TSD begins its look ahead to the 2014 baseball season by examining who will step in at first base…
Position Outlook: Shortstop
Stats: .369, 52 RBI, 6 HR, .546 SLG%, 24 BB, 25 K, .417 OBP, 16 SB, .939 FLD%
Bregman entered his freshman season with a world of expectations, and he lived up to each one. Hitting in the three-hole and starting at shortstop, Bregman earned just about every accolade one could receive. A first-team All-America and National Freshman of the Year, Bregman took the college baseball world by storm as one of LSU's most dynamic and successful players in 2013.
His accomplishments at the plate went unrivaled. He had 34 multi-hit games, including 14 with three. He had 13 multi-RBI games and had a 23-game hitting streak early in the season. He also reached base in 31 straight at one point. He showed tremendous aggression on the base paths, many times creating runs when most players would have settled for less.
If there's one knock that can be made about his 2013 season it's what happened in the College World Series. He went hitless in both games and his error against UCLA brought in the game-winning run. But he should only continue to get better and has solidified himself as a key player for two more years.
Who Returns: Alex Bregman, Christian Ibarra
Newcomers: Dakota Dean, Kramer Robertson
It would probably take an extreme circumstance for Bregman to not start the 2014 opener at shortstop. Paul Mainieri had every intention of keeping him at the position for the entirety of his LSU career, and that hasn't changed.
But if for some reason Bregman isn't able to go, LSU would have a veteran option in Ibarra to plug into SS. Ibarra played that position through high school and at the JUCO level and has the ability to seamlessly transition into that role if need be.
Aside from those two veterans, Dean and Robertson (if he's not the starting second baseman) could possibly see action at SS in garbage time. Dean has quick feet and soft hands with a quick release that would serve him well as a SS. Robertson will be in contention for the vacancy left by JaCoby Jones, so it's unlikely he'd appear at SS in 2014, but he does have the game to suit that position.
But unless something happens to Bregman, he'll man SS in 2014.
Projected 2014 Starter: Alex Bregman
What are your expectations for Bregman in 2014?
TSD will preview all eight positions in the field as well as the starting rotation and the bullpen in a 10-part series. You can find all the previous outlooks in the links below:
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