LSU coach Paul Mainieri discussed his 2013 senior class today with TSD. He explains what he expects…
Sanchez breaks down the lineup
2. Mark Laird – RF – "He's got the ability to put the bat on the ball and utilize his speed. A lot of kids put the ball in the air and waste their speed. Not only is Mark one of the fastest guys we've had in our program since I've been here, but it's the game speed that stands out. When he swings, he swings conducive to him getting out of the box quickly. He's got that Ichiro kind of action to his swing. When he hits his feet are already light and happy and he's getting down the line."
3. Alex Bregman – SS – "His barrel awareness and his strike zone discipline make him special. He's just a very advanced hitter for his age. He's mature. He understands what pitchers are trying to do to get him out. He's not going to chase pitches. He's going to swing at strikes and more often than not, he's going to barrel them up. He's got a short, compact swing. He doesn't have a lot of wasted movement in his swing. He has a strong top hand that stays on the ball and on that plane right through the pitcher's mound."
4. Raph Rhymes – LF – "His success last year wasn't a coincidence. A lot of people thought last year that Rhymes got a lot of cheap hits, but in this game you know there's no such thing. Raph Rhymes' barrel stays in the zone a little bit longer than everybody else. Even if he's a little out in front of the off-speed pitch, the barrel's still working on that plane, and he's able to put a little something on it. More often than not it's going to find the hole."
5. Mason Katz – 1B – "Mason's a strong kid. He's got a good understanding of the strike zone and where his barrel is throughout his swing. He's made a lot of strides as a hitter since he came to us as a freshman. He's demonstrated the ability to hit the ball to all fields. Especially when you're hitting in the middle of the order, you're going to get pitched tough. He's had some growing pains along the way, but he hit a bunch of doubles last year to right field. He's going to run with that plan and with his raw strength, hopefully pop some out the yard as well."
6. JaCoby Jones – 2B – "Jacoby's another kid that's highly regarded as one of the best athletes in the country, so he can pop the ball in the gap for a double. He can use his foot speed, and I think he's going to get a bunch of triples this season. He's another guy that will present some problems for opposing teams. With him being in the middle of our order, he's a hybrid. He can use his legs if he's leading off an inning, and he can run the ball in the gap and hopefully get us some RBI. Once he gets on base, he's hopefully going to provide some runs for us by utilizing his foot speed…Jacoby's made a lot of strides as a hitter, mostly from a maturity standpoint. Between the ears, he's realized how to deal with the ups and downs of the game…He's developed more of a two-strike approach. I don't think you're going to see him swinging at sliders in the dirt."
7. Ty Ross – C – "He's calmed down his swing a bit more. He's using his hands more. He's got a more compact approach. When he had some success last year, he was using the middle and right sides of the field. When he ran into some trouble as the season wore on, his arms started to take over and the body got a little tired. He's realizing that in order for him to be successful, he's got to hit line drives and use the middle of the field."
8. DH – Alex Edward vs. LHP "He's a senior guy that's had some success for us." Tyler Moore vs. RHP "He played a lot as a freshman and got some critical hits for us in big games."
"This year's team is going to give us more options, as well as a more lefty presence. With guys like Sean McMullen and Andrew Stephenson, guys we didn't have last year with more foot speed, Mainieri's going to be able to be versatile with the lineup on certain days."
9. Christian Ibarra – 3B – "He's a tricky character. He hit in the three-hole in junior college and he actually put up some good offensive numbers. He's got some bat speed, some life in his bat, some pop. He's a little bit of a free swinger, but he's not afraid to go deep into counts. He's going to quietly provide some offense for us at the bottom of the order."
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