Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10/14 Scrimmage

From what I gleaned from John Cohen's interview:

He mentioned Michael Smith as a really good CF. He is in my OF rotation.

He said Reid Humphreys is a middle of the order bat. He will be all over DH, IF, and OF.

Trevor Fitts seeing time as closer. He is getting a look.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2015 Team: My thoughts in September

I think this is the most talented team John Cohen will have have in his tenure. I am talking about 1-42, not the guys starting but as a whole, this is his most talented team. We still have lots of question marks but I think this team has great potential. Like, going to Omaha potential. The outfield is very talented and deep. The infield seems very solid with the addition of JC players. The catching position is solid. What the team needs that it had last year is "swing and miss" pitching guys. Jacob Lindgren is gone and so is Jonathan Holder. If you can find pitchers that can strike someone out in critical situations, then we are in business.

I think the combo of the new lower seam baseball and the addition and maturation of hitters will mean we will score more runs in 2015. Young hitters like Gavin Collins, Reid Humphreys, Brent Rooker, Joey Swinarski need to have a good year. I think they will.

The starting pitching will be the deepest in the John Cohen era. We have 7 potential starters right now for the 3 weekend spots. And this is my opinion before fall ball starts. Usually someone will step up during fall, so there may be more!

And judging by the national writers, they don't expect MsState to go to Omaha in 2015. That is a mistake but its good in the fact that we will be underdogs. We excel at being an underdog.

Cohen and staff keep stockpiling this talent and it will take us where we want to go. SEC and NCAA championships.

Fall ball is obviously very important. It shows the coaches what the young players can do. They need to see John Holland in action. Where does he play? They need to see the 6 OF's play and figure out what rotation they have. They need to see who will step up in the pitching staff, primarily in the bullpen. We need to find a closer.

Pre-Fall Info: Right handed pitchers

Trevor Fitts, Sr. 6-2 205
He is not flashy but he gets it done. Right now he is a week end starter. He is also a leader.
Will Cox, Sr. 6-4 200
He was injured last year so he might be a RS Jr. Anyway, he is working his arm back into shape. He may not pitch in a game until April. He should give us experienced relief help.
Preston Brown, Jr.RS 6-0 195
If he would have been healthy the whole 2014, the season may have turned out different. He is healthy now and should be a weekend starter.
Ben Hudspeth, Jr.RS 6-0 180
Was redshirted last year. Fall ball will determine where he is.
Myles Gentry, Jr. 6-0 180
A side arm delivery guy. Has gotten some big outs the last two years. A mainstay in the bullpen.
Cole Barlow, Jr.Tr. 6-2 180
A transfer who throws side arm. Fall ball will determine if he can help in 2015.
Paul Young, So.RS 6-2 205
Paul is finally healthy. Thank goodness. He has great potential. Butch will bring him along slow so by May 1st you should see the real Paul Young. He throws in lower to mid 90's fastball. I see him as a bullpen guy then in 2016, a full fledged starter.
Austin Sexton, So. 6-3 190
He showed flashes his freshman year. Now he is in full competition for a starting role. Another rising star on the staff. Fall ball will determine.
Dakota Hudson, So. 6-5 210
John Cohen said it after last season. He expects Dakota to compete for the Friday night starting pitcher role. He is a future 1st rounder.
Zac Houston, So. 6-6 220
I think Zac will be one of the closers. I think we will go with 2 or 3 to fill that role. Hard to replace Jonathan Holder.
Logan Elliot, So.Tr. 6-1 180
Another side armer. He did really good in JC throwing side arm. I do expect him to contribute in 2015. Fall ball will determine.
Jacob Billingsley, Fr.RS 6-1 185
Jacob had a really good summer. He should be one of the closers or a set up guy. Looking forward to seeing him pitch.
Levi Mintz, Fr.RS 6-4 190
Fall ball will be big for Levi. He needs to show what he can do.
Cole Gordon, Fr. 6-6 220
A multiple player. He can really hit the ball. He is a closer type. He had surgery two years ago but before then he was around 90 with his fastball. He has a ton of potential. He is a Mitch Moreland type, 1B/OF/RHP player.
Aaron Dominguez, Fr. 6-0 190
He is a very determined and scrappy pitcher. He will compete for PT in the bullpen.
Jesse McCord, Fr. 6-1 195
His brother played at Auburn. One of the top pitchers in the southeast coming out of HS. He will definitely get his share of innings in 2015. Most likely all bullpen duty but a future weekend starter.

RECAP: This list is extensive. Seems everyone is healthy although a couple may not be full speed. Lots of work to do in the fall to determine what role they will have.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pre-Fall Info: Left handed pitchers

Ross Mitchell, Sr.RS 6-1 170
Just call him captain. Both he and Rea are the longest tenured players. He has excelled as a starter and reliever. Which begs the question, in his last year, what will he be used at-a starter or reliever? At this point, a starter until someone is better then put him back to long relief.
Lucas Laster, Sr. 5-11 180
He really excelled at the end of 2014. I would say he is a starter at this point.
Trent Waddell, Jr.Tr. 6-3 210
A really intriguing prospect. He had arm trouble last year but is over it. The word on him is that he does have a really good arm. Fall ball will do him a lot of good. We need to find a spot for him.
Vance Tatum, So. 6-4 210
A star in the making. A hard worker. He pitched in both roles in 2014. Just need to keep gaining experience.
Daniel Brown, So.Tr. 5-11 180
He really dominated JC pitching a year ago. He was an All-American. I am really excited about him. I think he can do both, start and relief. Fall ball will determine.
Andrew Mahoney, Fr. 6-3 210
He didn't pitch his senior year because of arm surgery. He was highly rated in his home state of Alabama. Another one that fall ball will be good for. He needs to show what he can do after a long lay off.
Paxton Stover, Fr. 5-11 175
He just needs to gain experience and work under Butch Thompson. Fall ball will determine how much he pitches in 2015.

RECAP: We need 2 LHP's to start on some SEC weekends because the opponent will have good left handed hitters. Mitchell, Laster, Tatum and Brown, in my mind, are the LHP starters. Mitchell is just automatic. I think he got worn down last year but we are deeper in the pitching staff as a whole, so he should be well rested by June. Laster did really well in his starts. Again, just keep him fresh throughout the year. Tatum could have a breakout year. Brown, IMO, is a great find by the staff. This guy shut down opposing hitters in his 1 year of JC. Waddell, I see coming out of the BP in year one. The others, I will have to see what they do in fall ball. I am excited about this group. Last year, we had 4 LHP's, this year we will have 7. Their roles will be determined in fall practice.

Pre-Fall Info: Outfielders

Jake Vickerson, Sr. 5-9 185
Bats left, throws right. A solid addition from JC a year ago. Mainly will be in left but can play right.
Michael Smith, Jr.Tr. 5-10 175
A really nice addition for 2015. A very fast CF type. He will be very important in 2015.
Jacob Robson, So.RS 5-8 180
Injured most of 2014, then had surgery on his elbow. Should be 100%. Jacob bats left. Another fast OF that can run down fly balls.
Cody Brown, So.RS 5-10 180
Bats left, throws right. A very scrappy player that is a plus defender. He can grind an AB too.
Joey Swinarski, Fr.RS 6-3 185
He graduated early in 2014 so he is considered a true freshman now. Joey has tremendous upside. He has a lot of offensive potential. Fall ball will be big for him.
Brent Rooker, Fr.RS 6-4 190
Bats right. He can play 1B also. A really big and tall athletic player. He hit a few HR's during summer ball. Can't wait to see him play.
Cole Gordon, Fr. 6-6 240
A true freshman that bats left. He has a big power bat.

RECAP: The deepest part of any field position. We have 4 players who bat left and 3 that bat right. So any combo of left/right against the opposing pitcher will be used here. There are small, fast type players and a few big, burly guys who can hit HR's. I am really excited about this group.

Pre-Fall Info: Catchers

Zach Randolph, Sr.RS-6-1 190
Zach started a few games in 2014. He brings lots of experience into his last year.
Cody Walker, Sr.-5-10 190
In his 2nd year after transferring from JC. Had a couple of starts in 2014. He will compete with Randolph for the backup catching role which is a very, very important role.
Josh Lovelady, Jr.Tr.-6-0 190
Josh provides depth to a critical position. Fall ball will determine how much he plays.
Gavin Collins, So.-6-0 200
The star of the group. He will be the starter after a solid 2014. He can do it all. He can hit, throw runners out and defend. He will be an All-American before he leaves.

RECAP: Collins is the starter. But this position requires a quality backup. The other 3 will battle it out for 2nd team.

Pre-Fall Info: Middle Infielders

Middle Infield:

Seth Heck, Sr. 5-11 175
I repeat what I said last year. What a great find by the coaching staff. Heck has a 4.0 in the classroom plus he is an excellent defender. His offense is not bad either. He made what 4 errors at SS last year. That is unheard of. But he might have to play 2B in 2015. Fall ball will determine.
John Holland, Jr.Tr. 5-11 180
One of the newcomers that will have a major impact in 2015. He comes with lots of accolades for defense, offense and stealing bases. The biggest question for MIF this fall is where Heck and Holland plays. The Heck and Holland duo could go down in the annuls of history as one of the best.
Matt Spruill, Jr.Tr. 6-1 190
Matt may play 2B or 3B. We'll have to wait and see where he ends up.
Michael Smith, Jr.Tr. 5-10 170
His main position is OF but I have read where he can play 2B. Fall ball will determine.
Ryan Gridley, Fr. 5-9 170
A true freshman with a lot of upside. He needs to gain experience behind all these upper class men. His day will come when he will start. I really like is attitude and hustle.

RECAP: I see Heck and Holland starting and excelling in 2015. At which position, I don't know yet.
This position could be one of our strongest for 2015. As the saying goes, up the middle defense wins championships. Our up the middle is Gavin Collins at catcher, Heck at SS, Holland at 2B and either Michael Smith or Jacob Robson at CF. That is a great combination.