Lane Burroughs Talks MSU Catchers/Outfielders

In part-two of a four-part series with the Mississippi State baseball coaches, Gene's Page talks with assistant coach Lane Burroughs about the MSU catchers and a few of the outfielders, a position that he coaches along with Nick Mingione.

How about talking about the catchers. Sophomore Hunter Renfroe is the veteran among the catchers.
"I thought that Hunter had a good fall. He missed some time behind the plate because we had some injuries in the outfield. He's so versatile that he is able to play different positions. We played him in center, right and even left. He also did some pitching. Due to all of that, he didn't get as much time behind the plate as we would have liked. But as far as the ability to catch and throw, shut down the running game and run the show, we feel very good with him back there. He was drafted for a reason out of high school. We feel like it is a tight race with Hunter, Mitch Slauter and Nick Ammirati.

"Hitting-wise, he has great tools and knows the strikezone. But sometimes he puts a little too much effort into it when he doesn't have to. He just needs to slow down the game. His tools are off the charts. You don't find guys like him to often. He has the ability to change the game with his arm and his bat."

Junior Mitch Slauter is a transfer junior college catcher. He was impressive during the fall.
"When I saw Mitch in the Kansas all-star deal last fall, things that impressed me were his energy, presence and leadership. Those jumped out at me. And he can catch, throw and hit. I think the pitchers were drawn to him because he coaches them up in the bullpen. And he's side by side with (MSU assistant) Coach (Butch) Thompson and in his back pocket with the pitchers. When he got here I felt like he established himself as a leader. That is hard to do for a junior college player sometimes due to him not being around the team much.

"I think, coming out of the fall, he might have the lead (at catcher) if we started tomorrow. But that doesn't mean he will catch every day."

Junior college transfer Nick Ammirati is the third catcher.
"Nick has been drafted before (out of high school). He played at Seton Hall his freshman year and got some playing time. He transferred to Panola (TX College) where we signed him. He is the best blocker (at catcher) on the team. If it's in the dirt he is going to block it. He threw the ball well. I thought he came on later with his hitting. He scratch his switch-hitting. When he hit strictly righthanded, I felt his entire game picked up."

Outfielder-wise, how about talking about sophomore C.T. Bradford, senior Brent Brownlee, and true freshman Tyler Fullerton.
"C.T. had the injury so he had to sit out. But he's proven he can play at this level. He is a legitimate SEC player and one of the top outfielders in the league, offensively and defensively. I think he has taken on more of a leadership role this year. He went up to the Cape Cod League and saw some great pitchers. He also pitched up there. And Coach Thompson wants him out there pitching because he is one of our better arms. We feel good with him in center field if we started tomorrow."

Brent Brownlee
"Brent, along with Caleb Reed, were voted team captains by their teammates. I think he has taken on a leadership role. He is going to do whatever it takes to get on base and help us win. That's the thing you really like about Brent Brownlee - every day he is going to show up and do whatever it takes to help us win."

Tyler Fullerton
"I thought Tyler surprised us offensively this fall. He showed us some power, got on base, and carried his at-bats deep into the count. Besides Evan Mitchell, he is the fastest player on the team. Fullerton, who runs the sixty in 6.5, has the ability to change a game with his speed.

"I think it took him some time to get going (this fall) because he came in with a high ankle sprain that he suffered late spring with his high school team. I think once he got healthy and got used to college life away from home, he really turned it on. He showed what he could do offensively.

"He was a shortstop in high school but he's more of an outfield type."


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


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