BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU baseball team is losing a lot heading into the 2018 season, but nowhere is the loss going to be more noticeable than in right field where the Tigers have to replace All-American slugger Greg Deichmann.
At this point in the summer, the competition to replace Deichmann has yet to be decided. But LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said Wednesday that it likely will come down to three names: senior Beau Jordan and freshmen Daniel Cabrera and Nick Webre.
Everyone knows Jordan at this point. He was the Tigers’ regular designated hitter in the postseason and a key bottom-of-the-lineup bat for LSU’s College World Series run. He’s not the type of player who will replace Deichmann’s 19 home runs, or a player who will draw more than 50 walks as Deichmann did.
But after hitting .268 with four home runs in 2017, the Tigers could do a lot worse than Jordan.
Still, the upside on the two freshmen is significantly higher.
First there’s Cabrera. A two-way high school player capable of working as a left-handed pitcher and as an outfielder, he played his senior year at Parkview Baptist High School in Baton Rouge by way of John Curtis High School in New Orleans. He was drafted in the 26th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, but elected to play out his eligibility with the LSU baseball team instead.
Cabrera is a prototypically-sized outfielder at 6 foot 1 and 185 pounds. He has spent the summer working in the Cal Ripken League, where he was voted to the All-Star Team. He is hitting .333 with three home runs and 21 runs scored in 30 games this summer.
“He’s either leading off or batting three-hole,” Mainieri added. “He’s just having a tremendous summer. Last time I checked I think he had four strikeouts in 100 at-bats, as well as a couple of home runs and several doubles. I think we’re getting a really good ballplayer there.”
If what Cabrera is doing is “tremendous,” we will need to make up some new adjectives to describe Webre’s summer. Playing with the Danville Dans of the Prospect League, Webre (pronounced “Web”) is hitting .362 with five home runs, seven doubles and 17 stolen bases in 38 games played.
Given his history of success, this should come as no surprise. As a junior at Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, Webre was named Mr. Baseball for the state of Louisiana, winning the award over the likes of Zach Watson, Josh Smith and Jake Slaughter. Teurlings also won the state championship that season.
“Nick Webre is going to come to LSU and hit the ball with authority from the time he steps on campus,” Mainieri said. “He has continued to play well as a corner outfielder and, most importantly, brings us another impact-type left-handed bat. I’m fired up to see what this young man can do against SEC pitching.”
Like Webre, Cabrera swings left-handed as well. If either of them were to win the starting job, they would both be able to replace Greg Deichmann’s left-handed swing in the lineup.
Just don’t expect either to pile up 19 home runs with a .579 slugging percentage as a true freshman.