February 11, 2013
Mississippi State pitching preview
Last season Mississippi State sported the lowest earned run average in the Southeastern Conference and the second lowest in the nation.
The Bulldogs pitching staff compiled a 2.58 ERA en route to a 40-24 record, winning the SEC Tournament and advancing to a NCAA Regional.
Of course, MSU also achieved all of that behind the league's top hurler in Chris Stratton, who was drafted 20th overall by the San Francisco Giants. The consensus All-American and SEC Pitcher of the Year went 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA, 127 strikeouts and only 25 walks in 109.2 innings of work.
Losing Stratton along with reliever Caleb Reed, who ate up 58.1 innings and collected nine saves out of the bullpen, and southpaw Nick Routt (who was drafted by the Reds) are definite big blows to the Diamond Dogs staff. But Mississippi State has a chance to be even deeper on the mound this season.
John Cohen's squad has 19 pitchers listed on his roster as well as three more dual position players who will likely also see action on the bump.
"Based on our pitching depth, I think that's the most exciting thing about our club," Cohen said.
Cohen, along with pitching coach Butch Thompson, hope to settle in on their starting rotation early on in non-conference action. The Bulldogs return nine pitchers who started games last season.
"Early in the year you're going to get 80 or 90 pitches out of somebody in a start," Cohen said. "You're going to have to cobble the whole thing together a little bit. We have five or six candidates that we really like."
Much of the focus will be centered around which hurlers will makeup the weekend rotation. Senior right-hander Kendall Graveman is MSU's only mainstay in that role which means some decisions will have to be made before conference play begins on March 15.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial