State hit 30 home runs last year, but 23 of them came from two players (Renfroe and Rea) with Renfroe hitting 16 of them. This team doesn’t lack guys with power, but most of them are young: Reid Humphreys, Daniel Garner, etc. Wes Rea is likely going to be the only legit power threat to come close to 10 HR. Keep in mind that while he only had seven last year he missed a month of the season.
As I mentioned above, three of the Bulldogs top five hitters are gone: Frazier, Renfroe and Frost. Alex Detz returns and I’d place my money that he’ll be at or near the top for both batting average and on-base percentage this year. Brett Pirtle was 4th last year with a .310 average, doing that after struggling in non-conference play then hitting .336 in the SEC – if he could get a full season of swinging the bat well I’d expect him to be up around .340-.350. Wes Rea is a solid hitter as well who could be over .300, and C.T. Bradford has done it before. Jake Vickerson’s speed makes him a candidate for a hit every time up, and I believe Demarcus Henderson may be poised for a breakout senior season.
Time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Coach Cohen reverts back to his 2012 bunting philosophy a little bit. He seemingly bunted a guy over every time a runner got on with less than two outs. That team didn’t have much power like this one may not either. But if guys like Garner and Humphreys can swing a big stick that may not be the case and Cohen may play things more like he did in 2013.
Detz, Britton, Henderson, Bradford, Vickerson, Robson, Armstrong and Pirtle are all singles hitters with the occasional double. It’s possible one of these guys could get a hold of one like they have in the past but those are few and far between. But these players do a good job of getting on base – Detz (.449) and Pirtle (.408) were excellent in that regard last year.
I wouldn’t look for this year’s offense to be better than 2013, but it could potentially be just as good. There are several (4-5) pieces that will certainly have to step up to replace the production lost with Frazier and Renfroe. This team may look swipe a number of bases and manufacture runs by putting pressure on the defense rather than swinging for the gap and the fence.
Topics: Mississippi State Bulldogs