Logan Tanner has had the luxury of catching multiple premium pitchers during his three years at Mississippi State. Catching four top-five-round picks has helped Tanner develop into a quality catcher, enhancing his understanding of sequencing and the nuances of handling a pitching staff.
Mississippi State produced first-round pick Will Bednar and fifth-round picks Eric Cerantola and Christian MacLeod in the 2021 MLB draft. This year, righty Landon Sims will likely hear his name called in the first two rounds of July’s draft after undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring.
Tanner’s success catching high-profile arms has helped his development and draft status, as he’s one of the top college players in this year’s draft.
“Just learning how to catch those guys is great for developing and getting better at the position,” Tanner said. “They help you so much and you learn how to help them. It’s a back-and-forth relationship that has worked really well.”
Tanner drew draft interest as a pitcher during his high school senior season in 2019. But the Mississippi native didn’t want to pitch long-term and preferred to develop his catching skills at Mississippi State.
Attending Mississippi State has paid off for Tanner. The Bulldogs won the national championship last year, while Tanner has evolved into a well-rounded catching prospect. Scouts project Tanner as a potential early-round pick in July’s draft.
“Wherever I end up is where I end up,” Tanner said. “You can’t control too much of that. I was just trying to go out and play good baseball with the boys. It’s one of those things that whatever happens, happens.”
Tanner (6-foot, 215 pounds) is one of the top catchers in college baseball. Scouts rave about his defensive skills, and there is no doubt he will remain at the position long-term.
Tanner has elite arm strength. He is difficult to steal on, throwing out 26% of base stealers in 2021 and 24% this spring. He shows solid receiving and blocking skills. Scouts also speak highly of his leadership skills and handling of pitchers.
Offensively, the right-handed hitter hits for plenty of power to all fields. He has a solid approach and proven success against premium pitchers. This offseason, Tanner wants to improve his consistency at the plate, he said.
“My defense has always been a strong point for me,” Tanner said. “It’s improved since I got to State with the work I have done with the coaches. It has been the strongest point in my game since about 15 years old.”
Tanner had a productive three-year career at Mississippi State. He hit .285 with 22 doubles, 24 home runs and 96 RBIs in 492 at-bats in 136 games over the last three years. He showed good plate discipline, recording 100 strikeouts compared to 79 walks.
His performance helped the Bulldogs experience a lot of success in his tenure. After posting a 12-4 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Bulldogs had a 50-18 record to capture the program’s first-ever national title last year.
This season, the Bulldogs experienced numerous injuries to key players and failed to qualify for the postseason, finishing with a 26-30 record.
Tanner raves about his experience at Mississippi State. He also credits the coaching staff for developing him into a pro prospect.
“I tried to bring a good, positive attitude to the field every day and help the team win,” Tanner said. “I feel I did that. We didn’t have the year we wanted to this year, but it’s not going to take away from the fact that we had the greatest year in Mississippi sports history last year.”
Read a previous story on Logan Tanner and his development at Mississippi State HERE.
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.