TAYLORSVILLE, Miss. (BVM) — Before Aiden Moffett became Mississippi’s No. 1 right-handed pitcher in the Class of 2022, he was an eighth grader on varsity who, understandably, lacked confidence and consistency within his game at times.
“It was very hit or miss,” Moffett said of his eighth-grade season on varsity. “I was either really comfortable or I really wasn’t. I wasn’t like now how I strike everybody out. I could go in and throw strikes on some days and the next day, it’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh, do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?’
“It really helped with the mental toughness type deal and getting used to being in tough situations.”
The early varsity experience helped set the stage for an impressive prep career that would begin to take flight during Moffett’s freshman season. He batted .315 with two home runs and 27 RBIs at the plate while striking out 52 batters across 35 innings pitched.
But it was the summer following his freshman campaign that Moffett began to fully realize his talents. His 6-foot-2 frame continued to fill out and although the numbers from his sophomore season didn’t jump off the page, Moffett’s confidence continued to skyrocket as his game improved.
“I didn’t really make a big jump, but I could tell that I had fun doing it and that I’d gotten a lot better,” Moffett said. “Then when the high school season began and I got a bit stronger, I made a big velocity jump and that’s when I was like, ‘Oh, this is it.’
“I knew I had a lot of potential in ninth grade, eighth grade was still iffy, but going into 10th grade, I acknowledged that I could really do this for the rest of my life possibly.”
— Prep Baseball Report (@prepbaseball) February 11, 2022
Moffett struck out more batters during his junior campaign (82) than he did in his freshman and sophomore seasons combined (75) and his 4-1 record to go along with a 1.80 ERA helped Taylorsville win the MHSAA 2A state championship. After batting .354 with three home runs and 37 RBIs during the season, Moffett got the final three outs of the state title game to send the Tartars into celebration.
While Moffett’s senior season didn’t end the way he wanted it to with the same team success as the year before, he certainly saved his best individual performances for his final go-round at the high school level.
During a March 14 battle with Loyd Star, Moffett struck out an eye-popping 17 batters and gave up just two hits across seven innings pitched in a 5-1 win. He also added three hits, a double, a home run and three RBIs at the plate.
A week later, he struck out 12 batters and a week after that, sat down 15 more batters with strikes. Moffett put together a total of eight double-digit strikeout games on the season and finished the year with 128 punchouts, good for second most in the state of Mississippi.
— Aiden Moffett (@AidenMoffett1) May 7, 2022
For Moffett, it wasn’t the 9-1 record or 0.54 ERA (second-best in the state) that impressed him the most. The self-proclaimed “pitcher only” also batted .440 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs.
“Everything was just clicking, I guess I was just so comfortable,” Moffett said of his senior season. “My offspeed really improved this year and I’m so proud of that even though I still have a lot of room for improvement. That really helped with the big strikeout numbers because if you throw a fastball every time, eventually they’re going to hit it so you have to mix in other pitches.
“Then at the plate, I told myself that this is the last year you’re ever going to do this so go out swinging. I told myself I’d never go out looking. It didn’t end how it ended last year but I had fun; I have no regrets.”
— Aiden Moffett (@AidenMoffett1) March 25, 2022
Moffett has already tasted a championship at the high school level and there will be plenty of opportunity to recreate that feat in the college ranks.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound senior committed to his “dream school,” LSU, in the summer of 2020. After growing up an LSU football fan, the Tigers were the first school to recruit Moffett and despite feeling iffy following the retirement of legendary head coach Paul Mainieri last summer, Moffett said the new staff won him over again.
“When I got down there, it just felt like home; it’s really hard to pass up LSU,” Moffett said. “A degree from LSU takes you 20 steps ahead in life. All the opportunities are there, educationally and athletically. I see my next four years there changing and improving me as a person and a player; it was just the best fit.
“It was just always my dream. Even if baseball didn’t work, I’d go there for education. I feel like it was destined for me to go there. It’s a great feeling.”
Moffett is part of a loaded 2022 recruiting class for LSU that is ranked No. 1 in the nation by Perfect Game. The class features 11 Top 100 players in Perfect Game’s overall national rankings and 13 players who are ranked No. 1 at their positions in their respective states (including Moffett).
The expectations for the Tigers will be sky high moving forward, but that’s OK with Moffett.
“I’ve played with a few guys in this class and all of them are good dudes,” Moffett said. “I just know that they have one thing on their mind and that is to win. They’re putting their hearts in just like I am and I honestly think that with the recruiting LSU is doing right now, it’s very possible that we win the national championship in the next few years.
“I’m very glad just to be able to compete with people who have this ability to play baseball; they’re all freaking good. It’s pretty cool.”
— PBR Mississippi (@PBR_Mississippi) February 10, 2022