Carson Seymour started his collegiate baseball career at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The right-handed pitcher struggled in eight games as a freshman in 2018 but intended on returning for his sophomore year.
But once he started playing for the Southampton Breakers in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League in New York and realized what his schooling would cost for his sophomore year, Seymour started kicking around the possibility of transferring.
His teammates with Southampton started recruiting him and his father also floated around the idea of having Seymour’s high school travel baseball coach reach out to Buck Taylor, who was recently hired as the pitching coach at Kansas State, Seymour said. Seymour grew up in the same town in California as Taylor and had a slight familiarity with him, he added.
Seymour waited the required seven days after putting his name in the NCAA transfer portal and then reached out to Taylor. He also visited Manhattan, Kansas and realized Kansas State was where he wanted to continue his career.
“I finally got Buck on the phone, and we hit it off,” Seymour said. “I came out here at the end of my summer ball season, and I really liked the place. The energy just felt different than Ivy League baseball. I really liked it.”
Seymour had to redshirt last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He spent last season working out and long tossing with redshirt freshman pitcher Connor McCullough, who also was sitting out after transferring from Arkansas.
Seymour and McCullough also prepared for the Cape Cod League last summer. In the prestigious summer league, Seymour experienced mixed results as a starting pitcher.
Despite his inconsistency during the summer, professional scouts were intrigued by Seymour’s upside. After hitting 96 mph with his fastball in the summer, Seymour experienced an uptick in velocity in fall practices, touching 99 mph.
Seymour, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander, has the potential and intangibles to thrive on the mound. He enters this spring with the potential to go in the first five rounds of June’s MLB draft.
Kansas State has produced one top-100 pick in its history. Jack Woolsey was a second-round pick in 1969.
Although he appreciates the pro interest, Seymour uses the draft attention as motivation after not receiving any in high school. He’s focused on improving his skills and serving as a reliable starter for Kansas State this spring.
“In high school, no one cared who I was,” Seymour said. “I think that helps me because no one expects me to do anything, which will help me a lot, I think. It helps me to just continue to pitch and be myself. If they like me, they like me. If they don’t, they don’t.”
Seymour throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, curveball, slider and changeup from a delivery he repeats well despite having some effort to it. His fastballs are above-average offerings and he mixes in both pitches to create deception.
“My persistence and the one-pitch at a time mindset are my biggest strengths,” Seymour said. “If someone gets a hit, just having that mindset that we are one pitch away.”
Seymour’s changeup was farther behind his other offerings in the summer, but he dedicated time in the offseason to refining the pitch. He’s comfortable with his changeup grip but faced challenges with its velocity. In the summer, he was hitting 87 mph with his changeup, which he’s worked on decreasing throughout the fall to have it sit around 84 mph.
His curveball was his top off-speed pitch until he added a slider. He struggled to strike out batters during the summer and wanted to add a pitch that would generate swings and misses. He’s confident in throwing his slider and experienced strong results with it during fall practices.
“If I’m going to get a guy 0-2, I want to strike him out,” Seymour said. “I told Coach Taylor that, and we started to work on a slider. He showed me a grip, and I’ve been ripping it ever since.”
Seymour will serve as Kansas State’s No. 1 starter this spring. Besides refining his skills, Seymour hopes to make a lasting impact on the Kansas State baseball program in what might be his final collegiate baseball season.
The Wildcats haven’t qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2013, which also was the last time they won a conference championship. After the Wildcats posted a 25-33 record last season, they have the talent to be in postseason contention this spring.
“I just want to put Kansas State on the map,” Seymour said. “We are not really ever talked about, and if we make a good run at it this year and get us in the national spotlight, I think that would help the program and the players coming in that Kansas State is a baseball program.”
Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.