the inception of the Perfect Game All-American Classic in 2003, the
event has seen 79 of its participants make their Major League
Baseball debuts. One more, Kyle Long, son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie,
now plays right guard for the Chicago Bears.
of those big-leaguers, Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey, earned
National League MVP honors each of the last two seasons. Posey also
claimed Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, as did Jose Fernandez this
past year, Bryce Harper in 2012 and Jeremy Hellickson in 2011.
(2008), Harper (2010), Mike Zunino (2012) and Kris Bryant (2013) have
all received the Golden Spikes Award recognizing college baseball's
Saturday, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston added one more
accolade to the history of the Classic when he was named college
football's most outstanding player as he received the Heisman Trophy
at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City.
State marched to a No. 1 ranking during a perfect 13-0 season when
they outscored their opponents by an average of over 42 points a
game. In other words, Florida State could spot their opponents six
touchdowns and those teams could still walk away on the losing end.
was the leader of the potent Seminoles’ offense, a red-shirt
freshman who threw for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns, and added four
more scores on the ground. He and his teammates now prepare for the
VIZIO BCS National Championship game to be held on Jan. 6 at Rose
Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif.
not only stars on the football field, but also is a key member of the
Florida State baseball team, and Winston's talents are as diverse in
baseball as they are in football.
participant of the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic, playing
with and against current minor league stars including Lance
McCullers, Joey Gallo, Addison Russell and Lucas Giolito, Winston was
the only member of the East team to collect a hit.
hit was a sharp single off of left-hander Max Fried – the seventh
overall pick of the 2012 MLB Draft – who was throwing 92-94 mph
heat and a hammer curveball that allowed him to strike out every
batter he faced in the top of the fourth inning not named Winston.
Once he reached base, Winston promptly stole second, advanced to
third on a passed ball, and then stole home, becoming the first –
and only – player in the 11-year history of the Classic to do so.
you probably get the idea already that Winston has game-changing
speed and a knack for making plays.
timed results at the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase confirmed
his speed when Winston ran the 60-yard dash in 6.59 seconds, one of
the best of those in attendance; he threw 93 mph from the outfield
and 92 off the mound as a pitcher. He also switch-hits, and displayed
a surprisingly balanced and powerful swing from both sides of the
plate, something you don't find in too many hitters at any level,
much less one who is 17 years old and playing among the top 250 high
school seniors in the nation.
Winston's full report from the National:
lean athletic frame, deceptively strong. Outstanding and versatile
athlete, can play all over the field and switch hits. Good bat speed
from both sides, fluid swing through the ball, has some lift and pull
to his approach, tends to be a bit still in his start, projects
power. Outstanding baserunner, takes the extra base. 6.59 runner,
very good outfield range, strong arm with good crow hop and footwork,
quick infield actions, good hands, long actions but a flexible
release, could play 3B in the future. Also pitches, deep long arm
action, high three-quarters release with some effort, 90-92 mph with
plus hard sinking life at times, throws both a curveball and slider
with good spin and bite, slider is sharp and tight, big downer action
on curveball, good idea how to pitch. Also one of the top dual threat
quarterbacks in the country. Unique athlete, combines physical talent
with surprising instincts and skills. High ceiling talent if chooses
to continue to play baseball.
attended 10 Perfect Game events in total, all of which were
tournaments – aside from the Classic and the National Showcase –
playing for the Team Alabama travel program. One of his teammates
during that time was fellow PG All-American David Dahl, a first round
pick in 2012 who is now a member of the Colorado Rockies
organization. Winston also played alongside a handful of players
currently making an impact at the college level, including Alabama's
Georgie Salem and Mikey White and Auburn's Jordan Ebert and Dylan
Winston had plenty of suitors, he had yet to commit to a college at
the time of the PG National Showcase, and recruiters knew he was much
more than just a football player who happened to be good at baseball.
a must,” Winston told Perfect Game's Jeff Dahn at the 2011 National
Showcase. “If I can’t play both, I probably won’t go to
to the 2012 MLB Draft, Perfect Game ranked Winston the 48th best high school prospect in his class, but MLB teams also had to
contend with the fact that he was ranked the No. 1 dual-threat
quarterback in the nation by rivals.com.
there are plenty of recent examples of baseball teams signing notable
two-sport stars away from the gridiron – including Archie Bradley,
Zach Lee and Bubba Starling – Winston's talents, in addition to the
new bonus pools introduced by Major League Baseball, were too much
for a team to overcome to get him in the fold. The Rangers did draft
him in the 15th round in 2012, far too late in the draft for him to turn away from
his commitment to Florida State.
took to the baseball field first for the Seminoles, red-shirting his
freshman year in football under the tutelage of now Buffalo Bills
quarterback E.J. Manuel. Although he wasn't an everyday, full-time
player, Winston saw action in 41 of Florida State's 64 games, posting
a .235/.377/.345 slash line with six doubles and a pair of stolen
bases while going 1-2 on the mound with a 3.00 ERA and a pair of
Winston was unavailable for comment as he prepares for the BCS
National Championship game, Mike Martin, Jr., assistant coach and
head recruiting coordinator for the Florida State baseball team, was
happy to talk about Winston's success.
isn't just a guy that plays baseball for fun,” Martin said in
regard to Winston's recent success. “He's really good at it and he
helped us an awful lot last year, and we're expecting bigger things
out of him this year. I really believe that will come to fruition,
him being a bigger part of our team, whether that's as a closer,
logging more innings on the mound, or getting more at-bats and
putting up big numbers for us.”
Winston has added strength to his 6-foot-4 frame, bulking up to
228-pounds after weighing in around 200 in high school, his power
potential, as well as his arm strength, have also improved. His
fastball, which sat in the upper-80s to low-90s in high school now
consistently registers 93-95 on the gun, mixing in a nasty mid- to
upper-80s slider to punch-out opposing hitters.
spends a lot of his time during his offseason assisting his close
friend Jimbo Fisher, Florida State's head football coach, with
whatever tasks are deemed necessary. The two of them take recruiting
trips together, not only to spend time with one another but to also
pick each other's brain and share notes on players.
always looking for guys that can play regardless of the sport,”
Martin said of his recruiting role. “You want guys that can turn,
guys that can bend and (create) angles, have a bounce in their step,
people that want to be out there. It's our job to make sure they
really enjoy doing it, and I think that we're all chasing guys that
are athletic and driven, and those are the guys you win with.”
Martin acknowledges the fact he has to work around Florida State's
football schedule more so than the other way around, which is
understandable since Winston is on a football scholarship. He's
appreciative of the ways Fisher has arranged the spring football
schedule to the benefit of the baseball program.
will never miss any sort of football activity that is required by
everyone else,” Martin said, “but all the other time he'll be
with us. Jimbo will put up the spring practice schedule based upon
our schedule and help us in that regard.
only had two conflicts last year. One trip (to Virginia Tech), he had
to miss that completely because there was no other way to get around
the allotted practice days that they can have.”
with both a full year of baseball and football under his belt,
Winston can expect to be used in a greater, expanded role for the
Seminoles baseball team, although his coach is quick to recognize he
and the rest of the baseball staff have to be careful in what they
love to be in position where we DH him, just because it's kind hard
to run a Heisman Trophy winner into a wall,” Martin said. “I
shouldn't say he'll definitely close for us, but that's where we're
projecting him. That's what we're going to try and do, mold him into
a closer because all the stuff, the intangibles, are there. Nothing
football fans of the Florida State, history definitely favors the
program as they aim for their third National Championship on Jan. 6
of the New Year at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. The last two
times the Seminoles claimed the championship – in both 1993 and
1999 – their leaders under center held similar profiles to that of
Winston, and both also claimed college football's most distinguished
individual honor, the Heisman Trophy.
1993 Charlie Ward guided Florida State to a 12-1 record, beating the
No. 2-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl on their way to
their first National Championship. Ward – deemed undersized by NFL
standards and playing well before read-option offenses were
implemented in the professional game that seemed to have opened the
door for similar-sized quarterbacks – took his talents to the NBA
where he enjoyed a productive 12-year career, 10 of which were spent
with the New York Knicks.
a gifted all-around athlete similar to that of Winston, was also
drafted twice by MLB teams – the Brewers in 1993 and the Yankees in
Weinke's career was somewhat opposite of both Winston and Ward.
Weinke was drafted in the second round by the Toronto Blue Jays
coming out of high school and immediately began his pro baseball
career. After six years spent in the minors, he returned to football,
opting to honor his original commitment to Florida State (he was in
the same recruiting class as Ward), and put an exclamation mark on
his collegiate career with his own National Championship in 1999 in
addition to winning the Heisman Trophy in 2000.
then enjoyed a five-year NFL career, most of which was spent with the
Carolina Panthers, and he started 15 games as a rookie in 2001.
State's baseball program has also boasted its fair share of impact
players moving on to the next level. The most recent was Buster
Posey, the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player, the 2010
National League Rookie of the Year and also a former PG All-American
and PG National Showcase participant when he was in high school.
has the drive, enthusiasm and leadership skills of Buster (Posey),”
Martin said of Winston's intangible qualities. “He's a lot more
vocal than Buster was, but he's as driven, he works his tail off to
get better at the game, he's very coachable and he genuinely cares.
And that's what separates a lot of guys. They think that they really
care about the whole group when it's really and truly just about
them. With those two, Buster and Jameis, there's no doubt that they
genuinely care about everybody.
didn't use him a whole lot last year, but he was a top-step guy, the
first one out of the dugout and he would do anything to win a
of any sport are quick to find quick and easy comparisons of players
from the present and past to help paint a picture of what they can
expect from the next wave of young stars. In addition to the likes of
Ward, Weinke and Posey, two other names have been mentioned in
discussions of Jameis Winston: Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders.
the past, Winston hasn't shied away from expressing his desire to
playing both sports at the highest level possible. While using names
such as Jackson and Sanders seem extremely unfair to any young
player, if any player has the complete package to make it happen, it
very well may be Winston.
going to be one of those things where he goes pro in football, and I
think he'll be a very high pick in football,” Martin said. “Who
knows what the future holds, whether he wants to do the Bo Jackson
thing, or the Deion Sanders thing, or not. It's very difficult to do
as a quarterback, to do both.
I know one thing, if things don't work out in football he definitely
has a future in pro baseball.”