Montgomery as ‘ACC-ready as you’ll find’

Florida State has officially landed the top baseball prospect in school history.

Right-hander Carson Montgomery, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, signed with FSU as part of the 2020 class and was not selected in the condensed five-round MLB draft. The Windermere, Fla., native was No. 34 on the MLB prospect board – higher than two recent signees in Drew Mendoza (No. 36 in 2016) and Nander de Sedas (No. 55 in 2018).

Montgomery is an advanced college prospect, throwing a four-pitch mix of a fastball, curveball, slider and change-up.

“He’s as ACC-ready as you’ll find,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. told the Osceola. “The fact that he’s a four-pitch guy, pitches with confidence, he’s a great teammate, he checks all the boxes. … He’s as good as you’ll find in the high school ranks. It’s special that we’re getting him.”

Montgomery was reportedly seeking a higher signing bonus than MLB teams were willing to pay, which is a likely reason why he was not taken as teams look to make sure they negotiate before making selections. And with a five-round draft, MLB teams don’t want to let players slip away.

“It’s really and truly the perfect storm,” Martin Jr. said. “The fact that they had to use last year’s amount of pool money, only five rounds, a kid that stayed firm on his (signing) number. He said, ‘This is what I feel I’m worth.’ And I think he’s worth more than what he was asking. He’ll get it back. I can promise you that.”

Red Sox scouted Drohan early

Shane Drohan’s wait was longer than he may have expected. But the Florida State junior left-hander was picked up in the fifth and final round of the MLB draft on Thursday night.

Martin Jr. said he didn’t know Friday afternoon if Drohan had agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox but expects him to sign.

Red Sox scouts felt they got a late-round steal in Drohan, who was 0-1 with a 4.08 ERA in the abbreviated 2020 season but had 27 strikeouts and gave up just 11 walks in 17.2 innings.

Boston’s amateur scouting director, Paul Toboni, said area scout Dante Ricciardi was an advocate for picking Drohan.

“I remember being down at spring training in early March and sitting in our office at JetBlue (Park) and Dante was talking to me about this kid for probably 15 minutes and telling me how good of a football player he was and how he had so much runway left and how he’s just scratching the surface,” Toboni said to MLB.com. “And so we’re really, really excited to get Shane in the fifth round.

“Another unique talent. He just does it so easy. When you watch him throw, it looks like it’s not taking much effort and then you check the radar gun and it’s 94, 95, so we’re excited to get Shane.”

Future bright for college baseball

With just five rounds in the MLB draft in 2020, there were 160 selections between the available college, junior college and high school prospects. The NCAA is allowing college baseball to expand the scholarship limits and programs will be loaded with talent in the coming years.

Three examples: FSU may have lost outfielder Elijah Cabell or catcher Mat Nelson in past years, but now both will be a part of the program in 2021. Outfielder Reese Albert previously removed his name from the 2020 MLB draft, too. Now all three are coming back. FSU also has a group of 13 signees, including Montgomery.

The roster juggling will now begin this summer. FSU will have the same NCAA-mandated 11.7-scholarship limit as in prior years but seniors won’t count toward that total. FSU has six 2020 seniors who could return with some having the potential to agree to deals as undrafted free agents.

“Still too early to tell,” Martin Jr. said.

The NCAA also ruled this week that programs can have 32 “counters,” meaning baseball players who are receiving a partial scholarship in 2020-21.

It remains to be seen when college baseball players can return to campus and how many games teams will be able to play in the fall. Martin Jr. continues to advocate for an expanded fall baseball season of 10-15 games, although the NCAA has yet to make a ruling on any proposal.