Alex Box, along with the rest of us, has been craving the smell of popcorn and the deafening roar of baseball fans. Well, the wait is over because the baseball season is here baby! Baseball holds a special place in my heart, I remember watching baseball with my poppy when I was little, and the only thing I love more than baseball is LSU baseball.
For the past ten years, the LSU Tigers have made it to the College World Series three times and the NCAA tournament a total of eight times since they won the NCAA tournament in 2009. They have come so close to sweet victory but never seem to have that extra edge that puts them over the top, but I think the 2019 season will be different.
The 2018 season records put LSU at number two in Baseball America Magazine and number one in Perfect Game USA's preseason top 25. The new recruiting class on this year's roster is top notch. These new recruits are bursting with talent. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I am excited to see the damage these boys are going to do on the field.
There are a few newbies you should keep an eye on because you are going to be hearing a lot about them. Sophomore Saul Garza is the first legitimately good catcher we have seen in a few years, and Garza could be one of the dirty little secrets that get us to Omaha. In 2017, he was selected in the 31st round of the MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Garza is good for more than just catching — last season, when he played for a JUCO, he hit an amazing 23 home runs.
Freshman Jaden Hill is one of those flat-out athletic, talented kids. On top of being selected 38th in the MLB draft in 2018, he was also a highly recruited quarterback. Being a right-handed pitcher is nothing special (you can find a right-handed pitcher literally anywhere), so what puts Hill over the top?
Well, aside from throwing a fastball with an average speed in the mid-'90s, he also has impressive accuracy. In 2018 he had a 7-0 record on the mound, striking out 85 batters while also hitting 11 home runs. Along with Hill, another pitcher I am excited to see in action is Landon Marceaux. In 2018 he was selected in the 37th round by the New York Yankees. He was named the number one high school player in Louisiana by Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. What makes Marceaux so impressive is his accuracy and his control of his four-pitch mix.
One of the players I am the most excited to see is freshman Cade Beloso. Now I might be slightly biased because of our shared alma mater (Go Patriots), but this kid is a force to be reckoned with. Being a left-handed thrower and hitter, Beloso is that extra edge LSU has been missing for the past few years. This dude is overflowing with power; he was built to hit with some of his top exit speeds ranging from 102-108.5 mph and a batting average of .500. Beloso was named All-Metro Player of the Year (2017 and 2018) by New Orleans Advocate and The Times-Picayune. He also received All-America titles from Rawlings Sports, Perfect Game, Baseball America, Prep Baseball Report, Collegiate Baseball, and Max Preps.
I believe that the 2019 baseball season for the LSU Tigers will be one to remember. With the great players we already had on the roster along with this amazing recruitment class, I have no problem betting on the LSU Tigers to take it all. No matter if you're interested in a 3 carat stone or a 3 run walk-off (thanks Beloso)...Diamonds really are a girl's best friend.