Q&A with Arkansas State Commit SS Ross Messina (Staley, 2016)



Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

SS Ross Messina (Staley, 2016) becomes the first player from the 2014 Future Games to verbally commit.  Messina will be attending Arkansas State after high school. The projectable 6-foot 160-pound SS/RHP, currently ranked #11 in the state, showed well at the Midwest Future Games Powered by Under Amour.  Messina posted a 7.24 60-time with a 93 mph exit velo.  He showed opposite gap power, with a triple to left center in game action and tossed a quick 9-pitch inning against team Michigan.  Messina earned a spot on the Royals Elite Scout Team this fall and is a member of the Kansas City Bullets organization.  

Look for Messina to contribute at SS at the college level, but don't overlook his ability to pitch.  In the infield he has some of the best infield actions of any player in Missouri, with a clean arm action from a ¾ slot. At the plate, Messina starts with a tall set-up and open stance.  He has a controlled stride inline with the pitcher and a minimal, fluid load.  His bat path is short and level.  He showed an explosive lower half and extension through the baseball, driving the ball in the middle of the field.

On the mound, Messina has a simple athletic delivery that grades out as well as anyone.  He throws from a natural ¾ slot with clean arm action.  All of his pitches have late breaking action to them.

Look for Messina to play a major role in 2015 for Staley's state-contending baseball team. Below is an inside look at how Messina chose Arkansas State. 

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

My expectations were that is would be very difficult and stressful. But when it came around, it was easier than I expected. I was fortunate to find the right fit so early. 

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?   

Messina:  Location did play a role in the school I chose. I wanted to play ball in warmer weather. As far as distance from home, I wanted to go far enough to where I couldn’t come home every weekend. But I also didn’t want to go far enough away where I needed to take a plane.

PBR: Where did Arkansas State first see you play? How did your relationship develop with them? T

Messina: hey first saw me play in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They then came to multiple games in Kansas City and Topeka. They contacted me and I liked what they had to say. We texted back and forth and set up a visit. I really enjoyed the school and town and I knew it was the school for me.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Messina: The best player I’ve seen in my state is Chris Cornelius. He always seems to square the ball up and hit it hard. He’s a tough out and makes all the plays in the field look easy.

PBR: Describe your experience at the PBR Future Games in Indianapolis.  How does it feel to be the first player from that team to choose a school?

Messina: My experience in Indianapolis was amazing! There were tons of scouts from colleges all over. The exposure we got was great. I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to play there. Being the first to choose a school is an honor. The guys on team Missouri are the best players around. There are big things coming for all of them.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Messina: The first thing I looked for were coaches who believed in me and the way I play the game. I wanted a program who played a good schedule, played in warm weather, and plays the game the way I like to play it.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Messina: My advice would be to always work hard. When you take a day off, somebody else is out there getting better. Also, never be comfortable where you are now. Always strive to get better. And last, have fun playing the game.

PBR: Describe your experience on the Royals Scout Team.

Messina: It was a great experience playing with the top players from around the state. The things I learned from the coaches will help me progress as a player. Also, playing junior colleges showed me what it takes to play at the next level. It was a great thing to be a part of and I’m fortunate Matt Price selected me to be on the team.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Messina: My most memorable moment was playing in the Futures Games. Just the whole experience and the talent that was there was awesome. It was crazy seeing all the scouts there and meeting the best players from other states.

PBR: What do you like most about Arkansas State and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Messina: I like the relationship I have with the coaches there. The school campus, the baseball field, and the coaching staff all just felt right. I saw it as a place with great opportunities and a place I could excel at.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Messina: It really took off on September 1st, when the coaches can call you. The coaches who contacted me saw me at the Futures Games. That event really put me out there.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? Name some players that will play a key role for Staley in 2015?

Messina: Staley will be solid. The 2015 and 2016 classes have a lot of talent. Our goal is to make it to state. We feel that we have the players and coaches to go far. Some key players are Conrad McMahon, Levi McLaughlin, Jack Duffy, and Sean Cooley. That’s only a few on our very talented team.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Messina: I play with the Kansas City Bullets. The head coach is Dale Reed. My most memorable experience was playing in Baum Stadium down in Arkansas.

For More Missouri News