This pitching staff is unreal. It’s an embarrassment of riches, honestly. Butch Thompson has lead MSU to a team ERA of 2.79 or better in each of the past two years and it looks to keep getting better in 2014. We’ll look at the starting rotation here, and then the bullpen at 3:00.
- Brandon Woodruff
- Trevor Fitts
- Ben Bracewell
- Dakota Hudson
- Austin Sexton
Based on what we’ve seen so far and are likely to expect, that is likely your starting rotation for this weekend and the midweek game vs. Memphis. But State has so many guys who could potentially start there are a myriad of directions to go, and it will make the competition that much more intense. One thing about that group is there is no lefty, but all indications are Jacob Lindgren will be coming out of the bullpen.
Woodruff is the ace. He is a supreme talent who was bothered by arm troubles from day one last year. He’s in his junior season and ready to make his statement in what is likely his last year as a Bulldog. If he can stay healthy I expect him to be the Friday night starter all year.
Fitts has been on a roll ever since he joined the rotation during the postseason last year. He will battle to keep his spot here. He’s a very good pitcher, but the question may be are some of the younger guys even better?
Ben Bracewell is a 5th year senior who has battled through injury for much of his time at MSU. I thought he would replace Caleb Reed as our closer but Johnathan Holder came into his own in 2012 leaving Bracewell as a set-up man last year, and he’ll try his hand at starting again this year. Ben has five career starts.
Dakota Hudson and Austin Sexton are big time prospects who will have to prove if they are ready to be a starter, and potentially a weekend starter. Many expect Hudson to take the Sunday role but Sexton has come on strong in the preseason and will push for time.
The opening weekend rotation couldn’t mean less really. Cohen and Thompson will mold these starters until they find what works. Last year’s first couple of weekends featured Lindgren, E. Mitchell, Graveman, Cox and Woodruff. By SEC play it was Pollorena, Graveman and Lindgren and during the playoff run it was just Graveman and Fitts. Their first couple of starts will be piggy-backed going only 3-4 innings a piece with two pitchers to find out who will stand out. Remember that neither Chris Stratton or Luis Pollorena made their first start until SEC play over the last two years.
Other candidates for starting:
- Jacob Lindgren – 16 career starts, need a LHP?
- Will Cox – 10 career starts
- Paul Young – needs to return from injury
- Preston Brown
- Ross Mitchell – need a LHP? he’s pitched long innings before