Cleaning the Bases on Offense and Defense

Meridian (MS) Community College 2008 MACJC all-state catcher Wes Thigpen, a Mississippi State signee, has always been known as a excellent defensive player with a great arm. And not only is he still showcasing those considerable talents, but he's stepped his hitting up a notch as well.

"Offensively, I've improved tremendously - I'm hitting with more power and hitting the ball harder," said Thigpen, who has helped lead his team to a 14-9 overall record this spring. "I think I'm hitting right at .400 with 4 home runs, 8 doubles, 2 triples and 26 RBI."

And, as is expected, he continues to excel defensively especially when it comes to throwing runners out on the base paths.

"I don't know my stats defensively, but I think I have thrown out about 75 to 80% (of the baserunners that have attempted to steal)," said the 6-0, 195-pounder.

According to most sources, a Major League Baseball catcher's average throwing time to second base (from the time it hits the catcher's mitt to the time it hits the infielder's glove) is in the 1.8 to 1.98 seconds range. And Wes is in that range.

"My average time (to second base) is 1.92 to 1.95," said Wes. "My quickest pop time is 1.85 which I did once in a game in the fall."

Not only has Wes performed well on the field - offensively and defensively - but his overall attitude has garnered him one of the top honors a player can receive - being elected team captain.

"It was an honor," said Wes. "I knew going into (the season) I had the skills to do it, but I was still honored by it."

Like with so many of this year's Mississippi State recruiting class, Major League Baseball scouts have taken a keen interest in Wes.

"There have been a lot of scouts at our games," said Wes. "I would guess we have 5 or 6 at every game. We've even had about 25 at a couple of games."

And look for several teams to continue watching and evaluating Wes as the season continues to progress.

"(The scouts) have talked to my coach, but I really don't know much," said Wes. "All he's told me so far is that there are about 5 or 6 teams that are interested right now."

With a going-to-college or going pro decision possibly looming when the Major League Baseball Draft rolls around in June of this year, Wes, as of now, is leaning to one over the other.

"I was always raised to get your education first because that is what is important," said Wes.

Look for additional updates on Wesley Thigpen throughout the season.

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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