I spoke a few minutes ago with Jay Powell, who pitched at Mississippi State and in the Majors, where he won Game 7 of the World Series with the Marlins in 1997.
Powell served as the analyst for the TV broadcast last night in the Governor’s Cup, a 6-3 Ole Miss win over MSU.
The bullpen, which had been struggling for the Rebels, pitched 5.1 scoreless innings with no runs, two hits, 12 strikeouts, five from freshman Hawtin Buchanan, three from Aaron Greenwood and four from Dylan Chavez, including three in the bottom of the ninth.
Here’s more analysis from Powell:
On Hawtin Buchanan
“He’s big (6-foot-8), his arm strength’s good. He’s the type of guy that when he gets older can become very dominant, even more than he was last night.
At some point he’ll have to get a breaking ball over for strikes and command it a little better, but you can’t teach velocity, and you can’t teach the way the ball comes out of his hand.
“He’s so tall, he changes the plane of the ball so good. From the time it leaves his hand till the time it reaches the mitt, it’s changed planes. He’s got a chance to be pretty special.
It’s angles. It’s changing the line of sight for the hitter. It’s starting high and finishing low. The hitter is trying to square that ball up. It’s got a lot of top to bottom angle on it, and as he’s trying to square up with a downward swing. It’s hard to hit it solid.
“That’s what you saw with State. I would think from State’s standpoint, they knew he was having trouble with his breaking ball and knew he was throwing fastballs, but they couldn’t not only get hits but couldn’t get (good) contact on it.
“He’s a freshman. That’s going to get better. With his height and arm slot, I would think he would have a very good curve ball. It’s just a reps thing. And I’ve only seen him one time. He may have a very good curve ball and just didn’t have it last night.”
On Dylan Chavez
“From a late-inning deal where you need him to come in and get three or four outs, he looked to me to be the most dominant of all the guys they ran out there. He was 88-89 with just a dynamic breaking ball.
“I liked his stuff a lot. When you look at his numbers, 26 innings, 25 hits, that part of it doesn’t add up. His stuff is a lot better than that. I liked him. Right now, we’re there all at, I thought his stuff was the most dominant of all. He’s left-handed, a high 80s guy, and his breaking ball was really sharp, really good.
(What do you think this means for the confidence of the bullpen moving forward?)
“They were dominant. I could tell in his voice it was a big game, not just another mid-week game. I could tell it was a shot in the arm for those guys. They need to look at their stuff and what they did last night, whether it was against Mississippi State, LSU or whoever. The way they threw, they’re going to get 99 percent of the hitters out regardless of who’s up there if they can continue to pitch like that.
(Brett) Huber’s done a good job in the past for them. If he gets on track that’s shaping up to be a pretty good bullpen.”