Pitcher wins are, apparently, an overrated stat in baseball.
I don’t know where I stand on that statement. I barely watch MLB; whatever baseball I do watch is solely focused on LSU, and even then I don’t watch as much as PodKatt or Adam.
But I know this: for a program with as rich of a history like LSU, being the all time leader in pitching wins has to mean something and that’s why Jared Poché is next up on our list of best players of the Paul Mainieri era.
Poché never had the stuff that other pitchers of the Mainieri era had. Nobody would confuse his stuff with Alex Lange, Aaron Nola, or Kevin Gausman. But no one also started the mound more, or won more games, than Poché. If reliability is your best ability what can be said about Poché, whose 70 career starts are the most in LSU history.
Poché came to LSU in 2014 and admirably performed the Robin role to Aaron Nola’s Batman. The then true freshman went 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA and held batters to a .222 batting average. The excellent ERA and batting average against put him 12th among pitcher in the SEC and earned him freshman All-American honors.
In the 2014 SEC Tournament against Vanderbilt, Poché threw seven innings and only allowed a single run and five hits as the Tigers beat the Dores 11-1 en route to the program’s record 11th conference tournament title. It was the only time Poché took the mound but it was a good enough effort to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.
A year later Poché was on the mound for LSU’s regional clinching win over UNC-Wilmington and also the Super Regional win over UL-Lafayette. Yeah he melted down against TCU in Omaha but he made up for it two years later in the 2017 College World Series.
In that 2017 CWS Poché was 2-1, coming on in relief for a win in that wild opening game against Florida State. Poché would then beat the Noles a second time a few days later to eliminate Florida State and move his Tigers to the semifinals. But the cruel irony of Poché’s effort in Omaha that summer is he was the losing pitcher in the deciding game two of the championship series against Florida. Poché left LSU with 39 wins to his name but he needed 40 to force a winner take all game three against the Gators.
Still a couple of bad outings over a four year career can’t outweigh dozens of great efforts. LSU is one of the greatest programs in college baseball—maybe the greatest program. LSU has racked up both national championships and SEC championships while producing All-Americans every spring. It’s a program with the steepest of histories and no one can say they won more games as a pitcher than Poché.
Pitching wins may be overrated. Or maybe they aren’t. But sports is an either/or thing: either you win or you lose and Jared Poché did a whole lot of winning for the Tigers.