The baseball team continues to put up good, but not great offensive numbers. The highest the Tigers rank in any offensive category is third in batting average (.288). The lowest they rank in any major category is eighth in doubles (33). What this mean is LSU produces a very average offense. LSU ranks fourth in home runs (14), hits (202) and on-base percentage (.352). The Tigers are sixth in slugging percentage (.401) and runs scored (98).
There is one stat that LSU, unfortunately, leads the conference in and that is ground into double plays. The Tigers lead the conference with 23 and holds a commanding four GIDP lead over second place. The stat shows just how many inning ending plays the Tigers have hit into and the lack of power in the offense.
LSU is a singles hitting machine. When the offense has exploded, it was due to having a larger than normal amount of extra base hits. With warmer temperatures throughout the league, maybe LSU can reply on more of the big hits, but until I see it I wouldn’t count on it.
Let’s take a look at the production from the LSU offense.
You can see that the majority of the offensive production is weighted heavily on the top-four batters. Raph Rhymes continues his tare through the SEC season with a .521 batting average (.500 on the season) and would need to finish the season with a .526 average to break the SEC record.
The reason I only called Mason Katz, Ty Ross, Jacoby Jones and Rhymes the majority of the offense and did not include Austin Nola is due to their runs created (RC) stat. With exception to Nola, the rest of the batters are averaging a plus 10.0 RC, but only has only created a little over 8.0 in the 21 games. Nola has been either red- hot or ice-cold from the plate and that has accounted for his .230 average in SEC play.
A lot of talk is being made about the production of Jacoby Jones. The last couple of weekends, Jones has really struggled from the lead-off position. Jones leads the team with 20 strikeouts, not what you want from your lead off position, but the guy produces runs. From the lead-off spot Jones is third on the team in runs created and has more than twice the amount of doubles than anyone else on the team (9). Jones has to remain near the top of the line up just due to the overall talent that he has. He is similar to a shooting guard who is struggling to make shots. You don’t pull him out of the game, or ask him to quit shooting; instead you let him work it out. That is all Jones needs to do.
The offense heads into the final stages on conference play and the lineup seems to be solidifying itself. Arby Fields and Tyler Moore have filled the voids needed in center field and first base. Fields is finally looking like the player LSU was expecting when he transferred over from Northwester. He is batting .333 since being inserted into the lineup against Florida and could potentially switch orders in the lineup with Jones.
Moore hasn’t been a significant upgrade over Grant Dozar. Moore was inserted into the lineup against Florida and batted .600 over the weekend, but against Kentucky and Alabama, he batted under.200. He bounced back this weekend to bat .300 against Georgia, but the question for the freshman is whither or not he is ready to be a every day batter in post-season play.