Butch Thompson Talks About Evan Mitchell

Mississippi State pitching coach Butch Thompson discusses what he hopes to see from freshman righthanded pitcher Evan Mitchell this summer as well as heading into next spring.

During his next two to three years at Mississippi State where do you see Evan Mitchell fitting on this pitching staff? Do you see him as a Friday, Saturday or Sunday guy in SEC action?
"I see his stuff as that. He'll go play this summer and then come back and have another good fall. I want all of our guys to have a sense in what role they will play on the staff. Things changed from this time last year to this season. The optimism for certain guys was pretty high, then this year they changed, just like they do on a lot of big league clubs. But it would be nice to solidify (the staff) and I would think Evan would be right up there at the top in helping to solidify something in the fall."

He weighs 174 pounds right now. What weight would you like to see him pitch at?
"He's got a slender type body so I'm not sure he's going to be able to put 20 more pounds on. But if he could add another 10 pounds of muscle between now and when we start next year I think that would be realistic for him. But I'm more into the body composition that he has got going than I am in the actual weight.

"And really it's more pitchability. He's still got some sequence work to do. If a guy is in a taking move, then he will get behind in the count. We still have to shove the ball in the strikezone and he's got to continue trusting his stuff because it's really good. He's also got to develop a third pitch."

He throws a curveball, a changeup a little and a fastball. His fastball is a two-seam fastball, correct?
"Yes, all two-seam. I think that is why he gives lefthanders fits. His two-seam action is always going down and away from them, which makes it a tough pitch for lefthanders."

What do you want him to specifically work on during the summer?
"We want him to throw the changeup a lot. That is something that we will encourage him to do. If he gets behind in the count, then we want him to shape it up. I watched a lot of the west coast teams. When they get behind in the count they would throw the same side changeup. You would see a righthanded pitcher throw a changeup to a righthanded hitter. You don't see that as much here."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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