Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

1-on-1 With MSU Baseball Coach Will Coggin

Gene's Page talks one-on-one with Mississippi State assistant baseball coach Will Coggin about the MSU catchers.

I want to talk about your catchers. I'll start out with Elih Marrero. For a freshman, he has been very, very impressive in the scrimmages. What are your thoughts about him?
"Obviously, his dad was a Big Leaguer. So he has been around professional baseball his entire life. He is a very knowledgeable young man. But he is an even better competitor. I feel like he has competitive greatness. That is what makes him such a good player. He played with one of the better travel ball teams in the country and he played with Team USA. So, he has played on a very high level of baseball.

"His receiving is outstanding. He is a phenomenal blocker. And he has real arm strength. He has fast-twitch muscles and the SEC is a fast-twitch league. The good thing about him is he is always going full-speed, always competing, always attacking. He has the mode of a great player."

Even though he is a freshman, do the other players see him as a leader?
"I think so. He is more of a leader by example than from a vocal standpoint."

What are your thoughts about Elih as a hitter?
"He may have one of the highest OBPs (on-base-percentage) of any of our hitters. He is a switch-hitter so the curve will always break into him. He gets hit by pitches a lot. He has good strike-zone discipline. He has patience at the plate. He is fast-twitch so he can hit velocity. I think he is going to be a really good offensive player for us."

What are your thoughts about Jack Kruger?
"He went Division-1 out of high school and played as a true freshman. Then he transferred to a junior college. I think his team won the state championship in juco ball. So, he is a winner. He is also an incredibly bright young man. As good of a baseball player he is, he is an even better human being. I feel like he has real leadership skills."

Josh Lovelady has a year's experience so he knows the SEC.
"He is a great defensive catcher. He has incredible arm accuracy. I feel like he has above average arm strength. He is a good receiver. His blocking has improved. I also feel like he has made some strides offensively."

Gavin Collins has played third and catcher. Where does he fit in the catching position?
"Obviously has spent most of his time at third base in our scrimmage games. But he is such a competitor he could probably play just about any position. We will way our options for (the) weekend (games)."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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