Wrapping up our 2023 baseball preview with the bullpen, which was a pretty good group...up until they completely imploded in the decisive game against Southern Miss that is.
LSU loses their top-four arms from last year’s pen (Eric Reyzelman, Paul Gervase, Jacob Hasty, and Trent Vietmeier) but still has Johnson & Johnson—a family company—still have a ton of pieces to work with.
First and foremost I want to shoutout tanerthurman for catching this in the starting pitching preview: true freshman Chase Shores* ought to be contending for a starting role sometime in the near future. The same would have been said about sophomore Grant Taylor but unfortunately Taylor tore his UCL and will miss all of 2023. Taylor either would have been a starter this season or a heavily relied upon bullpen arm.
*UPDATE: By “near future” I mean Sunday, Shores got the nod today from Jay Johnson to be the Sunday starter against Western Michigan
But the college baseball season won’t stop because of one injured Tiger, and LSU still has plenty of arms to work with out of the pen.
Sam Dutton emerged toward the end of his freshman season and was even the Sunday starter for the final nine SEC weekends. Dutton made 18 appearances with 11 starts and went 1-1 with a 5.12 ERA. Dutton had a strong close to ‘22 and didn’t issue a single walk in his final seven appearances last season.
I would have expected lefty Riley Cooper to be one LSU’s top bullpen arms this year ( he had a team best 30-appearances last season) and that may very well still be true; but Johnson announced Cooper will be LSU’s Saturday starter against Western Michigan. Whether or not Cooper holds on to the job depends on him.
Some other familiar faces you should expect to see in 2023 include Bryce Collins, Will Helmers, and Garrett Edwards. New faces include Nate Arkenhausen, Griffin Herring, Aiden Moffett, DJ Primeaux, Micah Bucknam, and Nic Brozini. Do not expect to see Jason Bollman, Kaleb Applebey, or Jaden Noot as all three are injured and will miss the season.