John Cohen Talks About His Infielders

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

True freshman first baseman/RHP Ethan Bright
"Ethan Bright has super tools. How quickly they develop will determine how quickly he he can help us. He can step on the mound and throw a baseball 90, 92 miles per hour. One out of every three breaking balls that he throws is really special. He is going to have to learn how to throw to location. We are mixing his time between the infield and pitching. We are working him at first base. We have done some left side of the infield stuff with him, too."

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 middle infielder Sam Frost
"Sam Frost is a lefthanded hitting middle infielder from Hoover High School. I think Sam is a guy who will give us some depth. It's just a question as to how quickly he can make the adjustment. He played for the Excel Blue Wave, which is managed by (former MSU Bulldog players) Matthew Maniscalco and Steve Gendron, so he has been very well coached. I think he has a chance to contribute at some point. Is it as a freshman? I don't know. But you like the fact that he's a lefthanded hitting infielder, which is something that we didn't have last year."

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."

Senior corner infielder Jarrod Parks
"Jarrod Parks has gotten remarkably better. I think he has made incredible improvement. He is a much more complete player physically, mentally and in every way than he was last year. He had a really good summer in Maryland. I think he might compete for a third base job. Obviously with the injury to Russ Sneed it opens some things up there. He will compete for the third base job and, potentially, a righthanded DH type situation."

Senior first baseman Connor Powers
"Connor Powers is different right now than he was a year ago. He is already more complete. I think he's going to be the best defender at first base in our league. And I don't think it's a jump to say that. We have done some challenging stuff defensively (in the four on one) and he has been spectacular. He knows exactly what I want and he's giving it to us every single day. I just love his mentality and I love the way he's going about his business."

Junior middle infielder Jonathan Ogden
"Jonathan Ogden is a middle infielder from Cypress, Texas who went to Blinn Community College. He is an acrobatic, big-time defensive shortstop. I can really see him playing shortstop. I think he will have as much arm-strength and as much range as any shortstop in the Southeastern Conference. As for the offensive part of it, he had a great year at Blinn but that's the part I think he needs to improve upon. But he is a very complete player. What you see is what you get. And what you see if pretty good. I am really impressed with the accuracy of his arm and the amount of ground he covers at shortstop. The maturity and intelligence level is very, very good."

Sophomore middle infielder Frank Rawdow
"Franking Rawdow has been great for us. Statistically, he didn't have a great summer, but with his range and arm-strength and his ability to defend the infield I think he has a chance to vie for the shortstop/second base positions. His range, his speed, his quickness and his arm-strength have really improved. I think he is going to be an A+ defender at the SEC level. The issue will be what you are getting out of him offensively. But I think that part has improved greatly."

Redshirt freshmen first baseman Nick Ray
"Nick Ray is another guy who has gotten better. We had some guys who really got better over the course of the year, but this guy has really gotten better. A year ago I didn't know if he was a guy who could help us. Now, I'm convinced that in some point in time Nick Ray is a guy who is going to help us. I think he has gotten better defensively at first base. Obviously, the guy playing in front of him right now (Connor Powers) is really special. But I really like what Nick has done. He has really worked his tail off. His body is dramatically different. He came to us at 180 pounds. And I think he now weighs 200 pounds right now."

Senior third baseman Russ Sneed
"Russ Sneed had his second hip surgery in two years. Russ is a warrior. He is just a tough, tough kid. We are going to see what happens at the end of this fall. I can't imagine him doing a whole lot during the fall. But we'll wait and see. I obviously thought he swung the bat a lot better down the stretch last year. We just have to see what his maneuverability is to see where he can play defensively."

Junior infielder Nick Vickerson
"Nick Vickerson is a physical, athletic infielder who can play third base, shortstop, or second base. He has tremendous hands He tries to do everything at light speed. If we can slow him down a little bit I think he has a chance to be as good of a defensive infielder as there is in the SEC. I think he will make spectacular plays defensively. The average play is the one where we need to get him to slow down a little bit on. But he has great range and he can really throw."

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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