly. This could be a really great find on both sides of the ball for FSU. Right now, Arroyo is ranked top 1000 on PG, but could easily see himself shoot up the rankings after tearing up the summer ball scene.

Preston Wetherell, RHP, Port Orange, FL

FSU picks up another projectable RHP in Wetherell. Wetherell is a 6’2, 165 lb RHP with tons of room to grow and put on muscle. So far this summer, Preston has topped out at 88 while constantly sitting in the mid-’80s. The Port Orange native has shown out in summer ball playing for Scorpions Founders Club and caught FSU’s eyes at the 16U WWBA. If Wetherell can grow into his body and put on some muscle, he could end up being a very good find for the Noles.

Houston Evans, OF, Northport, AL

Mayes White, SS, Ralph, AL

The FSU staff picked up a pair of prospects from the Tuscaloosa Academy at the 16U WWBA tournament. Both Evans and White were on Baseball Country’s 16U team, as White put on a show earning him an All-Tournament team honor, while Evans also put on enough of a show to earn an FSU offer. White is a rangy SS that stands 5’11, 160 lb while Evans is a 5’10, 175 lb OF. Both guys are underrated because they haven’t played many tournaments outside of Alabama, but a commitment to FSU could raise their rankings quite a bit.

Class of 2022

FSU entered the summer with just 1 commit here, in OF Jordan Taylor, but have gotten out early, as Jr. wanted, picking up 3 more commits this summer. The coaching staff picked up these guys at the 15U WWBA and the PG World Series. The Noles have some very intriguing and electric prospects on the 2022 board. This summer has been a great start to Jr’s vision.

Jason Avila, OF, Stone Mountain, GA

Avila has torn up the summer scene, making All-Tournament teams at almost every tournament he’s played in. The 5’8, 170 CF covers tons of ground in the OF and rarely lets ball drops. He also features above-average bat speed in the LH batter’s box. The Georgia native is really powerful for his frame, blasting a few HRs on the summer scene. With maturation and age, Avila could become an extremely exciting OF at Dick Howser Stadium.

Titan Kamaka, MIF, Orlando, FL

Kamaka is a very projectable SS/2B, as he already stands 6’0 tall but weighs just 155. The Orlando native has run 60-yard dashes in the 6.9 range and also throws mid 80’s across the diamond. Depending on how his frame fills out, Kamaka could slide into a SS or 3B position in a few years at FSU. With more muscle added on, Kamaka could be a power bat in the RH batter’s box.

Davion Hickson, RHP, Orange Park, FL

Another extremely projectable RHP here for FSU in FSU’s most recent commit. Hickson is just 15 years old and already stands 6’3 and weighs 181. Hickson has been up to 86 on the summer scene but has lots of room to grow over the next 3 years in high school and summer ball. Hickson could easily add 5-8 MPH over the next few years and be one of the most exciting arms in the state of FL.

These may not be the highest rated or sexiest recruits out there this summer, but Meat, Belanger, and Metcalf are looking for certain types of players. FSU is going for the guys they want and the guys that want to be at FSU. Often top prospects don’t even make it to campus or fit a certain coach’s style of play. Jr. will likely be aggressive on both sides of the ball and he’s looking for the prospects that best give him the chance to succeed.

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