What Are We Gonna Do at Catcher?


Nick Ammirati and Mitch Slauter caught the MSU pitching staff for two years without any trouble. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch and Ammo are perplexed. What is with our catchers?

Zach Randolph can’t throw anybody out.

Gavin Collins can’t keep it in front of him.

Cody Walker can’t hit.

What do we do? Is Cohen going to continue to make a complete battery change every other game? Is it worth sacrificing our 2nd leading hitter (Collins, .327) to ensure balls in the dirt are blocked?

Cody Walker had three SEC at-bats heading into the Tennessee series, but he got five of them last weekend…including a walk-off walk on Sunday. Are we going to use him more? He appears to be the best all-around defensive catcher (he actually hit really well in fall ball).

Gavin Collins has seven passed balls (plus two catcher’s interference’s) but that’s being nice. Jacob Lindgren has been tagged with 13 wild pitches, and Trevor Fitts with 11….there’s just no reason to have that many. Keeping the ball in front of you is just a job a catcher has to do whether it’s in the dirt or not.

But Gavin is hitting .351 in SEC play. He’s been at cleanup for most games recently. He also has the best slugging percentage on the team and an .812 OPS. His bat is essential to this lineup.

Defensively, what Collins has lacked in blocking balls he’s made up for (somewhat) with his incredible arm. He’s thrown out 11 base runners this year – which for a Freshman is really good.

Zach Randolph on the other hand has thrown out two runners. His 8.6% pales in comparison to Collins’ 33%. But Zach can stay in front of the ball…..most of the time. He’s a mediocre hitter at .250 (.214 in SEC play) with no power to speak of; he has 0 extra base hits this year.

Cody Walker has done well behind the plate in limited action. Coach Cohen has been impressed with his workouts and we may even see him start vs. Alabama. But is his bat going to be a detriment? Walker is hitting .217 on the year in 23 at-bats. If we’re conceding third base for defense on a team that already struggles offensively, can we afford catcher as well?

What to do?

I think Gavin Collins has to be in the lineup. He needs to be in there every single day. Whether that’s C or DH I don’t know, but he’s too good of a hitter to leave him out. If we were a better offensive team then it might be different, but you can’t afford to take your cleanup hitter out because of defense when the DH is available.

But putting him at DH gives you another issue – you lose Reid Humphreys


Jake Vickerson

at DH. Wait, nevermind, Cohen won’t stick to Reid, he’s going to start Jake who is hitting a whopping .213 in the SEC so why not just put Collins at DH. Two fold benefit: we keep him in the lineup and Vickerson out!

I think I’d start Walker at C. Hit him 8th or 9th in the lineup and just concede that once the bottom of the order is up there isn’t going to be really really hard to get anything going offensively. But it’s better than starting Collins at catcher for him only to get one AB before he’s yanked for not being able to block a slider.