Our positional preview reaches the end of its journey in the outfield, which may possibly end up with one returning starter or up to three, who knows! Let me break it down for you:
2016: .286 BA, .379 SLG, .354 OBP, 1.50 K/BB (27/18), 4 HR, 39 RBI
Beau was the starter in left field for virtually the entire season last year, and he was pretty damn good until the end. Jordan ended the season on a brutal cold streak and according to Paul Mainieri, had a “pretty average” summer up in the Cape Cod League. Because of this and other factors, Beau Jordan is currently in an open competition with Brennan Breaux to be the Opening Day starter out in front of the Left Field Landing.
With Beau Jordan, you know what you’re getting by looking at him. He’s short and stocky, but not to the point where he can’t get from point A to point B promptly. He has an aggressive swing and the power to match it, although he doesn’t strike out as much as you’d think he would. I feel as if last year, to avoid those strikeout numbers, he at times just placed the bat on the ball, which lead to some tailor-made ground balls.
2016: .139 BA, .167 SLG, .297 BAA, 1.60 K/BB (8/5), 5 RBI
They say the biggest improvement comes between your freshman and sophomore year, and if Mainieri’s word is to be trusted then that should be no different for Brennan Breaux.
Apparently Brennan Breaux has had some sort of revelation at the plate during fall ball and is a much more complete hitter than he was last year to pair with his plus defending skills. Brennan is taller than Beau Jordan but 20 pounds lighter, and that makes a world of difference out in the grass. Breaux is rangy and can dash. I’d say Breaux’s arm in comparison to Beau’s is an even push.
The choice for preferred starter comes down to what Mainieri wants to value most: if it’s slugging then we’ll see Beau, if it’s a more consistent bat with better fielding, then it’s Breaux. I think in the meantime we’ll see Mainieri play matchups with them given how they bat on different sides of the plate.
2016: .327 BA, .419 SLG, .404 OBP, .76 K/BB (25/33), 2 HR, 39 RBI
The pleasant surprise of the 2016 season was the speedy freshman from a family of pole vaulters who know nothing about baseball. “Twonnie”, as he came to be known by the students out in right field, was one of the four players that started every game of the season and was the most consistent batter in the lineup from wire to wire. He never went on a stupid hot hitting streak and he never went totally cold at the plate, he was Even Steven for the whole ride. He started the season with a 19 game hit streak and then later on in the season went 14 straight again. As a freshman, he placed second in the SEC in base hits with 89. Just when it looked like a continuation of Mark Laird out in right, Duplantis showed flashes of power, hitting a grand slam against Mississippi State for his first college homer and then knocking in three runs against Tennessee, huge contributions in both games.
But Duplantis is a natural fielder, and he’s damn near effortless at it. That’s why the Freshman All-American will slide over to center, away from the “friendly” heckles from Section 101. But center field is his natural position, and there Duplantis will have the ability to show his range and ability to track balls in both directions.
2016: .288 BA, .513 SLG, .346 OBP, 2.58 K/BB (41/19), 11 HR, 57 RBI
LSU’s home run leader from 2016 makes the jump from first base to right field after Mainieri toyed with the idea in fall ball. Mainieri says the last time he was so sure of a position change was moving 2016 NL Batting Champion DJ LeMahieu from short to second. That worked out pretty well for both parties involved.
Deichmann features a powerful bat, as evidenced by his 11 dingers knocked last year. He can go for power and he can go for contact all the same, it’s just he usually likes to crush it. Deichmann clipped 14 doubles last year, which is a pretty good number for a primarily power hitter. He was above serviceable at first, but it remains to be seen how he translates to right field. Mainieri sounds sure of it, but there’s sure to be some growing pains. At any rate, Deichmann’s bat will surely make up for any defensive deficiencies and then some.
Zach Watson has been an infielder all of his life but he could and probably will convert to the outfield based on his speed alone. Last year’s best prospect in Louisiana, Watson had a consistent bat in high school, hitting over .400 for every year he was at West Ouachita High School. He has a smooth swing but will likely need some time to adjust to college hitting in addition to receiving reps in the outfield.