Montgomery ready for Classic

Photo: Carson Montgomery (Perfect Game)

Jack Nelson
Published: Friday, August 2, 2019

It’s tough to match the amateur baseball resume of Carson Montgomery. In 2017, the Windermere, Fla. native was selected to participate in the 14u PG Select Baseball Festival. Now, the Florida State commit is poised to take the mound in San Diego at the 2019 Perfect Game All-American Classic.

“That was a really cool experience, especially at such a young age,” Montgomery said of the Festival. “It’s been awesome to come up with a bunch of these guys and participate in the big events. We enjoy spending time each other. I think that’s the best part.”

The last couple years have been quite a whirlwind for Montgomery. It’s especially impressive considering he just started pitching only a couple years ago.

“I was mainly a hitter until high school,” he said. “I hopped on the mound my freshman year and my coach told me I had a pretty good arm. It took off from there.

“I didn’t really know much about velocity or pitching before high school. I was always an outfielder, so I was just messing around on the mound. Then someone told me I was up to 86 mph and I was only 14, so I thought maybe I should become a pitcher. Later that summer, I was up 91 mph and got a scholarship to Florida State.”

For Montgomery, baseball is in his blood. His older brother, Cam, currently plays at Rollins College. His grandfather was also a professional player in his time.

“I grew up watching my brother play,” he said. “I would always come along with my dad and my brother whenever he had a game or a practice. Eventually, I started throwing with them and hitting, too. My grandfather also played in the minor leagues. He’s taught me a lot.”

Powerfully built, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder can run his fastball up to 96 mph. He mixes his mid-90s heater with a sharp slider. Montgomery is ranked No. 18 overall in Perfect Game’s high school class of 2020.  He is ranked No. 2 in the state of Florida. The rising senior at Windermere High School won’t leave the state for college, having committed to Florida State.

“I was looking for a school that was going to treat me and treat my training as a priority,” he said. “The tradition at Florida State was a big factor in my decision, and it just felt like a family. My sister goes there, and a lot of my buddies are up there. Plus, Mike Martin Jr. is a great coach. I’m really excited to get there.”

Florida is one of the nation’s great baseball hot beds, and growing up in the Sunshine State means a young player is going to brush elbows with some pretty big-time prospects. Montgomery watched some of his older brother’s friends be selected to play in the All-American game. Now, it’s his turn.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I grew up watching all these kids play in the All-American game and that was always my goal. When I got that call, I definitely felt some fulfillment, but I also know I have some work to do.”

Montgomery is a man on a mission, and since he has dedicated himself to pitching he has made great leaps. He started working with Sal Lombardo, the founder of the Orlando Scorpions organization. Lombardo has mentored top MLB arms in Zack Greinke, Chris Sale and Cody Allen.

“He’s probably been my biggest influence,” Montgomery said of Lombardo. “I started going to him after my freshman year of high school. I told my mom I wanted to pitch and she brought me to him. He’s transformed me from a thrower into a real pitcher.”

After the PG All-American Classic, Montgomery said he has big plans for the coming year. Whether he chooses to turn pro after the 2020 MLB Draft or continue his career in Tallahassee, Montgomery is trying to emulate his favorite big leaguer, Max Scherzer. More specifically, he tries to model the bulldog mentality that Mad Max brings to the hill every start. Like Scherzer, Montgomery says his goal is not just to pitch in the MLB, but to win Cy Youngs and make all star teams. And he’s ready to put the work in now to get there.

“Right now, keeping my arm healthy is the top priority,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning, and I’m going to hit the weights hard in the fall and winter. I’m planning to add about 10 pounds in the offseason. Then I’m going to get after it in the spring.”

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