Diamond Dawg's Unsung Hero: Mitch Slauter


Junior catcher Mitch Slauter has been a integral part of the Bulldogs success this year. His statistics don’t jump off the page, but the value he provides to the team cannot be measured that way.

Slauter is in his first year at State, coming from Barton Community College in Kansas. He has played in all 61 of MSU’s games – starting 59 of them. In a season where the Diamond Dawgs have been hampered by injuries and missed games, Slauter has been there for every game at the sport’s most demanding position. In the mid-day Alabama sun, he caught every pitch for six straight days in the SEC Tournament… quite a performance. Here is what John Cohen had to say about his catcher…

"We had to bring in a junior college catcher that had some experience. Butch Thompson came to me and told me he thought that he had the guy. I asked if he had seen him play. He said, ‘No, but I have talked to him on the phone and I am going to go watch him play.’  When he came back from seeing Mitch play, he said, ‘He is our guy.’ He said that he is not going to be the strongest arm in the conference, he is not going to be the best-hitting catcher in the SEC. What he has is an imagination. He has a brilliant baseball mind, and an incredibly high baseball IQ to be able to break down the game. I almost wish that everyone could make a mound visit and listen to the way he breaks down the guys walking to the plate. It’s to the point now that when I make a mound visit, I say, ‘OK, Mitch, tell me what you got.’ He breaks it down and I will add some things to it, usually not a tremendous amount extra. He is an extraordinary young man. And then you couple that with his ability to will somebody, or to coach them into the strike ball with a fastball, breaking ball, with movement. He understands mechanics of every single one of our guys on the mound. It is special. This is not being critical of any of our catchers. I think that we have two other catchers that can play for a lot of people. It is just hard to take a guy out of a game who is like an extension of your coaching staff. We can’t win the Southeastern Conference Tournament, six days, without Mitch behind the plate. I don’t care if he gets a hit. What he does for our club you just can’t measure."

Those remarks speak pretty highly of Slauter. Considering how much work he puts into his craft, and how well he has done with his most important job: handling (a remarkable) pitching staff, it’s a wonder how he’s been able to hit .225. But still, he has come up with some big hits throughout the year. Even in the SEC Tournament he scored the winning runs in both games against LSU…he also had 4 hits in his last 7 at-bats of the SEC Tourney – getting stronger when you’d think he’d be wearing down.

Mitch Slauter has been a solid player all year for Mississippi State. He’ll be called upon again this weekend during the Regionals to continue playing well behind the plate.