LSU Lineup Breakdown

The Tigers will bring an experienced lineup against FSU this weekend, with just 1 freshman starter. LSU isn’t the most powerful offense, they usually have to string together a few hits to create runs. Throughout the regular season, LSU averaged 6.5 runs per game. In their regional, the Tigers averaged 10.3 R/G, most of which came in a 17-run outburst against Stony Brook. LSU has put up 10+ runs 15 times this season, while being held to 2 runs or less 14 times. The offense can be very hit or miss for the Tigers. On the season, LSU has hit 63 HR’s, but in their regional, the Tigers put up 6 bombs. When LSU does not hit a HR, its record is just 12-15. If FSU can keep the Tigers from the big hit, it could result in a trip to Omaha.

Here’s a breakdown of LSU’s lineup heading into Saturday’s opener (this is the lineup LSU last had on the field).

SS Josh Smith, LH- .346 AVG/.436 OBP/.533 SLG/68 Runs/9 HR’s/41 RBI/20 SB’s

Smith is one of the most dynamic players in college baseball, hitting for power and having speed to steal multiple bags. Smith also plays some of the best defensive SS in baseball. After being named a freshman All-American in 2017, Smith only played 6 games in 2018 with a stress fracture in his back. He was selected on the first day of the draft on Monday by the Yankees in the first round. Josh can get on base in any way, a bunt, a walk, an HBP, or an XBH. FSU needs to keep Smith off the base paths at the top of the LSU order to have a chance to slow down the Tiger offense this weekend.

2B Brandt Broussard, RH- .256 AVG/.330 OBP/.314 SLG/32 Runs/1 HR/19 RBI/9 SB’s

Broussard transferred to LSU for the 2018 season after 2 seasons dominating the JUCO ranks at Delgado CC. Broussard has been a starter ever since he stepped on LSU’s campus, starting 51 games last season and 44 this season. The 2B is a scrappy player that can make a defense uncomfortable. He’s not a power hitter, but he will put the ball in play, as he’s only struck out 19 times this season. Broussard will try to get on and make noise on the base paths in front of the middle of the LSU order.

RF Antoine Duplantis, LH- .319 AVG/.373 OBP/.493 SLG/61 Runs/11 HR’s/64 RBI/6 SB’s

Duplantis will go down as one of the best college players as all time, as he set the LSU career hit record last weekend in the regional. In all 4 years at LSU, he has hit for at least a .316 average. 2019 has been the first year that Duplantis has broke out in the power department. In the first 3 years at LSU, Duplantis put up a total of 6 HR’s, this year he has 11. Duplantis is a scrappy player that impacts the game in every single way possible. FSU’s pitching staff has to do their best to limit the damage he can make this weekend. Antoine was recently taken in the 12th round of the draft by the Mets.

LF Daniel Cabrera, LH- .286 AVG/.360 OBP/.525 SLG/39 Runs/12 HR’s/49 RBI/1 SB

Cabrera broke out as a freshman All-American in 2018 and hasn’t missed a beat in 2019. The sophomore’s average and OBP have gone down a tick, but the power numbers have gone up. Cabrera is the most powerful bat in the Tigers’ lineup and the Noles’ pitching staff has to make sure to stay away from hanging off speed to the 6’1, 191 lefty. Cabrera is susceptible to a lot of swing and miss, so I would expect FSU to pitch outside of the zone to him and try to get chases and swing and misses.

CF Zach Watson, RH- .310 AVG/.377 OBP/.476 SLG/52 Runs/7 HR’s/41 RBI/11 SB’s

Watson is a five-tool player as he possesses power, hitting for average, speed, a great glove, and a strong arm. Watson may be the player with the best potential in the pros, as he can do it all. Watson was another freshman All-American in 2017 and also a Gold Glover in 2018. Watson has been consistent through his 3 years at LSU, hitting above .300 each year of his college career, while also putting up 10+ SB’s each year. Watson was taken in the 3rd round of the draft by the Orioles. FSU has to be careful with him this weekend.

C Saul Garza, RH- .309 AVG/.366 OBP/.493 SLG/20 Runs/5 HR’s/27 RBI/0 SB’s

Garza has been the backstop of the Tigers’ team in his first year at LSU, after transferring there from Howard Junior College. Garza hasn’t shown much power this year, but he hit 23 HR’s last year in JUCO, so he isn’t a batter to overlook. Garza has been consistent this season, as he sits above .300 with his batting average. He is susceptible to swing and misses, as he’s struck out 32 times in 40 starts. Garza is a good receiver behind the plate but struggles to throw out runners, only catching 2 of 25 attempted stolen bases this season.

DH Cade Beloso, LH- .288 AVG/.343 OBP/.443 SLG/29 Runs/10 HR’s/52 RBI/1 SB

Beloso is the lone freshman in the starting lineup, and he hasn’t disappointed. Beloso showed that he can hit for lots of power and be clutch with runners on base. He currently sits at 2nd on the team with 52 RBI’s and 3rd in HRs with 10. Beloso is a sweet-swinging lefty that can change a game with just 1 swing. He’s a guy that can get out of his swings at times and chase, as he’s struck out 40 times and walked just 17 times.

1B Chris Reid, LH- .256 AVG/.389 OBP/.346 SLG/31 Runs/1 HR/32 RBI/1 SB

After starting his freshman year, Reid had back-to-back seasons of coming off the bench for the Tigers, but this year Reid has been back to starting. The senior has a great eye at the bottom of the order, as he’s walked 34 times this season, compared to 31 strikeouts. The lefty doesn’t have much power, but he puts the ball in play and gets on base at the bottom of the Tigers’ lineup while bringing veteran leadership to the team.

3B Hal Hughes, RH- .177 AVG/.288 OBP/.190 SLG/20 Runs/0 HR/11 RBI/2 SB’s

Hughes is in the lineup for one reason, his defense. Hughes has really struggled at the dish this year, but without many other options at 3B, head coach Paul Mainieri has stuck with the sophomore. Despite putting up just 2 XBH’s and a .177 average this year, Hughes has started 41 games, including all 3 games in the Baton Rouge regional. FSU can’t let Hughes do any damage this weekend at the double leadoff man in the LSU lineup.

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