Nick Mingione Talks MSU First Base/Outfield

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

What are your thoughts about the first basemen after watching them during the fall scrimmages? Start with Wes Rea.
"Wes is very good defensively, around the bag. He has good feet, his hands work well, and he's obviously a really big target. If you are an infielder you enjoy looking over there and seeing a guy that is 6-foot-6. He's also done a nice job on ground balls and balls in the dirt. He has a really good feel around the bag, especially about when to come off the ball and when to come stay on the bag. Even on picks from our pitchers he does a really good job.

"Offensively, he had a really good fall. He had the foot injury near the end of the fall. But before that he was really coming on well. He has a really good feel about what pitchers and other teams are going to try to do against him. He also provides the home run threat."

Junior college transfer Trey Porter also looked good at first base during the fall.
"Porter is a very, very good offensive player. He stands really close to the plate. If you miss with your pitch you are going to hit him. He also is a guy who has the threat of hitting a home run. He hit some home runs this fall. We feel like he is going to be a guy who will hit home runs even in our ball park. He is a left-handed bat, which will give us some different options.

"Defensively, Trey's footwork around the bag has gotten dramatically better. I would say of all the things that he has improved the most on, his defense is at the top. His footwork around the bag is dramatically better. He also got better at fielding ground balls."

In the outfield, talk about Taylor Stark, Brandon Woodruff and Cody Abraham.
"Taylor Stark is an amazing athlete. He can run and he obviously has a great arm. We have seen him throw in the low 90s and even mid 90s this fall as a pitcher. He has done a great job of transitioning to the outfield in regard to fly balls and ground balls. He's so much more confident out there this year. He's going to be a great outfielder for us this year.

"Offensively, we feel like he has made a jump this fall. He went from swinging and missing in the past to putting balls in play with hard contact. He's also a great competitor, maybe as good of a competitor as we have on our team. We are looking for great things from him."

What are your thoughts about Brandon Woodruff?
"Brandon Woodruff is obviously a two-way player for us. He was highly recruited and a great draft out of high school. He has great feel in the outfield. He has the ability to slow the game down. He does not get sped up. So he never looks like he is out of control or not in control of his body. He obviously has a great arm. We are just impressed with his feel in the outfield.

"Offensively, I would say that Brandon had a great fall. Speaking just for me, I didn't realize that he would be as good of a hitter as he is. In the box he doesn't get sped up. That's a great quality for a freshman. He put good swings on the ball. He used the middle of the field. Brandon wasn't an easy out. He's a competitor. That helps him on the offensive end as well."

Cody Abraham was injured this fall but you did see him last fall. What are your thoughts about him?
"He was injured this fall. We are anxious to see how Cody can help our team. He should be healthy by the spring, which will give us an opportunity to evaluate him."

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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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