LSU Athletics/courtesy
Sophomore right-hander Zack Hess should return for his junior season in 2019 after falling out of the first 10 rounds of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Everything aligned perfectly, LSU baseball should dominate 2019

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

Wow, that was a surprise

The first 10 rounds of the 2018 MLB Draft came and went Monday and Tuesday and, to the surprise of virtually everyone involved, none of LSU baseball’s three most-touted players were selected. The Colorado Rockies picked left-handed pitcher Nick Bush in the eighth round Tuesday, but outfielders Zach Watson and Antoine Duplantis and right-handed pitcher Zack Hess remain undrafted, setting the stage for likely returns for all three.

Watson and Hess were projected as top-100 prospects in this draft, making their falls likely more related to being unable to agree on contract terms than talent related. But if that’s the case, that’s better for LSU. Returning Hess and Watson for their respective junior seasons could be huge because of the flexibility it affords coach Paul Mainieri.

Because in addition to the high likelihood of returning Hess, Watson and Duplantis, LSU now has high chances to sign top-200 prospects Elijah Cabell, Landon Marceaux, Cole Henry and Jaden Hill. That quartet, comprising four of LSU’s top six signees in the 2018 recruiting class, remains undrafted as well.

Bringing in Marceaux, Henry and Hill, all pitchers, increases the leverage of LSU using Hess as a closer instead of a starter, especially with Eric Walker coming back from his elbow injury, and Cabell could join Watson, Duplantis and freshman phenom Daniel Cabrera in a crowded outfield.

Throw all of these names together and you have the potential of a starting lineup that looks a little like this:

  • Catcher: Hunter Feduccia
  • First base: Jake Slaughter
  • Second base: Brandt Broussard
  • Shortstop: Hal Hughes
  • Third base: Josh Smith
  • Left field: Elijah Cabell
  • Center field: Zach Watson
  • Right field: Antoine Duplantis
  • Designated hitter: Daniel Cabrera
  • Friday starter: Eric Walker
  • Saturday starter: Ma’Khail Hilliard
  • Sunday starter: AJ Labas/Nick Storz
  • Relief ace: Zack Hess
  • Closer: Todd Peterson
  • Bullpen arms: Matthew Beck, Cam Sanders, Devin Fontenot, freshmen pitchers

That’s not mentioning the rest of LSU’s recruiting class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation behind Vanderbilt. And while Vanderbilt has had five signees drafted thus far, LSU has only had two. Infuse LSU’s existing roster with all of those names and you have one of the deepest and most talented LSU teams in recent memory. And that’s saying something.

It’s hard to imagine someone happier after Tuesday than Paul Mainieri. Hess will likely come back. Watson will likely come back. Duplantis will likely come back. Most of the team’s deep and impressive recruiting class is expected to sign. Everything is coming together perfectly for LSU, and that’s great for a team in need of a win after last weekend.

As for LSU football …

Baseball is the best, but I know some of you are LSU fans exclusively because of football. If that’s the case, here’s a video to whet your appetites while we wait for September to roll around and bring us football action.

Those are some sweaty men working out in the Louisiana sun. That’s what summer is for, I guess. But if the LSU players of the present don’t do it for you, how about a throwback photo from LSU great Jamal Adams, longing for the days on the Bayou with his teammates?

Ah yes, the good ol’ days of two years ago. Good times.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, June 6 is “National Eyewear Day.” Which, as a person dangerously close to legal blindness, is a day dear to me. I’m not one of those folks who wears glasses as a fashion choice. It’s because I like seeing things. Trust me: Sight isn’t overrated.

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, be sure to flaunt it on this day. Because you can. And it’s something to talk about, I guess. If you’re bored bring up this holiday. It’ll sustain at least three sentences of conversation. Guaranteed.