"I started as a sophomore, but I only started about 6 or 7 games," said Todd McInnis, who grew from 6-0 and 125 pounds to 6-2 and 145 over the course of the past year. "I spot started, but never pitched more than 4 or 5 innings. My junior year was when I really actually started playing a lot."
And McInnis not only played a lot, but showed this past year that he has the potential to be a force to be reckoned with on the mound after adding about 6 to 7 miles per hour to his fastball.
"I was throwing 81 to 82 last year," said McInnis, who told me that he now throws in the 87 mph range and has topped out at 91. When I saw him pitch Wednesday night (June 8th), he consistently clocked 88 to 89 on my Stalker gun for the one innning he pitched.
McInnis is not 100% sure where the added velocity came from, but he has an idea.
"I don't actually know, but I used to play football," said McInnis, who now plans to devote 100% of his playing to baseball. "And I didn't do much to help my arm until I got into the weight room. The weight room helped my arm some. I'm going to get on the weighted bar program this year."
While McInnis has life in his fastball, he also has three other pitches, one of which he considers to be his out pitch
"I throw a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup," said McInnis. "My slider is my out pitch."
Several colleges have taken note of his improvement.
"Ole Miss, (Mississippi) State, Southern (Miss), Memphis, Alabama are probably about it right now," said McInnis, of the schools that are sending him letters. "Ole Miss, Southern and State are sending me the most."
Of those schools, three are at the top of his early list.
"The three Mississippi schools are the ones that I want to go to the most," said McInnis, who is considered by some experts as the top pitcher in Mississippi's class of 2006. "I just want to stay in-state and really don't like traveling very much."
Speaking of traveling, he has been to one college Junior Day and plans on attending at least two college baseball camps this summer.
"I went to State's Junior Day three or four weeks ago," said McInnis. "I think I am going to the Ole Miss and State camps this summer."
Does any school have an advantage over the others? I don't know if it is an advantage, but he become a fan of one in-state school after being a fan of another in-state school earlier in his life.
"I used to be an Ole Miss fan when I was small, but my friends are mostly Mississippi State, so I have grown to be a State fan nowadays," said McInnis.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.