John Cohen Talks About His Catchers

Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen talks about this year's catchers.

Senior middle infielder/catcher Jet Butler
"Jet Butler has spent the summer trying to convert himself to being a catcher. Of our four on ones he is probably spending 80% of his time as a catcher, 10% of his time in the infield and 10% of his time in the outfield. We are going to see how that develops, and, hopefully, find a spot that best serves the ballclub."

True freshman catcher Kolby Byrd
"Kolby Byrd has a ton of arm-strength. He can really, really throw. He's a guy who has blunt, brutal arm-strength. He will have power from the left side and he's really going to be able to throw the ball. He's behind our other guys from a catching, receiving, blocking standpoint. So, the fall is really going to be very important to him. If he is behind in the fall, then he's a possible redshirt. If he shows some things this fall, then he's a potential contributor, just like everybody else."

Junior catcher Cody Freeman
"I am really, really proud of what Cody Freeman has done. He called me up this summer and told me that he wants to catch and that he wants to be our every day catcher. I think he has really turned the corner physically and mentally. He is throwing the ball so much better than he did a year ago. He is receiving it better. He is blocking it better. His leadership skills are better. He's more vocal. I just like everything that he is doing for us right now."

True freshman infielder/catcher Dallas Hannah
"Dallas Hannah is a kid who has walked on as a sort of invited walk-on. He has been really impressive the first two weeks as an infielder and as a catcher. He can do a lot of different things on the field. He weighs 175 pounds and is 6-2. He needs to gain 15 to 20 pounds. But I like what I see. He has great hand-eye coordination, but we are going to have to examine the bat a little further."

True freshman catcher Carlos Leal
"Carlos Leal is one of three catchers that we brought in that just throws the daylights out of the baseball. He has a power arm behind the plate. He is a high energy, high motor guy who gives great effort every day. The receiving, blocking parts are going to have to improve for him to play for us. But that guy brings a great work ethic every single day. And he's a switch-hitting catcher, although he's going to have to refine that skill. I really like what I see and I think he has a chance to be a good player in the future."

Junior catcher Wesley Thigpen
"Wes Thigpen is a catcher that we brought in specifically to shut down the running game. He throws really, really well. I can't imagine there being a guy in our league that throws better than him. Maybe there is. He is a legitimate 1.85 to 1.9 thrower (to second base). The ball just explodes out of his hand. We do have some work to do with the catching, receiving, blocking parts, but I think that Wes is special. There is no doubt in my mind - the fall will bear this out - that he will catch for us. Now, who is the guy who will catch two out of three games? Will it be him or will it be Cody (Freeman)? Could (Kolby) Byrd sneak up and get into that competition? Carlos Leal is a guy who could also sneak into that too. You just don't know. But Cody and Wes have the most experience. And they both bring something different. Cody is more of an offensive catcher, although I think that Wes is very capable of hitting. But Wes' arm-strength is special."

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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