Antoine Duplantis, LSU

LSU spark plug Antoine Duplantis (LSU Athletics)


Top 25 Breakdown: No. 5 LSU


 2016 Record: 45-21. RPI: 9.
Coach (Record at school): Paul Mainieri (459-182-3 in 10 seasons).
Ballpark: Alex Box Stadium (10,500).
Postseason History: 29 regionals (active streak: 5), 17 CWS trips (last: 2015), 6 national titles.
More: Fall Report on LSU

LSU's Projected Lineup

CMichael Papiersrki, Jr..242/.358/.3873201
1BJake Slaughter, Fr.HS—Choudrant, La. (Ouachita Christian HS)
2BCole Freeman, Sr..329/.427/.40312726
3BJosh Smith, Fr.HS—Greenwell Springs, La. (Catholic)
SSKramer Robertson, Jr..324/.417/.44023914
LFBeau Jordan, Jr..286/.354/.3794395
CFAntoine Duplantis, So..327/.404/.41923913
RFGreg Deichmann, Jr..288/.346/.51311575
DHBryce Jordan, Jr..293/.419/.4105330
RHPAlex Lange, Jr.8-43.79111.2125490
LHPJared Poche, Sr.9-43.3510287370
RHPEric Walker, Fr.Arlington, Texas (Martin HS)
RHPHunter Newman, Sr.1-12.133840158

Grading The Tigers

Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

Hitting: 70

If history is any indication, the Tigers will have one of the more prolific offenses in the SEC and college baseball. LSU entered last season with a plethora of question marks, but steadily improved as the season progressed and ended the year with a team batting average just shy of .295. That after losing almost every key piece of the starting lineup.

Of course, the Tigers, after rising to the occasion last season, have a bigger target on their backs. But this lineup is more mature and looks stout throughout. Getting a dirtbag-type player like Robertson back in the mix is huge, while Freeman is a speedster who can make a lot of things happen.

For my money, Deichmann is the one who will have a breakout, highly productive campaign, while Duplantis, who already is a good hitter, looks to become a bigger overall weapon. From a newcomer standpoint, Slaughter can be an instant impact guy with his overall approach and power and Smith is a guy who can smack the ball into the power alleys, while also showing a mature and consistent approach.

Furthermore, the Jordan brothers have a good approach and will grind out at bats and the “lying in the weeds” player could be Papierski behind the plate. He’s got some pop in his bat, but has struggled immensely at the plate since his arrival in Baton Rouge.  There’s a chance the veteran puts all the pieces together, and if he does, it takes the already-impressive LSU lineup to another level.

The other item to keep an eye on with this unit is the philosophical approach. LSU’s hitters had very good synergy with former hitting coach Andy Cannizaro. And while the buzz around Baton Rouge is extremely positive on Micah Gibbs, Cannizaro still leaves behind some big shoes to fill.


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