This past weekend was a big one as LSU picked up a pair of commitments, one from the 2015 class and the other a 2016 prospect. TSD’s Hunter Paniagua will break down all the latest on the LSU recruiting front, giving you some insight into the future of Tiger baseball.
First, let’s take a look at the LSU commit list for the Class of 2015:
RHP Cole McKay — 6-5, 230 — Spring Branch, Texas
SS/3B O’Neal Lochridge — 6-1, 200 — Lafayette, La.
RHP Caleb Gilbert — 6-2, 180 — Hoover, Ala.
CF Brennan Breaux — 6-0, 180 — Scott, La.
MIF Christopher Reid — 5-10, 183 — Baton Rouge, La.
MIF Dylon Poncho — 5-9, 175 — Elton, La.
CF Antoine Duplantis — 5-11, 180 — Lafayette, La.
LHP Nick Bush — 6-1, 175 — Leesburg, Ga.
SS Brody Wofford — 6-2, 180 — Rome, Ga.
Brody Wofford’s the most recent addition to LSU’s class after committing this past weekend. LSU has only recruited him for about a month, but it didn’t take him long to decide to be a Tiger. New LSU hitting coach Andy Cannizaro discovered Wofford at a tournament in California and invited him to Baton Rouge for a visit. That trip was all it took.
“I knew I liked LSU but after experiencing the atmosphere and meeting with the great coaching staff, I knew it would be a great fit for me,” Wofford said.
Wofford is now the top hitting prospect in LSU’s class. He already has a strong frame at 6-2, 180 that should add more as he develops. He has legitimate power from the left side of the plate, and he’s a potential middle-of-the-lineup hitter in college. He’s a high school shortstop, but he has enough range and athleticism to play the outfield as well.
Taking a quick look at the rest of the class, Cole McKay is the headliner. A big, physical righty, McKay will definitely be a starter on the next level. He has a fastball that sits in the lower 90s, tops out at 94-95, with a plus-curveball and solid changeup. If there’s a potential signee LSU will have to sweat with the MLB Draft, it’s McKay.
The southpaw Nick Bush is another promising pitching prospect. He isn’t a fireballer with a fastball that mostly sits in the upper 80s, but he’s a strike thrower and keeps the ball low in the zone. He has a deceptive changeup that drops about 10-15 mph from his fastball and a curveball he relies on as well.
Looking at the in-state prospects, O’Neal Lochridge is the state’s best. A smooth defensive shortstop, Lochridge also has a strong frame that should add power as well. The Tigers are also loading up on speedy, left-handed outfielders to replace Andrew Stevenson and Mark Laird. Brennan Breaux and Antoine Duplantis fit that mold, and LSU’s excited about what they’ll bring defensively.
---LSU will likely add some junior college prospects to this class before it’s all over. The Tigers are looking for a shortstop to help usher in the post-Alex Bregman era. Though there are potential replacements already on the roster — like Kramer Robertson, Grayson Byrd or Greg Deichmann — LSU will have to wait for fall practices in October to see if they’re up to the task. The Tigers will likely add a JUCO SS to have that veteran option.
LSU will also be in the market for a JUCO catcher. Chris Chinea and Kade Scivicque will graduate after this season. Mike Papierski and Bryce Jordan will be freshmen in 2015, so the Tigers will want to have a more veteran backstop to have in the mix with those two youngsters.
LSU already has one in mind with LSU-Eunice catcher Jordan Romero. He started 39 games a year ago, hitting .345 with three homers and 32 RBI. The Tigers will keep a close eye on him this year and it’s likely they make a push to add him to this class at some point.
---The LSU coaching staff will host their commits on official visits later this fall. Half of the class will take their visit when the football team plays Kentucky on Oct. 18, and the other half will come when the Tigers play Alabama on Nov. 8.
Now let’s look way ahead at what LSU has assembled for the Class of 2016.
RHP Brennan Maddox — 6-0, 190 — Grant, La.
MIF Josh Smith — 5-10, 175 — Baton Rouge, La.
MIF Zach Watson — 6-0, 162 — Ruston, La.
MIF Jake Slaughter — 6-1, 190 — Monroe, La.
RHP Eric Walker — 6-1, 170 — Grapevine, Texas
3B Mason Templet — 6-1, 190 — Youngsville, La.
Mason Templet (pronounced TOM-play) is the most recent commit after making his pledge this past weekend. He’s someone LSU has tracked since the spring as the starting third baseman for state champs St. Thomas More. He’s the third LSU commit from that baseball powerhouse, joining 2015 pledges Brennan Breaux and O’Neal Lochridge.
Eric Walker’s another recent addition, committing over the summer. Pitching coach Alan Dunn led the way in his recruitment, and he’s a decent prospect with a fastball that touches 89 mph.
LSU already has a trio of promising in-state infielders locked up with Josh Smith, Jake Slaughter and Zach Watson. Some have compared Smith to fellow Catholic High standout Austin Nola, saying he’s even farther along defensively than Nola was at that stage. The LSU coaches also believe Brennan Maddox will be the state’s next great pitcher.
Don’t forget about Feleipe Franks either. The LSU football commit intends to play baseball in college as well. He’s already talked to the baseball staff about it, and the door will be open for him to be a dual-sport athlete on the next level.
---This weekend LSU will host one of the nation’s best 2016 prospects for a visit. Riley Pint, a 6-foot-4 RHP from Kansas, can throw some absolute gas with a fastball that touches 96 mph. He also has a plus breaking ball making him an elite pitching prospect. LSU will show him what they have to offer this weekend, with hopes that makes them a very strong contender for his commitment. If the Tigers are lucky enough to get him, they’ll still likely have to fend off the professional clubs that must be drooling over his velocity.
---It’s a bit early for LSU to start diving too much into recruiting for the Class of 2017, but they do have one in-state prospect in mind. John Curtis LHP Daniel Cabrera will be the Tigers’ first target for 2017. The southpaw already has a fastball that sits in the mid-80s, and he’s shown plenty of promise. Last summer he was selected to the 15-under USA national team, going to Colombia for the Pan-AM Championships.