Young Gun Preparing For Fall Ball

Tyler Johnson, one of the top signees in the Mississippi State baseball 2007-2008 signing class, is working on his pitching this summer in anticipation of a busy fall practice at MSU.

Tyler Johnson Profile

"I'm working out and throwing with a guy who pitched for the Cleveland Indians, Brian Lamp," said Tyler. "I've been doing that for a couple of years. I usually throw an hour a day with him. He instructs me, catches me - he's even got a Stalker Gun."

Since he's talked to MSU's new pitching coach Butch Thompson and now knows what Coach Thompson expects of his pitchers, he's been keying on his control and location.

"I'm trying to get my consistency down, trying to throw my strikes and I'm really working on my location with him because I know that's a big deal with (MSU pitching) Coach (Butch) Thompson," said Tyler.

As a by-product of his work with Lamp, he's seen his velocity increase a mile or two since the end of his spring baseball season.

"At the beginning of the season I had tendinitis and kind of started slow, but toward the end of the season my arm got more in shape and I started picking it up," said Tyler, who was consistently throwing in the 89-91 range at the end of the spring. "In the summer, I started long tossing and (my velocity's) really picked up. It's consistently in the low-90's, 91-92. And I top out at 93."

While his velocity was one of the primary reasons the previous Bulldog staff signed him, they weren't the only ones who liked what they saw from the youngster.

"I've known Butch for a while because we talked a lot when he recruited me when he was at Auburn," said the 6-2, 190-pounder, who, in addition to MSU and Auburn, was also recruited by Alabama and Ole Miss. "And I was close to going to Auburn."

But instead he signed with Mississippi State. And he left Butch Thompson a disappointed man ... at the time. But you never know what the future holds in the world of college sports.

"When we talked (recently), Butch told me he got kind of sick to his stomach when I decided not to go to Auburn," said Tyler. "But he said he knew it would work out in the end. Little did he know he would be coming to Mississippi State."

While they talked about his previous recruitment, they also hit on his summer activity and what the upcoming fall has in store for the returning veterans and the newcomers like Tyler.

"We've talked about me getting into the weight program, meetings at the start of school and things like that," said the 18-year-old. "They are also talking about doing a lot of intrasquad games this fall, 29 of them. I'm really excited about that.

"I can't wait to get over there."

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

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