Tatum, for a true freshman, had a very solid season last year, throwing 20.1 innings, allowing 11 earned runs on 18 hits and 10 walks to go along with 18 strikeouts. All but 1 of his 15 appearances were in relief. He's looking for another type role on this year's Bulldog pitching staff.
"I want to be a starter next season," said Tatum.
To accomplish that goal, he has added weight and strength.
"I am 6-foot-4 and weigh 210 pounds now," said Tatum, who has added 16 pounds since last season. "I added the weight because I wanted to try and add some velo and I wanted to be stronger so that I could go deeper into games."
He used his summer ball experience to help him achieve that goal.
"The main things I tried to do this summer was establish myself as a starter by going deep into games and make it so that I can throw all three pitches in the zone anytime that I want to."
And he feels like he achieved those two goals, especially late in the summer.
"I started off a little rocky but once I settled in the starter's role I became comfortable and really started throwing well," said Tatum, who in his last two starts of summer ball threw 12 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 8 hits and 5 walks while striking out 10. His ERA for those two starts was 1.50.
He also was able to learn to throw with the new low seam ball that college teams will be using next season.
"I used the low seam ball and I loved it because my stuff had more movement," said Tatum, who consistently threw his two seam fastball 88-91 miles per hour, topping out at 92 "My two seam moved so much more with it. I also think I picked up 1 or 2 miles per hour with it. And it really establishes who can throw a breaking ball and who can't. The low seam ball gave my breaking ball more depth."
You can see Vance Tatum and the rest of the Bulldog team beginning October 14th, the first day they play fall scrimmages.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.