LSU Coach Paul Mainieri

2020 LSU baseball season is right around the corner

Kristian Garic
January 24, 2020 - 8:03 am

Right now everyone is championship crazed in South Louisiana, but LSU baseball’s season opener is right around the corner. On February 14th the LSU baseball Tigers’ three game series against Indiana begins. The Tigers’ disappointing exit from last year’s post-season still doesn’t sit well with some LSU fans.

This year the Tigers don’t have a roster loaded with proven upperclassmen. Instead this team littered with young promising talent. The Tigers feature an incredibly strong pitching rotation. The question remains; will they be able to stay healthy? Last year the Tigers pitching staff was beset by injuries to just about every pitcher. Coach Paul Mainieri and his staff hopes the issues are sorted out.

Sophomore Cole Henry figures to be the Friday night ace. Henry really emerged mid-season last year, but went down with an injury that stunted his growth. When Henry’s healthy, he’s a Friday night premier arm in the country. The weekend pitching rotation appears to be Henry on Friday, sophomore Landon Marceaux on Saturday’s and sophomore right hander Jaden Hill. The mid-week starter figures to be Junior Erik Walker, who is now a full season removed from Tommy John Surgery.

The LSU bullpen is especially deep with experience. Middle relievers Ma’Khail Hilliard, and Mathew Beck will be reliable arms out of the bullpen. Junior right hander Trent Vietmeier will have a roll likely as the set-up guy for junior Devin Fontenot as the team’s closer. The arms race doesn’t stop there. The Tigers have two left handed pitchers - freshman Jacob Hasty and Junior Brandon Kaminer. The Tigers didn’t have any southpaws on the roster last year and at times were vulnerable in the middle/late innings trying to get matchup specific advantages. The bottom line…this LSU baseball team will go as far as their pitching staff takes them.

Catcher Saul Garza, first baseman Cade Beloso and outfielder Daniel Cabrera are veteran hitters who can provide serious pop at the plate. Sophomore Giovanni DiGiacomo is a speedster who should bat leadoff and man the centerfield position. Freshman Cade Doughty figures to be the everyday short stop. Veteran holdover Hal Hughes will be in the mix in some capacity in the infield. The second base and third base position battles are wide open. Sophomore Gavin Dugas and Drew Bianco are in the running for those spots. Right field is also a position that is an open competition. Sophomore CJ Willis might be the front runner to land that gig.

I’ve covered LSU baseball for 11 seasons now and one thing I’ve learned is the opening day roster is never the final roster you see in the post-season. Some jobs will be locked down for the entire season, other jobs will open, close and re-open again at some point.

What is the reasonable expectation for this year’s Tigers? I say reasonable, because in today’s college baseball landscape Omaha or bust is flat out unrealistic. If the Tigers pitching staff can keep the team competitive until the offense figures some things out, LSU should have success. How quickly will the young players turn the corner and become Tiger legends? That will go a long way in determining just how far this team can go. The talent is there for a regional bid, it’s always there. I think a regional at home and advancement to a Super Regional is a good possibility for the Tigers.

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