2015 A New Year, A New LSU Baseball Team

2014 is going to be hard to forget.  But it will be thousands of times easier to forget this year than it was to forget the 2013 season–a season that saw the Tigers win a record number of regular season and 57 games overall.  It will be much easier to forget this year than it was to forget the Stony Brook Super Regional.  While we’re on the topic, it will be much easier to forget this season than any of Smoke Laval’s teams.  None the less, it will still be a year when we passed up on opportunities that were just within our grasp but simply couldn’t be secured.  Now we say goodbye to yesterday–we take with us the memories….to bring our sunshine…out from the rain…..but Boyz2Men…..is so hard……to forget.

Let us move on to ponder next year and the great things that lie ahead.

2015 DC BaseballCatcher

This one seems fairly simple.  Kade Scivicque–Juco bat-for-hire this year–had some great pop in his bat and still held a pretty decent batting average.  Besides having some careless AB’s in key moments this year (Other than Bregman, who didn’t, right?), Scivicque has been really productive and fairly consistent.  He should be able to hold onto this position as Mike Papierski, a 2015 Tiger catcher commitment, who may not even make it to campus with his draft stock rising as it is.

Papierski appears to be the second coming of Micah Gibbs.  He is a switch hitting catcher with the ability to hit for power.  That’s an exciting combination and one that may lure him into the pros early.  Chris Chinea will likely fill in for Scivicque when he needs a rest but can also come in for work against lefty pitchers, as Chinea was very good in that role this year.

First Base

This will likely be a spot where the odd man out in the catcher competition falls to find a home.  That may mean Tyler Moore, but could also mean Chinea, in an attempt to get the hitter/catcher more AB’s.

One of the Jordan (Bryce or Beau) boys could fall into this slot if either of them have a standout fall.  If, by chance, Bobby Bradly doesn’t go in the first six to ten rounds of the MLB Draft (which seems unlikely at this point) he could easily see regular time here.

Second Base

When Connor Hale isn’t playing second base he sure better be playing First Base.  That’s for certain.  But just as certain: Hale will have the majority of opportunities at 2B.  He’s got a terrific swing with hints of power and had a great 2014 season.  It’s hard to imagine him not taking a huge leap forward after a year in the SEC and division 1–especially having this summer to get some play time in the summer leagues to improve his game.  When Hale hasn’t been at second base, Kramer Robertson, has been spectacular in filling in for him this year with solid defense.  He isn’t in the game for his offense (though, we said the exact same thing about Andrew Stevenson this time last year) but his defense at second makes him a decent option.

Shortstop

Alex Bregman.  Have a great year, Alex, it will likely be your last and I hope that it’s a great one.  It has been a pleasure watching you and I hope you do great in the pros!

Third Base

Gregory Deichmann, Bregman’s successor in 2016 at shortstop, has declared to MLB teams that he will not be signing and will be attending LSU this fall.  That’s great news because he is a highly talented young shortstop.  Scouts laud his power at the plate as well as his defensive ability.  He may not be a Bregman in the field, but he appears to be is a some percentage of that type of talent and also adds a bit more of a “Scivicque-type-swinger” at the plate.  I’d expect both the good and bad aspects of that comparison to ring true, especially for a freshman.  Bobby Bradley, in the unlikely event he does make it to campus, could be a factor at this spot as well.

Outfield

Next year, same as the last year.  I cannot imagine a scenario where Jake Fraley, Andrew Stevenson and Mark Laird (in that order) are not manning our outfield next year.  This could easily be thrown off, of course, if Laird signs with an MLB team.  As for the rest of the crew, Sciambra and Foster will continue to be pinch runner fill-ins (not that they’re not talented because both of them have proven to be great in the outfield) and Cade Stone, well, who knows what’s going on here because we didn’t really see much of him this year.

Designated Hitter

Chris Chinea or one of the Jordan’s (Bryce or Beau) will fill in here.  Chinea has a pretty decent bat, especially against southpaws, but isn’t as polished as Scivicque or Moore and therefore gets left off of the 1b and Catcher top nods.  If we were to have several commits turn pro from high school then you may see Chinea batting DH.  More likely though, would be one of the Jordan brothers to fill this role.  Another option would be that the designated hitter role could also be a landing zone for the odd men out in the competitions for first base  and catcher.

Starting Pitcher — Number 1 Option

Jared Poche — he’s been our best option not named Nola this year and no reason to think anything will change there.  He doesn’t blow you away with speed but he’s consistent and consistently gathering outs–that makes for a great first option.  He’s not a Gausman or a Nola but he does what he has to do and still has plenty of time to develop more overpowering stuff.  It would be nice to see him find a finishing pitch, though that may be asking too much.

Starting Pitcher — Number 2 Option

This is where options get messy.  You see, I’d love to watch Kyle Bouman progress into a weekend starter but, if he does, is that simply saying that we have a lack of options, or has he really progressed?  At any rate, Bouman definitely has the ability to become a starter and we hope that this happens.  If somehow it does NOT happen there are several great options to choose from.  This is only with the hope that the MLB draft (WHICH IS TODAY!) works out well for us.  “Working out well” for LSU would be defined as the quartet of incoming freshman pitchers (Jake Latz, Jake Godfrey, Mac Marshall Alex Lange) not being selected until after the 10th round.  The likelihood of all of them pushing back that far is close to nil.  But, it’s likely that we’ll come out with at least three of those five which would be terrific.

Mac Marshall is the least likely to make his way to campus this fall as he’s projected to go in the first five rounds by most experts.  Also high on scouts’ lists are Alex Lange and Jake Godfrey but they fall somewhere in the grey area of draftees, anywhere from the 6th to the 12th round.  So, we will have to see how this weekend and likely the summer signing period shakes out to further solidify our pitching rotation.  But, for now, we can say that Bouman has the job to lose.

Starting Pitcher — Number 3/4 Option

Not withstanding the barrage of impactful players mentioned above, two men who could also fill these roles happen to be the same three men who were all on the IR this year: Hunter Newman, Christian Palaez and Russell Reynolds.  All three, except for Palaez, have seen some live game action with LSU.  In those games they have shined.  Palaez is more of a question mark, but he showed great potential coming out of high school.  Alden Cartwright, if his abilities continue to progress over the summer, would also have to be considered.  Especially with the work he did during the closing days of the regular season.

Closer

Joe Broussard obviously has an open invitation to fill the closer’s role if he decides not to turn pro.  If he does turn pro, it is likely the closer role would be filled by a committee early on in 2015 until someone from that group rises above the rest as the regular season progresses.  The likely committee members could be comprised of: Parker Bugg, Zac Person, Hunter Devall and Henri Faucheux as they all chipped in with setup roles at some point this year.

 

As the summer progresses, look out for summer league assignments and statistics on Tiger players and commitments.  And, as always, GEAUX TIGERS!!!!

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