As the professional baseball season approaches, the spotlight is on the former LSU players making their mark in the Major League Baseball (MLB). LSU has a rich tradition of producing talented athletes, and this year is no exception. With eight former Tigers expected to play significant roles in the big leagues, let’s take a closer look at their expectations for the 2023 season.
Alex Bregman: A Star in the Making
Alex Bregman, a standout at LSU, has quickly risen to stardom in the MLB. With impressive performances that led to top-five MVP voting finishes in 2018 and 2019, Bregman has proven to be one of the game’s best and most consistent hitters. As a key player for the Astros, he aims to help defend their World Series title.
Kevin Gausman: Finding His Groove
Kevin Gausman’s journey in the MLB had its ups and downs, but he has finally found his footing. With an impressive 2021 season with the Giants, Gausman secured a substantial contract with the Blue Jays. He continued his success in 2022, showcasing the best WAR of his career. Now with the Jays again, Gausman looks to build on his achievements.
Jake Fraley: A Rising Star
Fraley, who spent time with the Mariners before joining the Reds, had an outstanding 2022 season, batting .259 with a career-high 118 OPS+. With excellent batting and strong defensive skills, he has impressed in spring training. While he faces challenges against left-handed pitching, his potential is undeniable, offering the Reds a promising outfield option.
Alex Lange: The Reliever with Potential
Alex Lange, once an ace at LSU, has transitioned to a relief role with the Detroit Tigers. Despite some control issues, Lange has shown improvement in his performance, reducing his ERA and increasing his strikeout rate. As he gains experience, he could become a vital asset to the Tigers bullpen and possibly even their closer.
DJ LeMahieu: A Veteran’s Journey
DJ LeMahieu, a veteran of the MLB since 2011, has had an illustrious career. With batting titles and several seasons hitting over .300, he remains a force to be reckoned with. While age may be catching up with him, LeMahieu’s experience and skills make him a valuable player for the Yankees.
Aaron Nola: A Dominant Presence
Aaron Nola, who dominated during his time at LSU, has become one of the MLB’s top pitchers in recent years. With an impressive WAR since his debut in 2015, Nola consistently delivers excellent performances, making him a pivotal part of the Phillies’ success. As a bona fide ace, he is a formidable force on the mound.
Austin Nola: A Versatile Talent
Austin Nola’s journey to the MLB took an unusual path, transitioning from a shortstop to a catcher. Despite making his debut at the age of 29, he has proven himself to be a valuable player for the Padres. With consistent hitting and defensive skills, Nola has become a reliable asset behind the plate.
Josh Smith: A Utility Player on the Rise
Josh Smith, a member of LSU’s 2017 team that reached the CWS final, made his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers last year. As a modern utility player, he has displayed versatility by playing multiple positions. With his defensive prowess and impressive walking ability, Smith offers depth and potential for the Rangers.
As LSU continues to produce top-tier talent, these former Tigers are making a significant impact in the MLB. From star veterans to rising stars and versatile players, the LSU baseball roster is a testament to the university’s commitment to excellence in sports. As the 2023 season unfolds, fans eagerly await the impressive performances these players will undoubtedly deliver on the big league stage. Follow all the latest updates and news about LSU Tigers baseball at LSU Tigers Wire.