Determining the SEC Roster

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Jun 25, 2013; Omaha, NE, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach John Cohen (11) reacts in the dugout after game 2 of the College World Series finals against the UCLA Bruins at TD Ameritrade Park. UCLA defeated Mississippi State 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

SEC play starts this weekend and with it the roster must be trimmed from 35 to 27. So that means some guys who have been getting playing time will not be eligible to see the field in SEC games. Who will it be?

Last year Coach Cohen went with 16 position players and 11 pitchers. In 2012 and 2011 it was 14 position players and 13 pitchers.

So far, 17 position players and 15 pitchers have been used this year. We can go ahead and put a line through

John Marc Shelly’

s name since he had season-ending surgery so that makes 14 pitchers. 31 players but only 17 spots.

Position Players

How many will Cohen go with? It’s hard enough to get just eliminate one of the 17, but will he take away as many as three?

Starters we know will be there:

1. Wes Rea
2. Brett Pirtle
3. Seth Heck
4. Alex Detz
5. Jake Vickerson
6. C.T. Bradford
7. Demarcus Henderson

Platoon / good backups we know will be there:

8. Gavin Collins
9. Matthew Britton
10. Derrick Armstrong
11. Cody Brown
12. Daniel Garner
13. Reid Humphreys

That leaves four guys:

  • Kyle Hann
  • Jacob Robson
  • Zach Randolph
  • Cody Walker

Two of those guys are catchers so at least one them is going to be on the SEC roster. Whether it’s Walker or Randolph that makes 14.

Pitchers

Your guarantees:

1. Johnathan Holder
2. Ross Mitchell
3. Jacob Lindgren
4. Trevor Fitts
5. Ben Bracewell

98% sure:

6. Preston Brown
7. Will Cox
8. Myles Gentry
9. Brandon Woodruff
10. Dakota Hudson

That leaves four pitchers:

  • Austin Sexton
  • Zac Houston
  • Vance Tatum
  • Lucas Laster

All of those guys are true freshman. Laster and Tatum have being a LHP on their side, and with this staff only have two other lefties (Mitchell and Lindgren) I’d bet one of them, probably Tatum, will make the SEC roster….so that makes 11 pitchers.

So we’ve got 14 position players we pretty much know will be on the roster and 11 pitchers. That makes 25, so only two more to go.

Ordinarily it would be hard to say that we should carry three catchers, but this is a pretty unusual situation as all three guys have had pretty significant playing time. My guess is Zach Randolph would be the odd man out but he is the best hitter of the group and that may keep him in there.

Kyle Hann hasn’t done much this year, which is disappointing because he had a solid summer. What is working in Hann’s favor is the lack of infield depth – as currently listed only Reid Humphreys and Matthew Britton are infield backups, and Humphreys is likely only suited to play 3B right now. I think Hann is in.

Unfortunately Jacob Robson may be the odd man out.  He is a talented player but the outfield is loaded with them. You’d like to at least have his speed on the bench for a pinch running opportunity but there again we’ll always have at least two outfielders on the bench (barring them DHing) and they all have plus speed.

For sure I think at least 15 position players will make the SEC roster, possibly 16 if Cohen carries three catchers. If that’s the case then the 11 pitchers listed above will do the trick. If it’s only 15 position guys then we need one more pitcher.

That guy would be Austin Sexton. He’s a solid pitcher who will likely be a weekend starter in the future. There are plenty of bullpen arms this year so he may not be needed, but I’ll certainly take him. Zac Houston and Lucas Laster may have to wait for their turn next year much like Preston Brown and John Marc Shelly did last year.

These decisions keep getting tougher every year as the roster gets better and better. There are guys who redshirted this year who are rock solid ballplayers as well. Once all the talent on this team comes together we’ll be really good.