#5 Mississippi State Baseball 2014 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
#5 Mississippi State Baseball 2014 Preview
Mississippi State Team Page


Mississippi State started off last season on a good note, winning its first 17 games and rode that early success to a 51-20 record.  The Bulldogs made it all the way to the finals of the College World Series, but fell to the UCLA Bruins.  Mississippi State had some top players get picked high in the draft following that success, but a solid group of returnees is back and a highly ranked recruiting class enters this season, creating high expectations for the Bulldogs.

2013: 51-20, 16-14
2013 Postseason: CWS
Coach: John Cohen

Field Players:
Stars Adam Frazier and Hunter Renfroe are gone, but Mississippi State returns a lot of experience from last year’s lineup. A trio of infielders leads the group of returnees.  Alex Detz and Brett Pirtle both hit over .300 and added 31 and 33 RBIs, respectively.  Detz had great discipline at the plate, drawing 53 walks for a .449 on base percentage, while Pirtle was a perfect nine-for-nine in stolen base attempts.  Wes Rea completes the trio and gives the Bulldogs a power bat for the middle of the lineup.  Rea hit .291 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs last season.  C.T. Bradford and Demarcus Henderson return in the outfield for their senior seasons.  Bradford hit .281 with 27 RBIs and eight stolen bases last year and Henderson had a .274 average with 23 RBIs.  Derrick Armstrong and Jacob Robson are both candidates to see time in the outfield.  Armstrong transferred in from a junior college last year and hit .266 in 39 games, while Robson hit .206 with 16 RBIs in 47 games as a freshman.  Matthew Britton should be the starting shortstop for the Bulldogs.  He hit .250 in 20 games while backing up Frazier in 2013.  Behind the plate, Daniel Garner and Gavin Collins should see the majority of the time. Garner redshirted last year as a freshman and Collins is a highly touted recruit out of California.  Reid Humphreys could see time in the infield as a freshman and outfield recruits Jake Vickerson and Joey Swinarski should be in the mix as well.

The bullpen leads the way for the Bulldogs.  Ross Mitchell was dominant in his long relief role and Jonathon Holder provided stability at the back end of the bullpen.  Mitchell was 13-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 34 games out of the pen and Holder had 21 saves and a 1.65 ERA in 34 games.  Holder held batters to a .175 batting average on the year.  Joining them will be Ben Bracewell.  Bracewell was 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA in 21 appearances.  Will Cox and Myles Gentry will also be back.  Cox was 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in 18 games and Gentry posted a 3.65 ERA, going 4-1 in 23 appearances. Jacob Lindgren should lead the starters after starting 14 games a year ago.  He was 4-3 with a 4.18 ERA in those starts.  Brandon Woodruff and Trevor Fitts are two other players who should start.  Woodruff started six games last year and went 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA, while Fitts appeared in 18 games, including six starts, and went 0-1 with a 3.03 ERA.  There are also several newcomers who could contribute.  Dakota Hudson could be a starter after turning down a draft selection from the Texas Rangers.  Paul Young is a junior college transfer who was a 21st round pick in last June’s draft and Humphreys could also see time on the mound after being named the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year.

Who to Watch:
Daniel Garner should be a regular contributor in his redshirt freshman season.  Garner is a top candidate to see playing time as the catcher or designated hitter. He was a Louisville Slugger All-American in high school after hitting .403 with six home runs and 39 RBIs as a senior.  With both of last year’s catchers and the designated hitters gone, Garner should get a chance to step in and add some production to the lineup.  He could help offset the loss of both Frazier and Renfroe in the lineup.

Final Projection:
Last season’s national runner-up finish has expectations high in Starkville. The Bulldogs have all the talent to be just as good in 2014.  The talent and experience in the bullpen coupled with a lot of production back in the lineup bodes well for Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs have a relatively easy schedule early and should rack up the wins and that moment could lead to a return trip to Omaha in 2014.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: C.T. Bradford, OF, 260
Hits: Alex Detz, IF, 76
Home Runs: Wes Rea, IF, 7
RBIs: Wes Rea, IF, 40
Runs: C.T. Bradford, C, 44
Stolen Bases: Alex Detz, IF, 9

Wins: Ross Mitchell, P, 13
Innings Pitched: Ross Mitchell, P, 94
Strikeouts: Jonathon Holder, P, 90
Saves: Jonathon Holder, P, 21

Madness 2014 Baseball Draft Rankings:
#74 Brandon Woodruff
#138 Jonathon Holder


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