#27 Mississippi State Baseball 2015 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
#27 Mississippi State Baseball 2015 Preview
Mississippi State Team Page


A strong campaign posted by last year’s Mississippi State baseball program resulted in the Bulldogs nearly hitting 40 victories last spring. Had it not been for a solid performance by Louisiana-Lafayette, it is hard to tell how far the Bulldogs would have advanced come tournament time. Instead, Mississippi State stopped just short of a trip to the super regional round, leaving the team something to shoot for in 2015. Some may consider last year’s effort to be a disappointment, considering the Bulldogs won 51 games in 2013 and advanced to the College World Series.

2014: 39-24, 18-12
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Cohen

Field Players:
Two of the top three hitters are gone from last year’s team, with only Gavin Collins (.304-1-19) back. Seth Heck (.299, 26 RBI) is also back, but the problem of a lack of strength will rear its ugly head here soon. Mississippi State graduated four of its top six players. That will leave a huge hole in a lineup that struggled for average and for power. Mississippi State hit .275 as a team but only slugged 16 homers. Southeastern Conference baseball has to have some power in it, so the lack of homers is indeed glaring. The good news is Wes Rea, who had five of those homers a year ago, is back for another go-round. Jake Vickerson, who had 11 stolen bases a year ago, is also back for another year of baseball. Just enough is back to encourage everyone who watches the Bulldogs.

Pitchers Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder, who combined for a 13-2 record at the top of the rotation, are both departed. However, Ross Mitchell (8-5, 2.53 ERA) does return for another year and he will be the anchor of the staff. Daniel Fitts (5-3) and Preston Brown (4-3) are also back in 2015. That’s three solid pitchers who figure to see more playing time with Lindgren and Holder gone. That should be enough to help Mississippi State improve in the standings, but there are several promising freshmen on the horizon to give the team a boost.

Who to Watch:
With the number of wins dropping from 51 to 39 and several top players having graduated, it may be time to watch the freshman class. Counting new and redshirt players, Mississippi State has 10 freshmen on the roster and some of them will likely be called upon to make an impact. Just enough is gone from both hitting and pitching that it may be time to call on the first-year players to do some training for the future, or at least get at-bats and innings under their belts.

Final Projection:
The slip in the standings didn’t quite alarm the faithful followers in Starkville, because 39 victories is still a good year. Still, when it comes after 51 wins and a College World Series, there is bound to be some bummed followers. Mississippi State should have enough in the tank to make a good run at 40 victories, but how well the team ultimately does depends on the returning players and their ability to post good numbers. Mississippi State should be among the teams to watch in the SEC once again.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Seth Heck, IF, 204
Hits: Seth Heck, IF, 61
Home Runs: Wes Rea, IF, 5
RBIs: Wes Rea, IF, 41
Runs: Matthew Britton, IF, 31
Stolen Bases: Jake Vickerson, OF, 11

Wins: Ross Mitchell, P, 8
Innings Pitched: Ross Mitchell, P, 110.1
Strikeouts: Trevor Fitts, P, 58
Complete Games: Ross Mitchell, P, 4


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