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Fall baseball update: Hitters

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As Florida State continues its fall practice in preparation for the 2021 season, it’s evident this will be a very strong team the Seminoles field in Mike Martin Jr.’s second year at FSU. The Seminoles will wrap up the fall with a Garnet and Gold game on Thursday at 3 p.m. (no attendance but the game will stream on ACC Network Extra).

In the first part of this two-part installment, the pitchers were profiled. Here are some observations of a few hitters from scrimmages attended.

Reese Albert (Center Field): The Seminoles’ center fielder is finally 100 percent healthy and up to speed on playing baseball at a high level (he has shoulder surgery following the 2019 season). It has been apparent during a few scrimmages he has the chance to be FSU’s best bat. He hit multiple towering home runs and is consistently making hard contact. He’s got a chance to play himself into a high draft pick in 2021.

Robby Martin (Right Field): Martin looked in considerably better shape this fall and he has lost some significant weight to make himself much lighter on his feet. He’s played a great right field this fall and he’s his usual self at the plate, making consistent contact, with gap-to-gap power. Martin will be a consistent force for the Seminoles this season and also has a chance to be drafted in the top five rounds in 2021.

Tyler Martin (Second Base/Third Base): The son of the head coach plays the game the way you would expect someone who grew up in the Seminole clubhouse. He’s been fun to watch all fall. What he lacks for in physique and power he makes up for with nearly everything else. He hits the ball hard for average, has great at-bats, doesn’t chase bad pitches and runs extremely well on the base paths. Martin could be the leadoff guy again for FSU in 2021 and continues to impress. 

Dylan Simmons (First Base/DH): Simmons had a great start to his FSU career in 2020, making the most of his opportunities. His 3-for-5 night against No. 1 Florida showed a glimpse of his potential. He’s hit well again this fall, showing power in the bat and an ability to do damage to mistake pitches from opposing pitchers. Simmons is battling for the starting spot at first base, but will be in the lineup one way or another this spring.

Nander De Sedas (Shortstop): The talented junior had lofty expectations when he arrived at FSU as a top 50 MLB Draft prospect and top recruit in the nation. He hasn’t quite lived up to those yet, but a few changes have him looking pretty strong this fall. He seems to be focusing on only the right side of the plate, no longer switch-hitting. This has allowed for more hard contact from the right side, which he says is his natural hitting side. Perhaps not needing to practice swings from both sides will help him get into a better rhythm and improve at the plate. In the field, he looks more comfortable back at shortstop, making routine plays and a few spectacular, athletic ones.

Matheu Nelson (Catcher): Nelson is an important piece to Florida State this season. The Seminoles have a history of great catchers and Nelson has shown glimpses in the past of adding to the tradition. He’s in the best shape he’s looked since being at FSU and has squared up balls this fall. He’s his usual steady self behind the plate and commands the pitching staff well.  

Newcomers

Casey Asman (First Base/Outfield): Asman has shown an ability to challenge for a spot in the lineup so far this fall. He makes consistently hard contact with a line-drive approach, hitting multiple balls with explosive exit velocities (95+ MPH). His fast hands allow him to get through the zone well and adjust to multiple pitches. He also has good speed on the bases, which could be a weapon for FSU this season.

AJ Shaver (Outfield): Shaver is the highest ranked recruit, not named Carson Montgomery, to arrive at FSU this fall and the tools are obvious. He runs well, is athletic, and hits the ball very hard when he makes contact. The issues so far has been trying to refine his approach and keep himself out of bad counts. As a result the strikeouts are high and were an area this summer he struggled with in the Florida Collegiate Summer League. That being said, he’s extremely talented and when he puts it all together, he can be an All-American.

Sebastian “Bazz” Jimenez (Catcher): When you first see Jimenez, you can’t believe he’s a catcher: 6-foot-4 with a massive frame, he fills the catcher’s gear admirably. He’s likely one of the largest catchers FSU has ever had. The tools are also on display as he has a cannon behind the plate. Multiple runners were gunned down on the base paths with his rifle. He’s still working on rounding his game out behind the dish, especially with framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt. At the plate, he makes hard contact, with the ball ex[loading of his barrel. He will have a year or two to learn behind Nelson, but as he polishes himself, he will be a great one for FSU. 

Sunday Golds podcast

The Osceola’s Ariya Massoudi and Tomahawk Nation’s Brett Nevitt have teamed up to create the first Florida State Baseball podcast. “Sunday Golds” goes in depth to break down the Seminoles on the diamond, with interviews of players and coaches joining the show. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud, among other podcast hosting apps.