Jameis Winston, Florida State's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, played in left field for Florida State's exhibition against the Yankees on Tuesday afternoon. Winston entered the game in the fifth inning with the Yankees up 5-0 and went 0-2 in his only two plate appearances.
In his first at-bat, Winston grounded out to second base on four pitches against Yankee right-hander Shane Green. The outfielder struck out looking in his second plate appearance.
According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Winston, who is also a reliever, wanted to pitch on Tuesday against the Yankees, but Florida State coach Mike Martin wouldn't let him, saying he had a "tender elbow" after his most recent appearance for the Seminoles.
After the game, Winston discussed his experience meeting the Yankees players, telling Nightengale, "It was probably better than winning the national championship." Winston idolized Derek Jeter as a child, wearing the No. 2 when he grew up, according to Newsday's David Lennon.
Speaking on Monday, Winston told ESPN New York, "If they'd ask me to catch, I'd catch, just so I can see those guys bat." The Yankees are reportedly Winston's "favorite team," with the 20-year-old admitting he was "a little starstruck" at the thought of playing against the Bronx Bombers.
Winston is clearly a talented football player, but his athleticism and arm strength have also put him on the radar of numerous MLB teams. The Rangers selected the Alabama native in the 15th round back in 2012 despite knowing he was headed to FSU to play football.
If football weren't a factor, Winston would have a solid chance to be a 2015 first-round pick in baseball. On the mound, he showed a 92-94 mph fastball and a promising slider.
One NL amateur scout, whom Cooper quotes, stated:
For me, if he pitches enough, someone could say first round easily. Someone can dream and say that's a starting pitcher. Someone would dream on him as a starter. He'd go somewhere around 15 to 20 in the first round as a starting pitcher.
Despite his potential, Winston's football talents will always be a drawback for MLB teams that are interested in him. Not only is he dividing his time between baseball and football, he is also playing both left field and pitching, which is a lot for any amateur player to focus on regardless of how talented and athletic he is.
Winston's ultimate desire to play professional baseball won't be tested until 2015 anyhow. For now, he is playing both sports at FSU, and although he went 0-2 against the Yankees on Tuesday, his talent will continue to intrigue MLB teams.