#3 LSU Baseball 2017 Preview

LSU Tigers
Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
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LSU is a team heading into the 2017 season that returns a ton of experience all over the field and on the mound. In 2016 the Tigers won 45 games and made it to the Super Regionals before losing in walk-off fashion to eventual national champion Coastal Carolina in game two by a score of 4-3. Alex Box Stadium is an epic environment for college baseball and, thanks to the leadership of head coach Paul Mainieri and his staff, LSU is in position to make another run to Omaha and get to the championship finals of the College World Series.
2016: 45-21, 19-11
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Paul Mainieri
Key Departed Players:
Jake Fraley, OF, .326 BA, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 28 SB
Parker Bugg, P, 39.2 IP, 3.40 ERA, 16 BB, 36 SO, 4 SV
Key Returning Players:
Cole Freeman, IF, .329 BA, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 26 SB
Antoine Duplantis, OF, .327 BA, 2 HR, 39 RBI, 13 SB
Kramer Robertson, IF, .324 BA, 2 HR, 39 RBI, 14 SB
Jordan Romero, C, .297 BA, 9 HR, 41 RBI
Bryce Jordan, IF/C, .293 BA, 5 HR, 33 RBI
Greg Deichmann, .IF, .288 BA, 11 HR, 57 RBI
Chris Reid, IF, .287 BA, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Beau Jordan, OF, .286 BA, 4 HR, 39 RBI
Jared Poche’, P, 102.0 IP, 3.35 ERA, 37 BB, 87 SO
Alex Lange, P, 111.2 IP, 3.79 ERA, 49 BB, 125 SO
Hunter Newman, P, 38.0 IP, 2.13 ERA, 15 BB, 40 SO, 8 SV
The Tigers got a very nice break in the offseason as several players passed on moving on to the minor leagues after getting drafted and came back to Baton Rouge instead. Greg Deichmann, Cole Freeman and Kramer Robertson bring back a great mix of power and speed that will drive opposing SEC pitching staffs crazy all season long. Antoine Duplantis and Beau Jordan are back in the outfield and an underrated aspect of both players’ games is their defense. Duplantis and Jordan combined for only three errors last season and it’s that type of defense that will allow the pitching staff to pitch to contact and make opposing hitters put the ball in play. Jared Poche’ and Alex Lange will be back to form a 1-2 punch on weekends that will put LSU in position to win every series right off the bat if both guys pitch to their capabilities. The bullpen brings back closer Hunter Newman who just simply goes right after hitters. Newman struck out 40 batters in 38 innings and only allowed one homerun as well. Parker Bugg’s production out of the bullpen is also going to have to be replaced after he limited opposing hitters to a .209 batting average and also did not allow a homerun in 2016. Incoming freshmen Hunter Kiel and Todd Peterson should get every opportunity to fill late inning roles to get the game to Newman in the 9th inning. Overall, the Tigers should be a top four national seed and make their way back to Omaha in 2017.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Madness 2017 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#11 Zachary Hess
#39 Todd Peterson
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#20 Alex Lange