Major League Baseball got its shortened season started Thursday night and there are nine former LSU Tigers currently on MLB rosters.
Alex Bregman (Astros), Kevin Gausman (Giants), Nick Goody (Rangers) Will Harris (Nationals), JaCoby Jones (Tigers), DJ LeMahieu (Yankees), Aaron Nola (Phillies), Austin Nola (Mariners) and Andrew Stevenson (Nationals) were the nine players on their respective teams’ opening day lineups.
Last season was the most successful year of Bregman’s career. He finished second in American League MVP voting, made his second All-Star team and was the A.L.’s Silver Slugger for third basemen.
LeMahieu was also a top-five A.L. MVP candidate, finishing fourth. In LeMahieu’s first season with the New York Yankees, he made his third All-Star team and also won the A.L.’s Silver Slugger for second basemen.
Aaron Nola had a down year relative to his 2018 All-Star season, going 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA for the Phillies; his older brother Austin made his Major League debut with Seattle and picked up 64 hits in 79 games.
Nick Goody threw 40.2 innings of relief for the Cleveland Indians, while Gausman threw a career-low 22.1 innings for the Cincinnati Reds; Will Harris continued to shine out of the bullpen, going 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA and four saves for the Astros last year. Harris signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Washington Nationals in the offseason.
Speaking of the Nationals, Andrew Stevenson helped Washington win the World Series. Stevenson played sparingly with Washington, appearing in only 30 games and taking 30 at bats. JaCoby Jones, on the other hand, played just over half of the 2019 season with the Detroit Tigers, appearing in 88 games and batting .235, the best mark of his young professional career.
There were seven other former LSU players who were part of various teams’ 60-man player pools. Those seven players were Greg Deichmann (Oakland), Jake Fraley (Seattle), Zack Hess (Detroit), Alex Lange (Detroit), Mikie Mahtook (Philadelphia), Michael Papierski (Houston) and Riley Smith (Arizona). While these seven players weren’t on the opening day roster, there is a chance they could join their teams at some point over the course of the season. Deichmann, Hess, Lange, Papierski and Smith could all potentially make their major league debut this season if they are called up.
Baseball’s regular season is expected to end in late September. MLB and the players’ union agreed Thursday to expand the playoff field from 10 to 16 teams for the 2020 postseason. Now all first and second-place teams from each division will qualify for the playoffs and the seventh and eighth teams will be based off win-loss record.