Jacob Lindgren should win the Ferris Trophy


May 25, 2013; Hoover, AL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs pitcher Jacob Lindgren (21) pitches against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second inning of the SEC baseball tournament at the Hoover Met. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Ross Mitchell is one of the best pitchers to ever wear Maroon and White. There’s no question about that. His career accomplishments were spelled out beautifully yesterday by Croom Diaries. There is only one problem. Lindgren has been our best pitcher.

If I were giving an award for the best pitcher in all of college baseball for the past three seasons, I’d give the award to Ross Mitchell. He has been stellar. Mitchell will in all likelihood be the all time winningest pitcher in Mississippi State history. The problem is that this isn’t a life time achievement award. This is for the best player in the state of Mississippi for the current season. And no one has been as filthy as Jacob Lindgren.

The biggest argument for Ross Mitchell is that he wins ball games. He doesn’t do it with flash or style, he just wins. The problem with using this argument is that Ellis of Ole Miss has won more. Ellis is 9-0 and and Mitchell is 8-4. To make matters worse, if you are using the Mitchell just wins ball games argument for this year, Mitchell got most of his wins on Saturday, not Friday. Ellis was the Ole Miss Friday night starter, and was often matched up against the other teams best pitcher. Mitchell often went up against the second best pitcher for the other team and didn’t always get the victory. If we want to tout a Mississippi State guy for the award, Mitchell is going to lose the argument to Ellis.

Another problem with the Mitchell just wins argument, is that in Mitchell’s two most important starts of the season, we lost. He pitched well against LSU, but an error that he made in that game cost us the two runs we gave up and lost the game. After that, he gets shelled against Ole Miss and lost that start as well. In the biggest games of the season for Mississippi State, he was unable to win.

Now, I don’t want this to sound like I don’t think Mitchell is a good pitcher. I think he will go down as a legend. When you start putting up his career numbers, they are eye popping. And if this was given for a great career, he is the easy choice. The problem is that he was more deserving of the honor last year. In 2013, Hunter Renfroe completely tore up the NCAA and won the award. So, what makes Lindgren more deserving than Mitchell?

To start with, if you want to say someone is the best, they will completely dominate and overwhelm their opponent. And when you look up dominant in the dictionary, there should be a pitcher of Jacob Lindgren. Lindgren has recorded 141 outs this year. Of those 141, 87 have been strikeouts. He is averaging nearly two strikeout an inning. That’s almost unheard of. What makes that so important is just how valuable a strikeout is to a pitcher. A strikeout prevents the offense from moving a runner over or allowing the hitter to reach on an error. There have been so many times when we absolutely had to have a strikeout, and when we did, Cohen turned to Lindgren. He was so adept at getting strikeouts, he led the team in that category. The next closest person was Trevor Fitts who  had 32 less strikeouts than Lindgren, but pitched in 15 more innings. Lindgren’s stuff is so filthy, his own catchers couldn’t catch it. He had 15 wild pitches, some of which were his fault, but many were a result of Gavin Collins not being very capable of keeping the ball in front of him.

Another reason he was so dominant was base runners simply didn’t get on base. He had a WHIP of .87. He gave up less than one hit and walk combined each inning. Hitters were only able to accumulate a .123 batting average against Jacob Lindgren. Hitters struggled to just find any way to get on base, and if you can’t get on base, you can’t score.

We have two great candidates for the Ferris Trophy, and I sincerely hope one of them wins it. I’d love to see Ross get rewarded for the great career that he has had at Mississippi State. But if we are trying to award the best baseball player in the state this year, Lindgren is the guy.