Logan Tanner takes pride in team-first mindset

Logan Tanner has made notable strides throughout his first 2½ years at Mississippi State. The junior catcher started his collegiate career as a two-way player but has developed into one of the country’s top backstops.

Last year, Tanner hit a team-high 15 home runs to pace Mississippi State’s lineup. His offensive success was critical for Mississippi State, as the Bulldogs captured its first-ever national championship last season.

This spring, Tanner will play a key role in the middle of Mississippi State’s lineup. While Tanner is a team-first player, he will also have to deal with the attention brought on by being a top prospect for the 2022 MLB draft.

Scouts project Tanner as a potential first-round pick in this year’s draft. Tanner wants to focus on leading Mississippi State to another national title despite the draft interest.

“I don’t really think about the draft too much,” Tanner said. “I know if I play well, I am going to get drafted pretty high. If I’m playing well, the team is playing well. I’m more worried about winning baseball games than getting paid. I’m trying to help my team win, play good baseball and win another national championship.”

This year marks the second time Tanner has experienced the draft process. Coming out of the Mississippi high school ranks, Tanner drew interest from scouts in anticipation of the 2019 draft.

Tanner was a two-way player in high school and threw a mid-90s fastball that hit 100 mph. Scouts dreamed about Tanner’s ability as a right-handed pitcher and felt that was his long-term position.

But Tanner declined the interest, citing his desire to be a position player rather than a pitcher, he said. Focusing on catching has worked out well for Tanner. He has developed his offensive skills at Mississippi State to position himself as one of the top all-around catchers in college baseball.

“I was more pitcher-oriented in terms of the draft coming out of high school,” Tanner said. “State gave me the chance to be a two-way player, and I really couldn’t pass it up. It all worked out in the end to what I really wanted to do, which was catching.”

After hitting .268 in 14 games in a pandemic-shortened season in 2020, Tanner was extremely productive offensively for the Bulldogs last season.

Tanner is a 6-foot, 230-pound catcher with exceptional defensive skills and improving offensive tools.

Offensively, Tanner hits for above-average power to all fields from the right side of the plate. He has good plate discipline and makes consistent hard contact.

Tanner spent the offseason working on his offensive skills in preparation for his junior season. He hopes to show more consistency at the plate after working on a new hitting load and his ability to hit high fastballs, he said.

Scouts rave about Tanner’s defensive skills. He will remain at the position long term due to his elite arm strength and respectable receiving and blocking skills. He also is a leader who handles a pitching staff well and has experience calling pitches.

Tanner takes pride in his defense and leadership skills, which have served as his top traits since high school.

“The arm was always there and played well,” Tanner said. “Because I didn’t hit as well as some of the other guys in my class coming out of high school, it helped me focus more defensively. It really helped me.”

Like last season, Tanner will play a key role in Mississippi State’s success this spring.

South Carolina is the last program to repeat as College World Series champions, accomplishing the feat in 2010-11. Although this year’s team features numerous new players, the Bulldogs are motivated and hope to win back-to-back titles.

“I think us coming together and being a really tight-knit group is a big deal,” Tanner said. “That’s what last year’s group was. It was a brotherhood. A huge piece of it is having trust in one another.”

Read more in-depth stories on top 2022 MLB draft prospects at Baseball Prospect Journal.

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Video of Logan Tanner.

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.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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