March 5, 2018 8:34:31 AM
My fellow baseball lovers: If most of you are like me, you haven't seen much MSU baseball in weeks. It's very troubling and odd for a team that's already played 11 games -- you know, 20 percent of its regular season.
All of that being the case, let's take a look at some of the things we learned while the team has been on this Texas swing before they come back for five home games this week.
- So, this Tanner Allen fellow....he can hit the baseball. The Southern Miss weekend was unkind to pretty much everyone other than Josh Hatcher, and then he didn't get a hit at Jackson State, so he was rocking a .154 batting average through four games; now with 11 games under his belt, he's hitting .368. Over the weekend at Minute Maid Park he went 5-11 with 2 RBI, a triple and four walks. The dude has been awesome.
- Speaking of Tanners hitting the ball, Tanner Poole? It's hard to believe after his mighty struggles last year and the reputation as a defensive specialist that followed, but he's hitting .333 through seven games and started all three games of the Houston weekend. It's possible his average is a little escalated after going 3-4 in the last game against Sam Houston State, thus he may float down toward something in the .270 range, but even if that ultimately happens, that's far from an abomination.
(Quickly, a possible outcome of this: Elijah MacNamee did not play at all in the Houston weekend: outfield, DH, pinch hitter or any other capacity.)
- The battle for catcher is very much alive. Dustin Skelton is hitting .148 through 10 games (eight starts) and Marshall Gilbert is hitting .200 through 6 games (three starts). I'm looking forward to finally seeing this team and trying to figure out why Skelton has eight starts to Gilbert's three given the equally unfortunate hitting numbers.
- It sure looks like Justin Foscue is settling in as MSU's full-time third baseman. There's been some jostling around in the corner outfield positions and the DH spot (the fallout has even impacted Hatcher at first base, as MSU put Allen there to keep him in the lineup), but Foscue has remained untouched in that spot for five games now, despite the fact that he's bounced around the order in that time.
- Making any legitimate statements on pitching at this point is iffy since a pitcher's sample size is inherently smaller than a hitter's, but I will say this: I plan on asking Gary Henderson about it today to make sure (and likely writing about it after the fact), but I think MSU is more or less settled into its starting setup for the season: JP France in the midweek before Konnor Pilkington, Ethan Small and Jacob Billingsley. (MSU doesn't really have a need for a second midweek guy, as MSU only has two more weeks with more than one midweek game: this week and March 20-21.)
UPDATE: Welp, that was wrong. Cole Marsh is starting the Tuesday game and who knows who's starting the Wednesday game. You can read more about that on this fine website in the morning, when I go through the pitching staff to see who has performed in what role and what options MSU has elsewhere going forward.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson