Logan Tanner was the first native Mississippian selected in the annual Major League Baseball Amateur Draft Sunday night in Los Angeles.
And in the process, the Lucedale native made a little history on the diamond in The Magnolia State as well.
Tanner, an All-Southeastern Conference catcher, was the 55th overall selection by the Cincinnatti Reds with the 15th pick in the second round. In doing so, Tanner became the highest drafted catcher ever in the long and storied MSU baseball program history after hitting .284 in three seasons with the Bulldogs and compiling 140 hits, 17 home runs and 96 RBIs in his career. He also becomes one of the highest true catchers from Mississippi ever drafted in the 57-year history of the draft.
This past season, Tanner hit .285 with eight doubles, seven homers and 38 RBIs during his junior campaign. He earned All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors and was named to the All-SEC defensive team after recording a .990 fielding percentage and throwing out seven of 22 runners. He also allowed only three passed balls.
Tanner was named to the All-SEC Newcomer team in 2021 after batting .287 with a team-high 15 home runs, 13 doubles and 53 RBI. He posted a .525 slugging percentage and a .382 on base percentage in 67 appearances for the Bulldogs.
He was named as the Preseason First Team All-SEC catcher coming into 2022. Tanner becomes the 14th player ever drafted out of George County High School.
Tanner’s MSU teammate, pitcher Landon Sims, was the first player with ties to the state of Mississippi drafted Sunday night. The Georgia native went to the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 34th overall pick in the Competitive Balance A round. His selection made it four straight years that a Bulldog was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft.
Of course, Tanner and Sims will always have a place etched in the annals of MSU baseball history, as the catcher and closer played pivotal roles in leading Mississippi State to the 2021 College World Series National Championship.
In 2021, Sims was a consensus first-team All-America selection and earned All-SEC honors after helping lead State to a national title. The right-hander was 5-0 on the year with 13 saves in 25 appearances on the bump. He registered a 1.44 earned run average in 56.1 innings of work, while striking out 100 and walking just 15 batters on the season.
He and Tanner were on the mound and behind the plate when the Bulldogs clinched the CWS title against Vanderbilt.
Sims’ season ended earlier this year, after he suffered a season-ending arm injury less than a month into the 2022 campaign. Sims and Tanner were the only players from Mississippi drafted on the first day of the draft this year.
Mississippi State’s Will Clark remains the highest player with Mississippi ties ever drafted in the MLB Draft, as the All-American first baseman went with the second overall pick in 1985 to the San Francisco Giants. Another MSU product, pitcher B.J. Wallace was drafted third overall by the Montreal Expos in 1992.
The highest that a Mississippi High School player was ever taken in the draft was in 1969, when Ted Nicholson of Oak Park High in Laurel was picked third overall by the Chicago White Sox.
*Photo courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics