The lost art of a dual position player is becoming more and more rare in baseball these days.
Mississippi State only had one player that pitched and played the field active on the roster this past season.
Trent Waddell saw action in 15 games and started once at first base and made six appearances on the mound. In order to prepare for both roles, Waddell has to split his time during practice each day.
“I’ll start by warming up with the position players and take batting practice,” Waddell said. “During BP, I’ll go down with coach (Butch) Thompson and get my work in on the mound then come back out and finish up with defense.”
Waddell batted eight times during his junior season walking once and scoring a run. The southpaw also worked 10 innings on the mound with a 5.40 earned run average, six strikeouts and three walks.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder made his Division I debut on opening weekend as a defensive replacement in a 16-7 victory against Cincinnati on Feb. 15.
“My first appearance was pretty easy,” Waddell said. “We were up big on Cincinnati so I guess it was the best way. I wasn’t really nervous because we had a big lead but it was definitely surreal being out on the field. I’d been to a lot of games here so being out there was really cool.”
A former Perfect Game All-American honorable at Northridge (Ala.) High School, Waddell spent three years at East Mississippi Community College after redshirting his initial season following back surgery.
As a sophomore for the Lions, Waddell batted .278 with 31 RBIs and 30 walks while working four scoreless innings of relief on the mound.
“I feel like in junior college there’s a lot of hitting but pitching is a lot different,” Waddell said. “Me personally pitching, you could get away with a lot more. Here, you pay for your mistakes pretty quickly on the mound. The games here are a lot more thought out and have a lot more pieces to it. In junior college it was more of a straight forward lineup.”
Waddell also received interest from hometown Alabama during the recruiting process but is proud to be a Bulldog.
“I’ve loved it here,” Waddell said. “There was a lot of hard work in the fall and spring. We put in a lot of work every day but it’s been fun.”