Fall baseball update: Pitchers

Florida State’s baseball program is hard at work during the fall, doing their best to navigate the pandemic and get as many scrimmages in against each other as they can. Without being able to play other universities during this time as in previous years, the Seminoles are seeing each other often each day. That hasn’t stopped them from looking to improve on a strong finish to a shortened 2020 season. I was able to observe practice and the scrimmage on Thursday and my thoughts are below. The first edition will be on pitchers, with batters coming in a later post.

Chase Haney: Back for another year (his 20th?) at Florida State, the 6-foot-6 Haney provides invaluable experience for the staff. He’s reliable, can be used often, and is a leader in the clubhouse having been through so many situations in his career. His fastball was consistently at 86-88 mph, which is a tick harder than normal. Good to see. The slider and change-up were as good as ever. He will be counted on in the back end of the bullpen.

Kyle McMullen: The 6-2 right-hander was set to be a midweek starter for Florida State before injuring his labrum before the 2019 season after arriving from JUCO. He missed two seasons, but could be a weekend or midweek arm for the Seminoles in 2021. His fastball has been up to 92 this fall and he showed a great curveball on Thursday, with good feel for the strike zone.

Hunter Perdue: The 6-3 right-hander is a talented arm that comes to Florida State from the JUCO level (State College of Florida). He had Tommy John surgery before arriving at FSU and, if not for the injury, he might be in the minor leagues as he was projected to be a top-3 round MLB Draft pick. On Thursday, it was evident why as he showed a fastball touching 95 MPH and wipeout “slurve.” Keeping his pitches down in the zone will be key as he gave up a mammoth solo home run to Reese Albert on a 94 mph pitch that was hit over 375 feet. All in all, he has a chance to be the Friday night guy this season and is expected to be in the weekend rotation in some capacity. 

Carson Montgomery: The 6-2 freshman right-hander looks the part. He was a top 35 MLB Draft Prospect and and pro teams opted not to pay the signing bonus he was seeking. That’s something the Seminoles will gladly take as he touched 96 mph on Thursday in the scrimmage. His control came and went and that will be ultimately what decides if he can find a spot in the weekend rotation in his freshmen season. The stuff is there as is the mental makeup, the command will need to prove consistent. 

Parker Messick: The left-hander was outstanding as a freshman in 2020, earning All-American honors as the closer for FSU. His great outings against No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 1 Florida proved he has big-time makeup and stuff. Messick is down 20 pounds and is in great shape as the staff has hopes he can move into the weekend rotation in 2021, possibly even as the Friday guy. He had a dominant summer league season and was 90-92 mph on Thursday during his outing. 

Doug Kirkland: Florida State is looking for a closer this season and the right-hander certainly fits the mold. He had a strong summer that had scouts buzzing and Thursday he showed again why. With a fastball that reaches 96 mph, Kirkland has overpowering velocity. His curveball and slider are also major weapons that could help turn the young right-hander into one of the most dominant bullpen arms the program has seen in a while. Fans should be excited about when Kirkland gets the ball in his hands. It’s special stuff.

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Hunter Perdue had a fastball that hit 95 mph in Thursday’s scrimmage. (photo courtesy Brett Nevitt / Tomahawk Nation)