Laster pitched in the premier league in summer ball, the Cape Cod League, this past summer. Throwing for Bourne, he was mainly used in relief, going 0-0 with 1 save and a 2.70 ERA in 14 appearances. He threw 23.3 innings, allowing 24 hits and walking 7 while striking out 21.
"It was a really good experience," said Laster. "I got to see a lot of really good talent. Every single hitter was a 3 or 4 hole hitter here (at Mississippi State).
"I struggled early because I couldn't locate the ball that well. I don't want to blame it on the new (low seam) ball but it was new to me. Once I got used to it and had a few bullpens under my belt I started locating the ball better, starting getting back to ground balls instead of hard flyballs and line drives."
He explained what he was trying to accomplish during summer ball.
"One of my main focuses this summer was to locate the ball low and outside to lefties and have a pitch that I could play off of," said Laster. "Early in the summer that pitch was the curveball. I could get some bad swings with it but I could never get the swing and misses with it. I wanted to work on getting more swing and misses so I switched over to the slider. And that did pretty well for me."
He also saw an improvement in his velocity thanks to an adjustment that he made in his delivery.
"I have tried to get more hip involvement in my delivery, and that has added a little velocity," said Laster. "My average velocity, once I got the hip involvement, was 88 to 90, 91 (miles per hour). And I topped out at 92 this summer. Before the hip involvement I was 85 to 88, topping out at 89 to 90. (Adding the velocity) was a little bit of a confidence boost."
Before he gets too excited about the added velo, he and MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson will analyze the effectiveness of his pitches.
"(Coach Thompson and I) will go over some video this fall and make sure it's not sacrificing any sink because I don't want to lose that," said Laster.
A three-pitch pitcher, Laster describes how he plans on using each of his pitches.
"I still use my curveball but it's used more early in the count if I need a groundball, a double play," said Laster. "The slider is used more as a swing and miss pitch, situations like that. My fastball, I like to work it on both sides of the plate. As long as I'm doing that and mixing in my offspeed pitches I can get some ground balls with it as well."
Something that was new to him while pitching summer ball was using the new low seam baseball that is going to be used in college baseball this coming season. So far, so good, according to Laster.
"I'm starting to like the low seam ball because the extra velocity helps a little bit," said Laster. "And I'm still getting bite on my breaking ball. I guess the one negative was that at first I was leaving my curveball up a little bit. I had to make an adjustment so that I could start getting it back down in the zone. The more that I have thrown with (the low seam ball), the better the command has been."
Mississippi State's first scrimmage of the fall is October 14th.
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 email@example.com.