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Baseball Positional Preview: Outfield

LSU entered last season with a virtual all star team in the outfield and ended up the same, even if it was a slightly different crew than we thought.  Dean moves to the infield, Mitchell moves to the Majors, and Landry moved to the bench, so that promising unit from last year will bear little resemblance to this year's outfield.

R/R Mikie Mahtook (So) 316/377/495
L/R Leon Landry (Jr) 300/379/571
R/R Johnny Dishon (So) 240/333/500 (2008)
R/R Trey Watkins (So) 418/549/662 (LSU-E)

Quick trivia question: who among his outfield had the most steals last year?  If you guessed, Leon Landry, you're wrong.  He had 9 steals, the same amount as Mahtook in two more attempts.  No, the answer is Trey Watkins, who stole 59 bases for LSU-Eunice last year.  Methinks we won't miss Mitchell on the basepaths that much.

At first glance, Landry is our best returning outfielder, but there's a reason he lost his starting job last season.  Landry became a strikeout machine, striking out 43 times in 170 at bats, which is just a silly rate of almost a quarter of his at bats.  Landry also was helpless against lefties, and ended up facing only righties as the season wore on, making his numbers look better as Mainieri shielded him.  Well, now it's time to be a full-time starter, Leon.

Mahtook blossomed into a star in the postseason, and became one of our more reliable run producers.  He also plays a pretty mean centerfield, allowing Landry to take his show to left.  That means right field should be an open competition between Dishon and Watkins.  Watkins is supposed to be The Man and his numbers at LSU-E were pretty impressive, but let's see him do that against the SEC.  And if all else fails, Koeneman or Dean could always shift back to right. 

Speed, power, defense.  This unit has it all.  Given some question marks in the infield, the outfield and corners are going to be expected to carry the offense.  There's almost no reason to think they can't.  Just about every guy here can flat out hit and almost all of them are dangerous on the basepaths.  This should be an exciting outfield to watch.