#28 Mississippi State Baseball 2017 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
Mississippi State Logo
Following a trip to the Super Regionals, Mississippi State has a little rebuilding to do. It starts at the top where the Bulldogs brought in Andy Cannizaro to lead the team. Coach Cannizaro has limited experience coaching at the collegiate level. He was the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU since 2014. Mississippi State should be in good shape for this year and for the future under Coach Cannizaro. For now, the Bulldogs will rely on a couple proven hitters. Jake Mangum had a superb freshman campaign, hitting .408 with a dozen doubles, three triples and one homerun. His ability to get on base will help fellow outfielder Brent Rooker boost his already impressive RBI total. Rooker drove in a team high 54 runs and hit 11 homeruns as a sophomore and will likely be the team’s top source of power once again in 2017.
2016: 44-18-1, 21-9
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Andy Cannizaro
Key Departed Players:
Dakota Hudson, P, 2.55 ERA, 113.0 IP, 115 SO
Austin Sexton, P, 3.56 ERA, 101.0 IP, 98 SO
Nathaniel Lowe, .348 BA, 5 HR, 49 RBI
Jack Kruger, .344 BA, 8 HR, 40 RBI
Jacob Robson, .321 BA, 1 HR, 24 RBI
Reid Humphreys, .310 BA, 5 HR, 44 RBI
Gavin Collins, .302 BA, 10 HR, 39 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Konnor Pilkington, P, 2.08 ERA, 43.1 IP, 42 SO
Ryan Rigby, P, 2.25 ERA, 43.0 IP, 43 SO
Jake Mangum, OF, .408 BA, 1 HR, 28 RBI
Brent Rooker, OF, .324 BA, 11 HR, 54 RBI
This will be an interesting season for Mississippi State. Coach Cannizaro will have to rely on some newcomers to pull their weight, but there are quite a few very talented options. There are plenty of holes to fill, but Mississippi State can usually fill those holes. On the mound, the most experienced options are Konnor Pilkington and Ryan Rigby. Pilkington made 11 starts as a freshman last season and finished the season with an impressive 2.08 ERA. He only threw 43.1 innings, but he should be ready for a much bigger workload now. Rigby, a 5-11 junior, made 20 appearances out of the bullpen and posted a 2.25 ERA. Blake Smith and Keegan James should find more innings as well, but there will be plenty of competition. While this may be a relatively young team, the talent is there for the Bulldogs to make some noise in the tough SEC.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament