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Thread: Let's talk about the defending National Champion Baseball Team

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    Senior Member Todd4State's Avatar
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    Let's talk about the defending National Champion Baseball Team

    That would be our very own MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS! I think I speak for all of us when I say that I have enjoyed winning the National Championship to the 10th degree. It feels great to wear National Championship gear with the MS logo on it and now our program has accomplished pretty much everything it can. All we can do is win more National Championships.

    Winning a National Championship is VERY special. There are about 200 teams in D1 NCAA baseball. Only 30 have won a National Championship. Only 15 have repeated. Even getting to the finals is a pretty special deal too. The neat thing for me personally is we really started to transition from a Southern/regional type program to a National power in my lifetime. So this has been 45 years in the making. That's the difference between us and a USC, Arizona State, or a Texas who have been at this a little bit longer than we have. But anyway I have been able to witness this transition for the most part. Don't remember 1979 and I wasn't quite born when Ron Polk took over in 1976. But I do remember 1985 and pretty much everything after that. I survived the Polk II era and Cohen's first two years which were ROUGH. I'm not sure if we would have been able to win a series from Delta State between 2008-2010. But the past few years have really been 10x more enjoyable than those bad years in comparison seeing MSU become the program that we all knew it could and should be and dreamed about in 2009 when Cohen took over. And the great thing is I think we're really only beginning what I think will be looked at on as the greatest era in Mississippi State baseball history. I really believe we have more National Titles coming in the future. It's kind of like we started winning regionals and Super Regionals and once our team figured out how to do that and how to get to Omaha it became something that the program became more accustomed to. Now that we have won a National Title I think the same thing will continue. I think Chris Lemonis is the right coach to do it. He's really so impressive at how he manages the team. They never seem to get too high or too low no matter how the weekend goes or whatever happens in a tournament. He doesn't overwork pitchers. He rarely makes moves that are questionable- which happens to every baseball manager and no one is immune to that. He lets the assistant coaches do their jobs. And he just lets the players play. Dan McDonnell did us a HUGE favor by recommending him. There is no question in my mind that he would have had Indiana in Super Regionals and occasionally the CWS had he stayed there. And I don't think he is looking to leave either. I think he will stay for awhile.

    I think we have three potential first round picks this year on our team. Landon Sims, Logan Tanner, and the only one I have a question about is Kam James but I could see him getting there with a breakout year which is an unknown at this point. But I think he is capable. I also think Kellum Clark has a breakout year this year too. He is draft eligible this year so that is something to watch.

    I think our rotation will be Landon Sims on Friday, Cade Smith on Saturday, and then I think to start the year out we will go with Jackson Fristoe. Sunday is a question and if he struggles I think we will either go with Andrew Walling or Jack Walker based on how they perform in midweek action. Walling also has the ability to be a relief guy and I could see him possibly being used sort of like Houston Harding where if he has success starting midweek we may bring him out of the pen for 3-5 innings and possibly start him in the rotation depending on how others perform. The thing about Walling is he has had command issues and transitioning to starting has been a struggle for him so far. So he may end up being another Paul Younf.
    Walker is just a little advanced for a freshman and he may take the job.

    We will not have a closer as good as Landon was last year. He was about as automatic as you could ever hope for and IMO he was better than Kopps at Arkansas. We just didn't overwork him like Arkansas did to Kopps and I think we're all thankful for that. The rumor is KC Hunt is the favorite to replace him but there are several guys that will be in the running and I think they are all capable. Preston Johnson- who I think will be more of a relief ace multi inning guy but could close some, Parker Stinnett who has had control issues but has improved and had a good summer, Brooks Auger a JUCO who kind of got lost in the shuffle because of COVID, Mikey Tepper who had a good summer, and Stone Simmons who had some good outings for us last year and may factor in the rotation as well. Brandon Smith I'm wondering if he will ever be right but if he is I think he will also factor in for the Sunday spot and a bullpen spot as well.

    Logan Tanner is a Johnny Bench candidate and probably a first round pick. He has power and has been big in the clutch. He's the best catcher I have ever seen at MSU. That throw he made in the Ole Miss series to gun down Gonzalez looked like something you would see from a Yadier Molina, Pudge Rodriguez, or an elite MLB catcher. He is going to shut down the other teams running game which is big in college- especially with some of these mid majors. Luke Hancock will be the primary back-up and will probably catch mostly midweek games.

    Hunter Hines will play either at first base or DH and probably some of both. He's going to be a really good player- but right now he's just a freshman so we'll see if he can weather slumps and things like that. Hancock can play first if we need to give Hines a break, but if I had my preference I would like Hines to play first since he is going to be our guy there in the future. RJ Yeager will play second. Just a different player than Dubrule in that Yeager has more power and Dubrule was more of a contact guy. I felt like Dubrule tried to do too much at times at the plate and pressed some. If Yeager struggles we'll probably go with Davis Meche who hit pretty well in the fall or maybe Tanner Leggett who will be a MSU legend forever no matter what. Great story- and I will fully admit that I thought he was a huge reach. I respect what he has done though and I'm thankful that he is a Bulldog. I think Kam James busts out this year now that he has found a home at third base. He needs to get his average up but he is a guy that could hit 15 plus home runs and steal 20 plus bases while hitting over .300. Lane Forsythe reminds me so much of Matthew Maniscalco. He played really well all year and especially in Omaha. Defensively he is there. I think the bat will gradually come around the older he gets. He really stabilized our defense last year.

    Brad Cumbest will start in LF but we need to see how healthy he is. Wrist injuries always worry me with baseball players. Focusing on baseball is a good move for him. Jess Davis will get a shot at CF but the question is how will he be with the bat? He's either going to be a solid CF or a pinch run defensive replacement. Brayland Skinner was hurt all year long and I think he might surprise some people this year. Kellum Clark will take over RF and he was also ill and not 100% last year. But by the time Omaha rolled around we all saw a glimpse of what he can be. I think he's the next MSU great and I think he busts out this year. Drew McGowan might find his way into the starting lineup if Cumbest and Davis are struggling.

    DH will probably be Hancock, Hines, maybe Logan Tanner when Hancock catches, and some of the other freshmen when they are playing well like Cole Slater and Aaron Downs. Tanner Leggett will be our top pinch hit guy. Our top pinch runners will be Skinner, Davis, and McGowan depending on how the outfield shakes out.

    It's going to be tough to repeat. Everyone is going to be coming after us and there is always the concern about players letting their guard down while everyone pats them on the back. We saw that in 2014 some. That said, making a SR is the minimum expectation and this team has enough talent to repeat. There are some question marks but this team is also fairly well rounded as well. Going back to Omaha again is within reach and continuing to add to the MSU baseball legacy.

    Hail State! Put the Diamond Girls back on the field.

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    Senior Member OLJWales's Avatar
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    Thank you Todd.
    Truth is stranger than fiction because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn?t.
    A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes

    Mark Twain

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    Excellent read! I agree that the future is bright for this baseball team and that Coach Lemonis is the one to get them there. Oh, and like you said, put the Diamond Girls back on the field.

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    Thanks Todd.

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    Senior Member OLJWales's Avatar
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    With the exception of being A Cardinals Fan, Todd's a Righteous Dude.
    Truth is stranger than fiction because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn?t.
    A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes

    Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Catfish's Avatar
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    Very good post Todd.

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    in reality i dont expect a repeat but going to the CWS should be our standard.

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    Great write up Todd now let?s get that repeat!

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    Todd, a few things that I picked up from what I believe is the most recent interview with Lemonis done by Logan Lowery and Bart Gregory include the following:
    I’ll preface by saying that Lowery and Gregory basically asked about who we should expect to see and in what role or position and that was pretty much most of the interview.

    1. He likes Auger, didn’t say a whole lot other than that.
    2. Said he didn’t think Jack Walker gave up a run all fall so I think we can expect him to have a fairly significant role.
    3. Talked about Fristoe and basically said that Fristoe lost some of his aggressiveness last year and needs to attack and be more competitive. Basically, he just needs to get his head right but we knew that.
    4. Mentioned Pico Kohn as a contributor.
    5. Talking about a closer, he mentioned Hunt, Tepper, and a third name that I can’t recall as possibilities and said someone just needs to basically make the jump mentally.
    6. Really likes Slate Alford. Said they knew he could hit but were surprised by how good he is defensively and said that he can play multiple positions b/c of his athleticism. Even said he could play 2B and compared him a little to Foscue in that manner. I think we can expect to see a lot of Alford in the future.
    7. Hines can hit and it sounds like that is what is going to get him in the lineup, probably at 1B or DH. I don’t think he is a gold glove type though from the sound of it.
    8. Skinner is the best defensive OF that Lemonis has ever coached. I don’t think he nor Davis are going to hit much but we expected that.
    9. Cumbest can be very good if he can be consistent and hopefully that comes with playing time but we kind of knew that.
    10. Clark has worked really hard at becoming a good outfielder and Lemonis expects him to do well at the plate if he can keep his approach right.

    They mostly talked about new comers and positions that have been up for grabs (which aren’t many) and young players.

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    Senior Member MoreCowbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd4State View Post
    That would be our very own MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS! I think I speak for all of us when I say that I have enjoyed winning the National Championship to the 10th degree. It feels great to wear National Championship gear with the MS logo on it and now our program has accomplished pretty much everything it can. All we can do is win more National Championships.

    Winning a National Championship is VERY special. There are about 200 teams in D1 NCAA baseball. Only 30 have won a National Championship. Only 15 have repeated. Even getting to the finals is a pretty special deal too. The neat thing for me personally is we really started to transition from a Southern/regional type program to a National power in my lifetime. So this has been 45 years in the making. That's the difference between us and a USC, Arizona State, or a Texas who have been at this a little bit longer than we have. But anyway I have been able to witness this transition for the most part. Don't remember 1979 and I wasn't quite born when Ron Polk took over in 1976. But I do remember 1985 and pretty much everything after that. I survived the Polk II era and Cohen's first two years which were ROUGH. I'm not sure if we would have been able to win a series from Delta State between 2008-2010. But the past few years have really been 10x more enjoyable than those bad years in comparison seeing MSU become the program that we all knew it could and should be and dreamed about in 2009 when Cohen took over. And the great thing is I think we're really only beginning what I think will be looked at on as the greatest era in Mississippi State baseball history. I really believe we have more National Titles coming in the future. It's kind of like we started winning regionals and Super Regionals and once our team figured out how to do that and how to get to Omaha it became something that the program became more accustomed to. Now that we have won a National Title I think the same thing will continue. I think Chris Lemonis is the right coach to do it. He's really so impressive at how he manages the team. They never seem to get too high or too low no matter how the weekend goes or whatever happens in a tournament. He doesn't overwork pitchers. He rarely makes moves that are questionable- which happens to every baseball manager and no one is immune to that. He lets the assistant coaches do their jobs. And he just lets the players play. Dan McDonnell did us a HUGE favor by recommending him. There is no question in my mind that he would have had Indiana in Super Regionals and occasionally the CWS had he stayed there. And I don't think he is looking to leave either. I think he will stay for awhile.

    I think we have three potential first round picks this year on our team. Landon Sims, Logan Tanner, and the only one I have a question about is Kam James but I could see him getting there with a breakout year which is an unknown at this point. But I think he is capable. I also think Kellum Clark has a breakout year this year too. He is draft eligible this year so that is something to watch.

    I think our rotation will be Landon Sims on Friday, Cade Smith on Saturday, and then I think to start the year out we will go with Jackson Fristoe. Sunday is a question and if he struggles I think we will either go with Andrew Walling or Jack Walker based on how they perform in midweek action. Walling also has the ability to be a relief guy and I could see him possibly being used sort of like Houston Harding where if he has success starting midweek we may bring him out of the pen for 3-5 innings and possibly start him in the rotation depending on how others perform. The thing about Walling is he has had command issues and transitioning to starting has been a struggle for him so far. So he may end up being another Paul Younf.
    Walker is just a little advanced for a freshman and he may take the job.

    We will not have a closer as good as Landon was last year. He was about as automatic as you could ever hope for and IMO he was better than Kopps at Arkansas. We just didn't overwork him like Arkansas did to Kopps and I think we're all thankful for that. The rumor is KC Hunt is the favorite to replace him but there are several guys that will be in the running and I think they are all capable. Preston Johnson- who I think will be more of a relief ace multi inning guy but could close some, Parker Stinnett who has had control issues but has improved and had a good summer, Brooks Auger a JUCO who kind of got lost in the shuffle because of COVID, Mikey Tepper who had a good summer, and Stone Simmons who had some good outings for us last year and may factor in the rotation as well. Brandon Smith I'm wondering if he will ever be right but if he is I think he will also factor in for the Sunday spot and a bullpen spot as well.

    Logan Tanner is a Johnny Bench candidate and probably a first round pick. He has power and has been big in the clutch. He's the best catcher I have ever seen at MSU. That throw he made in the Ole Miss series to gun down Gonzalez looked like something you would see from a Yadier Molina, Pudge Rodriguez, or an elite MLB catcher. He is going to shut down the other teams running game which is big in college- especially with some of these mid majors. Luke Hancock will be the primary back-up and will probably catch mostly midweek games.

    Hunter Hines will play either at first base or DH and probably some of both. He's going to be a really good player- but right now he's just a freshman so we'll see if he can weather slumps and things like that. Hancock can play first if we need to give Hines a break, but if I had my preference I would like Hines to play first since he is going to be our guy there in the future. RJ Yeager will play second. Just a different player than Dubrule in that Yeager has more power and Dubrule was more of a contact guy. I felt like Dubrule tried to do too much at times at the plate and pressed some. If Yeager struggles we'll probably go with Davis Meche who hit pretty well in the fall or maybe Tanner Leggett who will be a MSU legend forever no matter what. Great story- and I will fully admit that I thought he was a huge reach. I respect what he has done though and I'm thankful that he is a Bulldog. I think Kam James busts out this year now that he has found a home at third base. He needs to get his average up but he is a guy that could hit 15 plus home runs and steal 20 plus bases while hitting over .300. Lane Forsythe reminds me so much of Matthew Maniscalco. He played really well all year and especially in Omaha. Defensively he is there. I think the bat will gradually come around the older he gets. He really stabilized our defense last year.

    Brad Cumbest will start in LF but we need to see how healthy he is. Wrist injuries always worry me with baseball players. Focusing on baseball is a good move for him. Jess Davis will get a shot at CF but the question is how will he be with the bat? He's either going to be a solid CF or a pinch run defensive replacement. Brayland Skinner was hurt all year long and I think he might surprise some people this year. Kellum Clark will take over RF and he was also ill and not 100% last year. But by the time Omaha rolled around we all saw a glimpse of what he can be. I think he's the next MSU great and I think he busts out this year. Drew McGowan might find his way into the starting lineup if Cumbest and Davis are struggling.

    DH will probably be Hancock, Hines, maybe Logan Tanner when Hancock catches, and some of the other freshmen when they are playing well like Cole Slater and Aaron Downs. Tanner Leggett will be our top pinch hit guy. Our top pinch runners will be Skinner, Davis, and McGowan depending on how the outfield shakes out.

    It's going to be tough to repeat. Everyone is going to be coming after us and there is always the concern about players letting their guard down while everyone pats them on the back. We saw that in 2014 some. That said, making a SR is the minimum expectation and this team has enough talent to repeat. There are some question marks but this team is also fairly well rounded as well. Going back to Omaha again is within reach and continuing to add to the MSU baseball legacy.

    Hail State! Put the Diamond Girls back on the field.
    Great post my man thanks

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    Great post Todd. So Davis Meche is still here? For some reason I thought he transferred.

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    Quote Originally Posted by somebodyshotmypaw View Post
    Great post Todd. So Davis Meche is still here? For some reason I thought he transferred.
    According to his Twitter, he is still a Dawg. Hail State!

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    Senior Member BrunswickDawg's Avatar
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    There's one of those classic 800 page novels from T4S!! Been a while.

    Great points and terrific summary of where we are. As for the elephant in the room - repeating. It is difficult. Possibly the hardest thing in all sports. The biggest thing we have going for us is leadership - both players and coaches. Lemo had been thinking about repeating and how to do it since the day after we won. On field, we have established a hard nose, never say die approach that has been handed down team to team since 2016. Importantly, it's handed down from Alpha Dawg to Alpha Dawg. Rooker > Mangum/McNamee > TA >>>
    And now I think LoTan leads this year and hands it off to Kellum Clark for '23.

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    Quote Originally Posted by somebodyshotmypaw View Post
    Great post Todd. So Davis Meche is still here? For some reason I thought he transferred.
    I think you might be referring to Kyte McDonald.
    "The QB and the receiver weren't on the same page there, but hey its only week eleven". (Jack Cristil)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrunswickDawg View Post
    There's one of those classic 800 page novels from T4S!! Been a while.

    Great points and terrific summary of where we are. As for the elephant in the room - repeating. It is difficult. Possibly the hardest thing in all sports. The biggest thing we have going for us is leadership - both players and coaches. Lemo had been thinking about repeating and how to do it since the day after we won. On field, we have established a hard nose, never say die approach that has been handed down team to team since 2016. Importantly, it's handed down from Alpha Dawg to Alpha Dawg. Rooker > Mangum/McNamee > TA >>>
    And now I think LoTan leads this year and hands it off to Kellum Clark for '23.
    Kellum is draft eligible this year. So it's possible he's not back in 23

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    Why does landon have to be a starter? why can't he just develop into the best reliever/closer he could possibly be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by calidawg View Post
    Why does landon have to be a starter? why can't he just develop into the best reliever/closer he could possibly be?
    I think he wants to be a starter at the next level, or at least show scouts he's capable, and Lemonis is going to give him that opportunity. That being said, I wonder what happens if he starts running out of gas in the 4th-5th, and we are having trouble closing out games....would they consider a mid-year move back to closer if some of the young arms are stepping up in the starter roles? Hopefully we won't need it, but it's probably a good thing to have that option if needed.

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    Who are we thinking will be our top 4-5 guys in the lineup? Weird not having Rowdey and TA up there

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    If Sims can be a legit Friday guy, he's more valuable there, that's why you make that move.

    He'll have to dial back some of the intensity and probably a little velocity to start, but no reason he can't do that and be a starter like anyone else.

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    Senior Member smootness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CadaverDawg View Post
    Who are we thinking will be our top 4-5 guys in the lineup? Weird not having Rowdey and TA up there
    I think Tanner, James, and Hancock are obvious. Beyond that, we'll see who performs. I think Clark is a decent bet and then maybe Yeager if he can put up a good OBP.

    I'd be good with:
    Hancock
    Yeager
    Tanner
    James
    Clark

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