2016 LSU baseball preview: Lineup projections and roster breakdown

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LSU baseball
Jun 16, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher Alex Lange (35) throws against Cal State Fullerton Titans during the seventh inning in the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. LSU won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports /


Alex Lange took the SEC by storm last year, going 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA on his way to being named 2015 SEC Freshman of the Year, a First-Team All-American and the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year.

Lange settled into his spot as the Saturday starter last season, while Jared Poche did a solid job as the Friday night starter. Poche finished the year with a 9-2 record and 3.05 ERA in 18 starts. Whether the two flip this year with Lange on Friday night and Poche on Saturday, or they remain in the same role, the Tigers are set with a strong 1-2 punch.

Much like 2015, LSU is unpredictable beyond its first two starters. The Tigers never committed to one Sunday starter last season, opting to use a carousel of relief pitchers known as Jack Wholestaff instead, so they will be tasked with finding someone to fill in that spot in 2016. There are plenty lot of options, but at the moment, it does not appear that one player has emerged as the frontrunner to fill the No. 3 starter role.

Freshman Jake Latz, who redshirted last year after a left elbow injury, is one pitcher that is in the mix. Sophomores Austin Bain and Doug Norman, along with junior Russell Reynolds, are other potential options. Bain, Norman and Reynolds are the only returning pitchers that started more than one game for the Tigers last year, aside from Lange and Poche. JUCO transfer Riley Smith and Akron transfer John Valek III could play large roles as well. Valek served as Akron’s No. 1 starter last year, earning First Team All Mid-American honors after tossing 62 strikeouts and posting a 3.25 ERA during his junior campaign.

Whoever does not claim the No. 3 starter job will likely shift into a weekday starter role or to the bullpen, joining Hunter Devall, Collin Strall, Alden Cartwright, Jesse Stallings, Parker Bugg and Hunter Newman.

New signees have a chance to impact the pitching staff as well, with Nick Bush, Brennan Breaux, Cole McKay and Caleb Gilbert joining the team this year.

Projected Starters: Alex Lange (Friday), Jared Poche (Saturday), Jake Latz (Sunday),

Projected Closer: Jesse Stallings 

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