Fitts Prepared for New Pitching Role

Mississippi State pitcher Trevor Fitts came to Starkville with hopes of developing into a weekend starter for the Diamond Dawgs. Bulldog pitching coach, Butch Thompson, mixed and matched with Fitts two seasons ago as the Bulldogs made a run at a national title. As the 2015 season begins, Fitts' is expected to throw short outings once again, but on the back end rather than the front.

"It's been kind of crazy, because I came in wanting to be a starter really bad," Fitts said. "I think that's what everybody wants to be coming in. I moved to the bullpen as a freshman and I got to pitch a little bit."

Looking back over his first season in the SEC, Fitts is fairly candid in his self evaluation.

"I was pretty terrible, honestly," Fitts grinned. "Teams were hitting like .500 off of me in the stretch, so that doesn't work out real well coming out of the bullpen.

"My sophomore year, I started out in the pen and then ended up being a starter. I was really a reliever in a starting role. I would just go a couple of innings and then Chad (Girodo) would take over.

"Last year, it sort of developed into the same with with (Jacob) Lindgren dominating."

After some soul searching, Fitts elected to go and meet with his pitching coach to discuss his role for his final campaign.

"I went and I asked Coach Thompson if he thought I could be a legitimate starter for five or six innings a game," Fitts shared. "He just sort of sat there and that sort of answered my question.

"I told him that if he didn't think I could be that kind of starter, then let's move me to the bullpen. It's sort of taking off from there."

With All-Everything closer Jonathan Holder moving on to pro baseball, the Bulldogs have a need for a guy to come in late and nail down a win. Fitts is hoping to fill that need.

"Coach Thompson envisions me as a closer," Fitts said. "He has always said that my stuff worked better out of the bullpen. I am excited about it."

Fitts has embraced his new role and is focused on what is best for Mississippi State baseball. The Pelham, Alabama native had visions of Friday night conference glory, but team needs would alter those dreams.

Throughout his Bulldog career, Fitts has done his best to keep a positive attitude no matter when his number was called into service.

"My teammates have helped me with all of that," Fitts explained. "Just coming to practice everyday and going as hard as I can has sort have helped me through everything. I am the kind of person who just tries to make the best out of practice.

"I always knew that my opportunity would come if I kept working hard. I knew the coaches would see that.

"There were times in the beginning that I might get into a game where we were down 10-0 or something like that and I would just work to get better.

"Once I started pitching better and better in those kinds of outings, then I started developing more trust and my opportunities begin to come when the game was on the line."

The 2015 Bulldogs are picked to finish 5th in the SEC West this spring. The big concern appears to be about Mississippi State pitching. Fitts believes his personnel group will answer the bell.

"I am pumped about our hitters being so good," Fitts said. "It was kind of tough on us as pitchers some in the fall, because they beat us up a little bit early on. I think in the end that was better for us as a pitching staff. We sort of came together and we're standing together as one now.

"I am excited to see our hitters put up some runs, but I am equally as excited to see our pitchers put up some zeroes. I think one of our goals as a staff is to break the school record for shutouts this season."

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