By Jeff Palermo
LSU baseball had its most successful season since winning the national championship in 2009 and Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the pieces are in place to make it to Omaha again next year. Moran says the biggest question is with the starting rotation as the Tigers top two starters, Alex Lange and Jared Poche, are moving on to pro ball.
"What do you do with Zack Hess," Moran said. "Do you think he's your front of your rotation starter, keep him in the bullpen as a lock down closer, I don't know at this point. It will have a lot to do with the health of Eric Walker. We have yet to get a diagnose on him after he getting shut down during the College World Series, so that will be something to monitor."
Moran says the 2018 Tigers will feature several players returning from the 2017 national runner-up club. He says Antoine Duplantis, Zach Watson, Josh Smith and Jake Slaughter will be counted on to lead the way early next year.
"I expect it to be kind of like the 2016 team, where at the start of the year, maybe it's kind of a mess, takes a little while to figure out things, they have enough really good ball players that I wouldn't expect to much of a dip," Moran said.
Moran says the LSU coaching staff is also bringing in another good group of freshmen.
"Daniel Cabrera will probably be their every day right fielder at least I think that's the plan going in. He's a Parkview Baptist kid that they have pretty high hopes for. Mason Doolittle is a catcher they really like and Nick Storz is probably the pitcher that I would point too."
Doolittle is a catcher from Jupiter, Florida, while Storz is from Brooklyn. He's 6-foot-6 and can play outfield as well. The Detroit Tigers selected him in the 31st round, but he's expected to play at LSU next year.
Baseball America does not project the LSU Tigers will return to Omaha next year and compete in the College World Series.