Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State baseball announced the signing of 11 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent following signing day on November 14, 2007. The 2009 class features seven players from the state of Florida and one each from California, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. The newest additions to the Seminole baseball team include LHP Kris Castellanos, INF/OF Spencer Dickinson, RHP Brian Ellington, RHP Ben Francis, OF/LHP Sean Gilmartin, RHP/INF Tyler Hibbs, 1B/LHP Kyle Long, INF Tyler Pastornicky, INF James Ramsey, RHP Hunter Scantling and RHP Austin Wood.
“We filled our needs as well as any class that we have ever had,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We are still faced with the same dilemma that we have been faced with the last 25 years, how many will show up for classes on August 30, 2008. I am excited about the possibility of all of these guys coming to Florida State in the fall, but I also have to be cautious that some of these guys will not show up because of the draft.”
Here is a look at the 2009 Seminole Signing Class:
Kristofer Castellanos, LHP, Brandon, FL
Castellanos is a four-year varsity player who spent his freshman and sophomore years at Bloomingdale High School (alma mater of Tony Thomas, Jr. and Ryan Strauss) before transferring to Newsome High School to play out his final two seasons. As a sophomore, the southpaw posted a 2-1 record with a 1.15 ERA while registering a complete game shutout. He was a member of the 2006 Colt Team from Tampa, Fla., that captured the World Series Championship in Lafayette, Ind. Castellanos was the winning pitcher in the semifinal game against Morgan Hill, Calif., advancing his team into the championship finals. Also in 2006, Castellanos represented the United States in Australia for the Goodwill Series as he was selected to play for 18U Team Spalding.
Assistant Coach Jamey Shouppe on Castellanos: “He is a left handed pitcher with a very good arm that can hit 90. He is a guy that has come on strong late in his high school career. He didn’t get to pitch much his junior year because of an injury to his hand. I expect a lot of good things from him as he reminds me a little bit of Barry Zito with such a good breaking ball. He has got a good frame with an over the top delivery.”
Spencer Dickinson, OF/INF, Tequesta, FL
Dickinson played shortstop for the Benjamin School for three seasons earning Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player awards as well as several other coaches’ accolades during that span. As a sophomore, Dickinson batted .427 with 18 doubles. After coming back from a brief injury in 2007, the Tequesta, Fla., native belted three home runs in his last four games to close out the season. In the summer of 2006 and 2007, he played outfield and was a utility infielder for the nationally ranked All-American Prospects. Dickinson ranks 33rd among all players in the state of Florida by Perfect Game and 26th by Prospect Wire. He ranked among the top 125 players in the nation at all position in the Class of 2008 by Perfect Game. His mother is former LPGA golfer Judy Dickinson.
Shouppe on Dickinson: “He is good baseball player, very scrappy. He is a guy that is not big in statue, but plays the game with a big heart. When I saw him play the first time I went up to his travel team coach and said ‘this kid has some good qualities.’ The coach proceeded to tell me that Spencer was the best hitter on the team. And that was a huge complement because there were some pretty good hitters on that ball club including a guy that got drafted very high in last year’s draft. He plays the game hard.”
Brian Ellington, RHP, Gainesville, FL
Ellington had an outstanding junior season at Oak Hall High School where he posted a 6-2 record with a 1.46 ERA. In nine appearances on the mound, Ellington pitched three no-hitters on the year. He compiled 52.2 innings allowing just 11 earned runs on 24 hits while posting more than 100 strikeouts. Ellington played club baseball with current Seminoles Tyler Holt and Luke Smierciak on the Florida Hardballer squad over the past summer. Ellington will miss his senior season as he will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
Shouppe on Ellington: “Brian Ellington just had Tommy John surgery and will miss his senior year of high school. He is a guy that tops out at 92 mph; a right handed pitcher from Gainesville. He was coached his last year of high school, his junior year, by Kevin Maris, Roger Maris’s son.”
Ben Francis, RHP, Panama City, FL
Francis appeared in a team-high 23 games for Gulf Coast Community College in 2007 posting a record of 4-1 with an ERA of 4.91. He also led the team in saves with seven. Francis compiled 40.1 innings on the year registering 34 strikeouts while walking just 11. The Panama City, Fla., native held opponents to a .230 batting average. Francis was involved in 34.4% of GCCC’s 32 victories on the season
Shouppe on Francis: “Ben Francis is an underneath guy, submarine pitcher that we hope will pitch a lot of innings for us. He is a guy that we can throw out there two or three times on a weekend, as he throws between 86-88 mph from underneath. He is in the same mold as Kevin Lynch, Brian Chambers and other great underneath guys that we have had pitch at Florida State in the past.”
Sean Gilmartin, OF/LHP, Moorpark, CA
In his first three seasons at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California, Gilmartin has posted a batting average of .350 or better. He pitched in 22 games as a junior posting a record of 3-0 while setting the school record for career and single-season saves with 10. Gilmartin registered 45 strikeouts while walking just 10 batters. In 2007, the Moorpark, Calif., native earned All-California Interscholastic Federation honors as well as All-Mission League accolades.
Shouppe on Gilmartin: “He is a kid that came in from California. He has the potential to be a two way guy for us with outstanding offensive numbers and good stuff on the mound. Offensively, he reminds me a lot of Jack Rye as he swings from the left side. Gilmartin pitches in the upper 80s, and was used primarily as a closer in high school and in travel ball. He’s an outfielder with a very strong arm.”
Tyler Hibbs, RHP/INF, Odenton, MD
A three-year varsity starter for Arundel High School, Hibbs hit a school record .584 as a junior clubbing 52 hits in 89 at-bats. He collected 11 doubles, two triples and a home run en route to driving in 20 runs last year. In his three seasons, Hibbs has hit .446 and has struck out only seven times in 267 career at-bats. He did not strikeout once in 89 at-bats as a junior. On the mound, Hibbs has a career record of 29-7 including a 13-1 record in 2006. He fired 86 strikeouts as a junior while posting a career low 0.98 ERA. Hibbs was named Baltimore Sun and Capital Player of the Year in 2006. He was a member of the gold medal winning USA Youth National Team in Venezuela. Hibbs, a native of Odenton, Md., was named a Louisville Slugger Preseason First Team All-American in 2007.
Shouppe on Hibbs: “Another guy that pound for pound could be as good as any other guy in the country. A right handed pitcher that played for the Junior Olympic team. We hope to utilize him in the infield, but he will primarily be used on the mound. Smaller in statue, but very good. He didn’t strikeout once at the plate in 89 appearances as a junior. He’s got a great curve ball, can throw in the 90’s and has an outstanding breaking ball. He is definitely going to pitch at Florida State. He is so versatile that he can fill any role as a pitcher.”
Kyle Long, 1B/LHP, Ivy, VA
Long earned first-team All-Prep League, All-State and All-Central Virginia accolades in 2006 and 2007, while receiving Preseason All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger a season ago. In 2007, Long hit .538 collecting 35 hits and 15 RBI in 65 at-bats. The Ivy, Va., native posted a .954 slugging percentage registering six doubles, three triples and five home runs. On the mound, Long posted an ERA of 1.86 in 32.1 innings of work. He was used primarily as a closer posting 62 strikeouts and a save. For his efforts last year, Long was named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger. Long is the career record holder at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in batting average (.507) and slugging percentage (.897). He has 118 career strikeouts with seven wins and a save. Long has also earned first-team All-Conference, All-State and All-America honors in football. Long is the son of football hall of fame defensive end Howie Long.
Shouppe on Long: “One that Michael (Martin, Jr.) did an outstanding job with in recruiting. Most people shied away from him because of his background with football, but Michael went, saw him and loved him. He will be used at first base and on the mound as well as a designated hitter. He will get a lot of different looks at a lot of different roles. He can throw anywhere from 94-96 mph and has a great opportunity to find a role as our closer.”
Tyler Pastornicky, Middle INF, Bradenton, FL
Pastornicky has played at both the shortstop and pitcher positions for the Pendleton School on the IMG Academies campus since his freshman year and looks to hit leadoff in 2008. This past summer he hit .433 for the Florida Bombers of the Connie Mack League where he collected 52 hits in 120 at-bats. Pastornicky collected five home runs and 10 doubles while driving in 26 runs. He was 25-of-27 in the stolen base category and posted a .980 fielding percentage. He is the son of former Major Leaguer and current Kansas City Royals Florida scout Cliff Pastornicky.
Shouppe on Pastornicky: “He is an outstanding athlete, has a strong arm and can throw in upwards of 90 mph. He played shortstop in high school and definitely has middle infield potential. His dad played with George Brett and the Kansas City Royals and now serves as a scout for the Royals in Florida.”
James Ramsey, 2B/3B, Alpharetta, GA
Ramsey was the leading hitter in Gwinnett County (Classes 2A-5A) in 2007 posting a .468 batting average and a .883 slugging percentage in guiding Wesleyan High School to the 6-AA championship. The left-handed hitting infielder has 16 career home runs while starting at Wesleyan since the ninth grade. Ramsey was named team MVP of East Cobb as he hit just under .500 to lead the Patriots a season ago in the Connie Mack League. He was selected to the All-County team in 2007 as well as to the first-team All-Region squad. Ramsey has earned varsity letters in football, basketball, tennis and baseball. He served as team captain of both the football and baseball teams at Wesleyan in 2007. Both his parents are FSU alumni as his mom Mary Beck played tennis and his father Craig played baseball. His dad was captain of the 1980 College World Series team.
Shouppe on Ramsey: “James is an outstanding hitter, who can hit from the left side. He is one of those rare middle infielders that swing from the left side. He can also play third, a solid utility infielder. He played second in high school and is a very good offensive guy. When he swings the bat, James reminds me a lot of Sam Scott who played for us in the 1999 World Series.”
Hunter Scantling, RHP, Jacksonville, FL
As a junior at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Fla., Scantling went 8-2 on the mound with a 1.81 ERA. The hard throwing right hander fired five complete games in the 10 games that he started. Scantling registered 50 strikeouts in 54 innings of work.
Shouppe on Scantling: “A 6’ 8” right handed pitcher from Jacksonville, his upside is through the ceiling and he has unbelievable potential. As most tall guys are, they usually develop late because mechanically there is so much growth and so much body movement, but as tall guys go, he is ahead of the curve. He is right on the verge of becoming a very good pitcher. He has the potential of being a high draft choice as he refines his mechanics and gets set in a system. We are expecting good things from Hunter.”
Austin Wood, RHP, Niceville, FL
Wood made 13 appearances for Niceville High School in 2007 including 11 starts. The right hander posted a 6-2 record with a 1.35 ERA. He allowed just 10 earned runs in 54 innings of work while striking out 91 batters. For his efforts, Wood was named first-team All-County while earning All-State honorable mention accolades last season. Wood was also a member of the 2007 Connie Mack World Championship team as well as the 2007 World Wood Bat Championship squad. For the Midland Redskins, of the Connie Mack League, Wood went 3-0 on the mound with a 0.00 ERA. He allowed just one run, unearned, in 17 innings of work, while he struck out 19 batters in six appearances. In the only game he started for the Redskins, Wood threw a complete game.
Shouppe on Wood: “He is going to be a very high drafted pitcher out of high school. He looks the part of a major league pitcher and is very polished. Wood can throw in the low 90s.”