New pitching coach Wes Johnson comes to Mississippi State with an exceptional resume.
The first thing that stands out is the fact that he has had 10 pitchers drafted during the last three years. Of those ten, seven were drafted in the top 10 rounds of the draft. And five of those were drafted in the top 5 rounds. Only one SEC school could compete with what Johnson did during that three-year span, Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt also had seven drafted in the first 10 rounds and they had six drafted in the top 5 rounds. But Johnson achieved this at a small Baptist school, not in a power conference.
Something else that is even more impressive about the number of top 10 round draft picks he has had during the last three years is the fact that from 1967 to 2011 Dallas Baptist had only had 6 pitchers drafted in the top 10 rounds. That is a span of 44 years.
During his college coaching career, he has coached at three colleges - Dallas Baptist University, University of Central Arkansas and Southern Arkansas University. His pitching staffs at all three schools have set strikeout records for each school. Two of the three schools have also set records for fewest walks allowed during his time at the school.
In addition to his impressive resume, Johnson also has similar personality traits that John Cohen has. Both stress mental toughness and emphasize a strong work ethic in their players. Both also have dynamic personalities and tremendous passion for the game.
Johnson, known by some as the pitching velocity guru of college baseball, will have a lot of velocity to work with on the current Mississippi State pitching staff. Of the twenty-four pitchers on the staff, twenty-one topped out at 90 miles per hour or better during the fall, sixteen topped out at 91 mph or better and ten topped out at 92 or higher. Of the ten freshmen, all topped out at 90 or better with eight of those topping out at 91 or better.
Mississippi State will hold a 11:30 am press conference Friday to introduce Wes Johnson as their new pitching coach.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.