The baseball preview series continues and today we’re focusing on one of the favorites to win the SEC West: the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The Tigers and Bulldogs are united this year in a specific way, both schools are having to replace its all-time hit leader. LSU has to replace Antoine Duplantis, while Mississippi State has to replace Jake Mangum, Mangum and Duplantis raced each other last season to see who would break Eddy Furniss’ SEC hits record. Mangum beat Duplantis to hit No. 353 by about six weeks but the two are now atop the career hits record in conference history.
But their bats are gone from their respective teams and both LSU and Mississippi State are in the unenviable task of trying to find a replacement. Who will fill in for Mangum? That’s what For Whom the Cowbell Tolls editor Landon Young and I discuss.
1. You don’t simply “replace” a Jake Mangum, but the Bulldogs will have to carry on without the conference’s all-time hit king. How different will the lineup look this year without him?
Of course it’ll be different without the SEC hit king, but I really do think the lineup Mississippi State has returning is one of its best in the last 5 years.
2. Speaking of hard to replace guys, State loses its best pitcher from last year’s 55-win team Ethan Small. Who’s the Bulldogs new Friday night guy?
Friday night guy should be true sophomore, JT Ginn. He was the Saturday guy last year, but the kid has heat.
3. Mississippi State is a preseason top-10 team according to most of the major polls. Is this a team we’ll see in Omaha come June?
Mississippi State fans expect to be there. If we end up there, could someone buy me tickets? That’d be great. Never been.
4. State has one of the best classes of newcomers in the country. Who should we look for?
There are several newcomers to look out for this year, but I don’t have one true freshman in particular to look out for. If I had to point out a guy to look out for it’d be sophomore pitcher, Eric Cerantola. Kid had a stupid good fastball last year. Expected to be in the weekend rotation this year.
5. What’s a realistic expectation for the 2020 Diamond Dawgs?
The expectation is always Omaha. Anything less is usually disappointing, but you never know how things will play out.