2022 FSU Baseball begins to take shape as fall practice begins.
The Florida State baseball team returned to the practice fields this week to commence the start of the Seminoles’ fall season.
As Mike Martin Jr. enters his third season as Florida State’s head coach, he and some of his key veterans spoke Thursday about the importance of the fall season for the development of the team entering this spring.
Martin also gave an overview of his roster, which features many new and familiar faces.
“Athleticism. We’re much more physical, athletic. The depth, obviously, [was] needed too,” Martin said. “We were in some pinches last year. We couldn’t make moves. That goes back to recruiting — Mike [Metcalf] and Jimmy [Belanger] have gotten after it.
“It’s one of those deals where its a lot easier to sleep this year than it was last year.”
Florida State’s pitching staff should be a strength this season, especially at the top of the weekend rotation. Ace Parker Messick fanned 126 batters in 90 innings last season on his way to securing the ACC Pitcher of the Year award. There’s also Bryce Hubbart, who returns as a weekend starter; Martin said they both had great summers.
“I think we can can be some of the top-two pitchers in the country. We’re going to keep sticking to what we do and take it one game at a time no matter how it pans out. Just like last year,” Messick said of himself and Hubbart.
Among the competitors for back-end starts and key moments out of the bullpen are talented youngsters Carson Montgomery and Jackson Baumeister. Montgomery appeared in 11 games last season, while Baumeister joins him this season as this season’s top pitching recruit of the incoming class.
‘”He’s special. He’s got one of those fastballs like Max Scherzer, guys that can pitch up in the zone, high spin rate. Has great extension,” Martin said of the herald true freshman. “I said it from the time I saw him. I have never seen a kid at any level get as many swings and misses on fastballs as he does.”
Florida State also returns fifth-year outfielder Albert Reese, a player who could be underrated as he returns from knee, shoulder and back ailments.
“Its sort of like a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t ready to do what I needed to do last year,” Albert said. “I am happy to be here with all these guys and really looking forward to a healthy year.”
Interestingly, FSU added both a former Gator and a former Hurricane this offseason through the transfer portal.
Former Miami slugger Alex Toral blasted 24 home runs with a .293 average in 2019; he is expected to start right away for the Seminoles.
“He’s a really good player. He’s already penciled in the middle [of the lineup]. He’s going to be playing first base. He’s been around the block and those guys are hard to find,” Martin said. “He’s hungry, he wants to win, and he’s enjoying himself.”
Meanwhile from Gainesville, middle infielder Jordan Carrion has joined the ‘Noles as well.
“Its one of those deals where you call people that you trust,” Martin said of evaluating potential transfers. “You cross t’s and dot i’s. If things check out, then you go for it.”
Messick said he’s excited to see how the Seminoles grow closer together in the coming months.
“It’s kind of like when you bring in a whole new team. There’s a lot of new,” Messick said. “Everyone is trying to prove something to each other and to the coaches, so there’s a lot of energy going on out at our practices.”