Mississippi State baseball recently finished up their fall practices and scrimmages, so we’ll be chatting with head coach John Cohen at 4:30 this afternoon to get his thoughts and assessments on the fall, as well as a look-ahead to the 2014 season beginning on Valentine’s Day.
Live updates to follow.
“I think we had a very productive fall,” Cohen says.
Says players put a lot of effort into strength and conditioning, which is important, also said he got leadership he wanted from veterans and big performances he wanted from new and young players.
Healthwise, Cohen says most of the guys are moving on like they wanted.
On Brandon Woodruff, “His last three outings of the fall were just phenomenal, which is what we wanted from him.”
Said he started things slowly with Woodruff and it worked out well.
On the open catcher position, “it’s amazing, because all four of those guys have something tremendous to offer.”
Says Daniel Garner was one of best offensive players in the fall, Cody Walker has “incredible arm strength” and swung the bat well, then says Zach Randolph did the best as far as understanding and working with pitchers, as well as consistency.
Cohen says the competition will go strong in January and February, adding, “It’s probably gonna be more than one guy.”
Cohen says Jacob Lindgren will start as reliever, says it “could be like Chad Girodo” was this past season for MSU. The key, he says, is for Lindgren to keep command and arm talent going in sync, says he’s a very special pitcher.
Asked about the infield – second and short, particularly – first guy Cohen goes to is Seth Heck, who he says has done a good job integrating with returners.
Next guy Cohen talked about is Matthew Britton, saying he’s made big strides, talked a bit about Kyle Hann, as well.
All those beyond the incumbent Brett Pirtle, who Cohen likes both as player and leader.
One thing Cohen likes a lot about this team is growth and development, saying experience means more than many realize.
“One of the many things I learned from Coach Polk is, your experience level rivals your talent.”
Cohen was asked about the team captains – Wes Rea and Ben Bracewell – said there were a lot of other guys who deserving, as well as receiving of votes. Mentioned Trevor Fitts as someone who got a lot of votes, then Demarcus Henderson, too, saying he’s transformed more than maybe anyone he’s seen as a coach over his four years at State.
“This is the fastest club I’ve ever coached,” Cohen says. “We had eight kids run the 60-yard-dash in 6.6 or lower, which in baseball circles is pretty good.”
Cohen likes the makeup of the team and how it fits the park, having guys who can get hits, get on base, move quickly once they’re there and get around the infield and outfield on defense.
Talking now about freshman Reid Humphreys, who has been working at third base with Alex Detz. Cohen says Detz told him Humphreys “might end up the best player in MSU history.”
On the future of Dudy Noble, Cohen says he trusts administration and that some designs he’s seen are “really, really cool.”
“We all know we have to do something, but how do we go about that. You don’t want to do something you’re gonna regret later on.”