Sunday, May 17, 2015

The 2015 Season - Part 9: The good stuff!

Junior college catcher Josh Lovelady played great. He was a nice pickup. He was solid, if not spectacular at times, throwing out runners. Once Gavin Collins came back his PT lessened. We needed Collins offense really bad. Those two returning will be the best one two punch in the SEC.

Freshman shortstop Ryan Gridley whose hero is Dustin Pedrioa won the job half way through the season. He might be small but he excelled at short. He had some big hits through out the season too.

Freshman pitcher Jesse McCord although he struggled when he pitched, I saw some great signs that he is an elite pitcher. Even Butch Thompson was calling him a preseason All-American. He can throw it low 90's with great movement. Hopefully, his surgery corrected what was wrong and he will be full speed next spring.

The 4 big sophomore pitchers: Dakota Hudson, Moonlight Tatum, Austin Sexton and Zac Houston each improved over their freshman seasons. Sexton really had some great starts but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead. Hudson and Houston out of the pen really flashed mid 90's fastballs. Tatum started and relieved and had spots where he was untouchable. All 4 will have significant roles in 2016.

The other sophomores: Jacob Robson, Reid Humphreys and Cody Brown each had solid years. All three were up and down sometimes. Robson started out on fire. Hump had a stretch where he was scorching the ball. Brown had some huge hits throughout the year. All 3 should be starters in 2016.

The other junior college players that made an impact besides Lovelady are Michael Smith, Luke Reynolds and John Holland. All three had up and down years, with injuries or slumps but these guys are solid and should have a good in 2016.

The 2015 Season - Part 8: more thoughts and concerns

1) Why was freshman 1B/RHP Cole Gordon redshirted? He had hit 2-3 HRs in the fall, then in preseason scrimmages, he was striking out guys. He is 6-6 240, throws right, bats left. I was expecting him to play. Turns out we really needed him. We needed his power bat and we needed another arm in the bullpen. Love to find out what happened to him.

2) OF Joey Swinarski came to us as a good hitter. He left HS early, reason he was RS last year. But this year he didn't play much at all. I know we had plenty of OF's but Joey is a good hitter and we needed that.

3) Did the new baseball really have that much affect on us? The pitchers we have couldn't throw it as good?

4) Confidence was a huge factor down the stretch. We just didn't have it. Like I alluded to earlier, once we started the downward spiral, we couldn't get out of it. Confidence was lost.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

2016 Season: What do we have, pitching.

I got between 25-30 on my 2016 roster but that will be whittled down to around 20. This is the position with the most turnover. Lots of hard throwing premium arms (hopefully) coming to campus in July and August. This will push some to move on.

The age of throwing in the mid 80s is gone. We have got with the program and are bringing in guys who throw in low to mid 90's. This will be the norm in recruiting now.

I would think our rotation will have either have Dakota Hudson, Austin Sexton or Moonlight Tatum has two if not all 3 spots.

Of course, our star studded in coming class will push these guys. Way too early to tell right now.

Like I have said they past year, I think we have the best LHP class in the nation. These guys can bring it.

I will have more on the pitching as he summer progresses.

Recruiting: what do we have, what do we need

2015 Class: Loaded, any questions. The best LHP group in the nation, I think. Ranked 3rd by Perfect Game. We have 4 top 100 players. We have hard throwers, starters and relievers. We have big powerful hitters. We have middle infielders and a catcher. Three switch hitters. 22 total signees, 3 junior college. Nathan Lowe, a 1B, is big (6-3 230) and has hit over 14 HR's in JC ball. I will comment much more after the draft. I really hope we don't lose more than 2 to pro baseball.

2016 Class: 9 commits so far with 4 premium LHP's. BUT, we need hitters in a big way. This class must be 50/50 pitchers and hitters. Must get more premium hitters.

2017 Class: These guys will be juniors in 2015-16. Ripe for the picking. We have 5 so far, two hitters.

Like many people have said on twitter and on message boards, our roster needs to get better. Bigger and better players. Well, they 2015 class has that. As I have said before, we need elite players every year coming to Starkville. They make a huge difference.

The best way to keep up with commits is to see my blog. I keep up with it and put them on the list.

The 2016 Season: What do we have?

I am going to go ahead and give the lineup, etc, even though its way too early and we don't know who is coming back, etc.

Catcher-Gavin Collins, Jr. He will come back healthy and hungry. Huge year ahead.
1B-Reid Humphreys, Jr. My money is on Reid playing 1B. This is his draft year and he needs to play in the field. He just can't DH and get drafted.
2B-John Holland, Sr. I wish he would come back for his senior year. He was so steady at 2B. His offense really came around.
SS-Ryan Gridley, So. He had a great freshman season. Only will get better and better.
3B-Luke Reynolds, Jr. This may be a platoon position but Luke got better as the season went. He just needs to play summer ball at 3B and get better defensively.
LF-Brent Rooker, So.RS He is a big powerful kid that should play some in the field in 2016.
CF-Michael Smith, Sr. He is such a great player, I think. If he wouldn't have gotten hurt, he may have been drafted in June. Jacob Robson could factor in here but I think he will be drafted.
RF-Cody Brown, Jr.RS Such a great competitor and hustler. Had some huge hits in 2015.

This is my way too early lineup. I will update this as time goes by. MLB draft will have a say in this.

The 2016 Season: What needs to change

1) Non-conference schedule: yes sir. We are slated to play Oregon Ducks at home and go on the road to Los Angeles to play in the Dodgertown Classic and play USC, UCLA, etc. We better play these teams. Don't back out bc we had a bad season. We must play these teams. The thinking about the nc schedule needs to change. We need to play teams we know will have higher RPI's. We need to play away (like in Houston or Los Angeles). We need to stop playing Ms Valley, Alcorn St, etc, whose RPI is way over 200. It is embarrassing to have our 2015 RPI over 100 when all other SEC teams are under 100. We just didn't play a good non-conference schedule.

2) The grass. No not that grass... The infield turf needs new life. It looked like my back yard. I don't care if the tarp leaked and it messed up. It looked bad last year. Also, I would go back to dirt around home plate and leave it plastic around the field.

3) John Cohen: he needs to stop keeping secrets. We had two guys to have surgery and will miss the remainder of the year. He should have said it in his presser. But reporters saw the players and asked. Why not say? We heard two players got suspended. Why not let us know?

4) The offensive philosophy has got to change. We must be bashers and hit home runs and doubles. Singles and bunting is not going to work at all. This will change because it has to. And it will change, if the coaches can get bigger, stronger, heavy hitters.

5) Pitching is simple, to throw strikes. Here again, the pitchers must throw harder now. The pitcher that pitches to contact and hopes for a ground ball is gone. We need hard throwers that strike batters out.

6) John Cohen: lastly, he is the manager. He is the leader. His way needs to change also. If he is calling on bunts in the 4th inning, he has to change it. If he is solely responsible for the lineup, he needs to change his ways. I know he was trying to do anything to jolt the offense this year but a set lineup is the way to go. Leadoff hitters in the front, big burly guys in the middle.

The 2015 Season - Part 7: What now?

The players that will be with us in 2016 need to heal up if they are injured, if not, go to summer ball and let it fly. Get better in everything you think you need to. Come back in July and August and get ready to be winners.

The coaches after their meetings will hit the road recruiting. The 2015 class is pretty much in the can. We shall see after the draft. But the 2016 class needs a lot. Needs a lot of big hitters period.

June 4th is D Day. Draft Day. We have 22 signees and half might be drafted. Roughly 5 could very well be drafted high. I will do my best to keep you updated on this. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we do a lot better in 2016 or struggle again.

July 1 is another day to remember. It is the first day to offer a scholarship to the 2016 players. We better be getting some high profile hitters in July.

July 15 is the last day a draftee can sign with a MLB club.

July 5 (I think) is when signees can show up for workouts and summer school.

All the players and signees need to show up and work their tails off. Go out with beautiful women and enjoy football games. When they come back in January, it will be time to get it on again. No more losing like we did.