Wes Rea was a four year starter for the Mississippi State baseball team. When he graduated in 2015, there was a substantial hole to be filled. At the time, Cole Gordon wasn’t quite ready to step in and take his place, so John Cohen found Nathaniel Lowe to fill the gap in the JUCO ranks.
And fill the gap Lowe did. His lone season at first base was as good as you could possibly hope for. Making things even better, Lowe’s production didn’t take off until SEC play started. Here’s what he did a year ago.
Departed Bulldog 1st Basemen
- Nathaniel Lowe - .348 BA, .490 SLG%, 5 HR, 20 2B (Led the team), 49 RBIs
It was just one season, but it was an impressive one. The Bulldogs would have loved to have Lowe back, but he was a relatively high pick in the MLB Draft, so Lowe will be getting paid to play baseball in 2017 instead of doing so at the collegiate level. This leaves the first base duties to Cole Gordon.
Returning Bulldog First Basemen
- Cole Gordon - .333 BA, .611 SLG%, 4 XBH
Gordon didn’t play a lot as the stellar play of Lowe didn’t provide for a lot of opportunities. But when he did get a chance, he came through big for the Bulldogs. In 18 plate appearances, Gordon had 6 hits and 4 of those hits were for extra bases.
Gordon has impressive power and Bulldog fans are hoping he taps into it in 2017. In his summer league, Gordon only hit .269, but hammered 10 home runs in 130 at-bats as well as 10 doubles. He’ll need to show more plate discipline as he struck out 38 times in those 138 at-bats.
The Bulldogs had recruited a player named Chase Goldwater to transfer in, but he isn’t listed on the roster and there has been no mention of him in any scrimmages or workouts.
There is the possibility if Harrison Bragg struggles at third, Cannizaro could move Bragg to play some first base. But with an established player at first base, this seems unlikely.
Asking Cole Gordon, or anyone for that matter, to match what Lowe did a season ago would be asking a lot. But with the way he has supposedly developed, he should be able to handle it.