If the Mississippi State baseball team wants to be successful in 2016, it will have to match up with the best starters in the SEC.
The Mississippi State baseball team has only had one dominant starter since John Cohen took over the team. That starter was Chris Stratton in 2012. After two underwhelming seasons as a freshman and sophomore, Stratton put it all together in his junior season and was one of the best pitchers in all of college baseball during the 2012 season.
From all we have read and seen, Dakota Hudson has a chance to repeat the feat in 2016. Hudson hasn’t done much his first two seasons, but he has been on most publications’ lists as a First or Second Team Preseason All-American. He’ll headline a group that needs to go deep into games if the Bulldogs want to have success.
The Bulldogs didn’t lose much in terms of pitching, but they did lose some. Here are the pitchers who were primarily used as starters that aren’t retunring in 2016.
- Lucas Laster: 4-4 Record, 3.62 ERA, 48 Strikeouts in 69.2 Innings Pitched
- Preston Brwon: 5-8 Record, 4.77 ERA, 54 Strikeouts in 54.2 Innings Pitched
- Jesse McCord: 1-0 Record, 8.31 ERA, 8.2 innings Pitched
The only one of these three players who graduated was Lucas Laster. Preston Brown gave up his final two seasons of eligibility to pursue medical school, and Jesse McCord suffered a season ending injury and transferred to a JUCO. The belief is he will come back to the Bulldogs after he completes his time at the JUCO level.
- Austin Sexton: 4-4 Record, 3.77 ERA, 61 Strikeouts in 76.1 Innings Pitched
- Dakota Hudson: 1-1 Record, 4.32 ERA, 26 Strikeouts in 16.2 Innings Pitched
- Daniel Brown: 1-0 Record, 4.87 ERA, 28 Strikeouts in 20.1 Innings Pitched
Austin Sexton was the most consistent starter on the team in 2015. He bailed the Bulldogs out on a few occasions and kept a really bad season from becoming an even further disaster. Dakota Hudson is being billed as this season’s ace, as we already mentioned. Hudson has shown in summer league ball he can compete at the highest level, it’s just a matter of doing it for the Mississippi State baseball team this spring. Daniel Brown is also pegged to join the rotation after a year in the bullpen.
The only two players who appear to be locks for a weekend starting role are Hudson and Sexton. The other weekend spot and the midweek starter roles are much more up in the air.
Daniel Brown would be the favorite for the third spot on the weekend rotation. Vance Tatum will also be considered as well. One of these guys will be in there because Johnson is not going to want to have a weekend rotation that only features right-handed pitchers.
The early nominees for the midweek rotation are a couple of freshmen. Ethan Small and Noah Hughes will be the frontrunners with Kyle Breaux and Jared Padgett getting some consideration as well.
The biggest question facing the starting rotation this season is not about talent. The Mississippi State baseball starting rotation has plenty of talent to spare. The questions will be can this group loaded with potential finally live up to what many have expected of them since they arrived on campus.