1-on-1 With Freshman LHP Paxton Stover

Mississippi State freshman lefthanded pitcher Paxton Stover talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

  • Name: Paxton Stover
  • Position: LHP
  • Class: Freshman
  • HT: WT:
  • Bats-Throws: L-L
  • High School: Dyer County (TN) High School

  • You came in for the second summer session. Why did you decide to come in early?
    "I wasn't in the best of shape and these workouts are a little more difficult than the high school workouts that I am used to. So, I came just to get ready for the workouts. And it has helped me a lot."

    How has it helped you?
    "I am in better shape. And I didn't want to get up here and bring the team down due to being out of shape. I wanted to be where the team was and be able to finish the workouts."

    How long did it take you to get into shape?
    "During the summer, the weights weren't really a problem. The running, at first, was a little difficult. After about the third week it started getting a little easier for me."

    What kind of running did they do?
    "During the summer it was longer sprints. It was like 400 meters sprints and 100 meters. Now, it is more short sprints, something that I am more used to."

    Does the MSU strength coach, Brian Neal, have a different workout for pitchers since your legs are so important to you?
    "We have a different workout than the positional guys. We do a lot of hip, legs, stuff like that, while they do some upper body."

    You were selected pre-season and post-season Louisville Slugger All-American during your senior season. Only the elite players earn that type honor. What did you have going on during your senior season that helped you earn that honor?
    "I live by the motto, get strike-one early. You also want to be down in the zone (with your pitches). That is your main priority as a pitcher. If you win the 0-0 (count) you are in control. And if you get the 0-2 you have the hitter where you want him. So, I just tried to get ahead and stay down in the zone. l also picked up a slider this past year that has been working out for me really well. I also have the changeup and the fastball."

    Do you throw a two-seam or four-seam fastball?
    "Both of them."

    Do they both have movement on them?
    "They do."

    What kind of movement do they have?
    "I really haven't thrown a four-seam a lot. I have just been testing it out in my bullpens. It has a little more sink to it than the four-seam. The four-seam has more run than sink."

    How good is your changeup?
    "In my junior year of high school my changeup was really good. Then I started picking up on the slider and didn't throw the changeup as much. So, when I got here my changeup was a little behind. But it is starting to come back and is starting to look really good. I'm starting to get command of it and down in the zone with it."

    What kind of velocity does your fastball have?
    "I know that I hit 92 (miles per hour) this past summer but that was my top. But I am consistently about 86 to 88."

    Does your arm feel stronger since you have been working out here at Mississippi State?
    "I know that my arm feels a lot better after I throw here. I am not as sore after I pitch. In high school I never really had a plan. I never did band work. After I started doing the bands and getting really loose due to the workouts that we do, I feel a whole lot better when I throw."

    Due to the workouts, do you feel like you now have more stamina, which in turns allows you to maintain your velocity longer during a game?
    "Yes sir. Like I said, in high school I never had a plan to warmup. I didn't have a lot of things that I would do. I would run a couple of sprints and stretch. I would just throw. I would never really stretch my arm out. It worked out for me but I guess I am going to have to switch it up this year. The first couple of innings in high school it was like I was warming up, basically. And it seemed like I would throw harder later in the game than I did at the beginning of the game."

    Coach Thompson likes to use a string in his pitchers' bullpens. Was that new to you?
    "No, we did that at my high school. My head coach knows Butch. We did the string in our bullpens in high school."

    You have been here for several months. What has it been like since you have been here?
    "It has been what I expected. I love it now. During the summer I was fine and I loved it. But once the fall started I kind of got homesick for about a week and a half. But the team is really good at accepting you. I was expecting the hazing being a freshman but they are really nice guys. And I love them to death."

    Has Coach Thompson talked to you about what role they plan to try you at?
    "I have talked to both Coach Thompson and Coach Cohen. Both said they are going to try me as a starter right now. But I will accept whatever role they want me in."

    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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