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What is wrong with LSU baseball?

The 2024 season has not gotten off to the best start for the LSU baseball team. After three conference series, the Tigers are 20-9 overall and 2-7 in conference play and have lost all three series. The Tigers dropped series to Mississippi State and Florida 2-1 and then got swept by Arkansas last weekend.

So, what is going on with this team? For one, let’s rewind to the 2023 season. Jay Johnson and the LSU Tigers had the two best players in college baseball on their team, Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews. The No. 1 and No. 2 overall draft picks in the 2023 MLB draft.

Along with that, the team had Tre Morgan, Gavin Dugas, Jordan Thompson, Brayden Jobert, Cade Beloso and Ty Floyd. That equates to two out of three starting pitchers, first and second base, shortstop, designated hitter, and two of the three outfield spots. One outfield spot (Josh Pearson), one starting pitcher (Thatcher Hurd), and two catchers (Hayden Travinski and Alex Milazzo) were all that remained from last year’s starting lineup.

Replacing six hitters in your starting lineup and two of your starting pitchers is not an easy task. Johnson had to hit the recruiting trail hard for high school kids and players in the transfer portal. He did a great job of rebuilding the team, but some players you just can’t replace. There is no replacement for those guys.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some stats so far. LSU is in the middle of the road for most hitting statistics in the conference. The Tigers are seventh in the conference in batting average, on-base percentage, and hits, eighth in slugging percentage, doubles, and triples. The biggest issue for LSU on the offensive side is that we are ranked 11th out of 14 in RBI and runs scored. LSU is not hitting the long ball as well either as the Tigers rank ninth in that stat.

Three more interesting offensive stats, LSU ranks first in the conference in double plays and caught stealing. First in those areas is not a good thing. That means you have hit the most double plays and been caught stealing the most. Tommy White leads the conference in double plays. He has hit into eight of them. That’s three more than the next closest player.

Now, let’s look at the Tigers’ performance on the mound. Luke Holman is the silver lining of this pitching staff. Without him, you would not want to see any of these numbers. Holman has the second-lowest ERA (1.38), second-highest strikeouts (61), and fourth-lowest opponent batting average (.173). Why am I singling him out? Because if you take him out of the equation, LSU does not have another pitcher in the top 15 of the conference.

LSU has the MOST walks in the SEC (131) and the second most wild pitches in the SEC (28). Thatcher Hurd is tied for the most losses in the conference with four and three LSU pitchers are tied for sixth in the conference in wild pitches with four. (Kade Anderson, Gage Jump and Hurd)

LSU is sixth in the conference in fielding percentage but Michael Braswell III is tied for first for the most errors in the conference with seven. Those numbers will not get the job done, especially in conference play.

LSU will play Southern at home on Monday before hosting Vanderbilt this weekend.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire