Winston's baseball future still murky
February, 4, 2014
By David M. Hale | ESPN.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- All-America honors are nothing new for Jameis Winston, but the accolades this week aren’t coming on the football field.
Winston was named a third-team preseason All-American by Baseball America, which came as a mild surprise to fans who simply noticed his .235 batting average as a utility player last season.
That stat hardly sums up Winston’s skills on the baseball field, where he was a star in high school and was selected in the 15th round by the Texas Rangers in the 2012 MLB draft.
This season, Winston figures to be one of Florida State’s top bullpen arms, and his mid-90s fastball warrants plenty of attention. But the reality, according to ESPN’s Christopher Crawford, is that Winston’s future as a two-sport superstar is unlikely.
Crawford notes Winston’s lack of baseball refinement -- a product of so much time spent on the football field -- and the fact his financial future as an NFL quarterback likely far outpaces that of a bullpen arm in the big leagues.
Of course, Winston’s perspective on the issue has always differed greatly from the pundits. His decision to come to Florida State was based in large part on the school’s willingness to let him play both sports when others couldn’t or wouldn’t offer the same freedom. Winston grew up just a few miles from where Bo Jackson played in high school, and he’s routinely said he’s interested in following a similar path -- not choosing one sport over the other. For now, at least, football coach Jimbo Fisher and baseball coach Mike Martin completely agree.
That decision is still a ways off, however, and after a Heisman Trophy, a national championship and status as a near certain first-round pick in football, it’s possible Winston’s baseball future ends after this season.
What’s certain, however, is that Winston isn’t thinking that way. If he follows through on his current All-America status and makes the same level of strides on the diamond he did on the football field, the pessimism about his baseball future might be a bit harder to maintain.
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