With Mark Laird returning for his sophomore season and plenty or returning and new talent at the…
Position Outlook: Starting Rotation
Aaron Nola – 12-1, 1.57 ERA, 122 K, 18 BB, .188 Opp. BA, 5 complete games
Ryan Eades – 8-1, 2.79 ERA, 78 K, 32 BB, .269 Opp. BA
Cody Glenn – 7-3, 2.68 ERA, 38 K, 17 BB, .244 Opp. BA
Aaron Nola not only avoided the sophomore slump in 2013, but he emerged as one of the nation's top pitchers. Nola didn't drop a decision until the College World Series, and even in defeat he didn't allow an earned run. His streak of four straight complete games was a testament to his endurance and he'll be in line to be an early pick in next year's draft.
Ryan Eades improved on a disappointing 2012, but his final season at LSU had its share of inconsistency. There were the good performances, like his seven-inning start in the SEC Tournament when he allowed only a pair of runs. Then there were the bad, like his three four-inning appearances in SEC play and that odd start against Jackson State. But Eades still showed enough to be taken on the first day of this year's draft.
Cody Glenn emerged in 2013 in a handful of early midweek starts as he dominated lesser competition. Glenn proved enough to warrant moving into the starting rotation, but his debut appearance in the SEC didn't go well as he surrendered six runs at Mississippi State. Glenn mostly struggled on the road in 2013, but he settled in toward the end of the season, capping it off with a pair of seven-inning starts with only one total run surrendered. But Glenn's season will mostly be remembered for his suspension for the NCAA Regional and his poor start in the CWS against North Carolina.
Who Returns: Aaron Nola, Cody Glenn, Hunter Newman, Joe Broussard, Kurt McCune
Newcomers: Brady Domangue, Zac Person, Parker Bugg, Jared Poche
Nola and Glenn will each return in 2014 as juniors expected to anchor the first two spots of the weekend rotation. Assuming Nola resumes his elite form, LSU will have one the top pitchers to ace the staff. Glenn can afford to improve his consistency, but with a full season under his belt, he should continue to improve. Both pitchers will take the summer off to rest up for the 2014 season.
While those two appear locked into the rotation, the final spot is up for grabs. A handful of veterans will compete for that role. Hunter Newman picked up three starts in the backend of the season, including one in the SEC Tournament semifinals. He'll need to improve his command in order to factor into the mix, but with a little experience and a summer in the Northwoods League should help him improve. Kurt McCune returns for one last season, but after another year in the bullpen, he'll probably be on the outside looking in for the rotation. Joe Broussard should return after missing 2013 with an injury. He was efficient as a midweek starter in 2012, but it remains to be seen how effective he'll be after undergoing Tommy John's.
That leaves it to the newcomers. The Tigers have a pair of transfers coming from LSU-Eunice that will definitely factor into the discussion. Brady Domangue and Zac Person anchored the LSU-E pitching staff. Domangue led the way with a 1.34 ERA in 114 innings with 118 strikeouts. Person was just as solid with a 2.58 ERA and 98 strikeouts, but his 51 walks prove he has some work to do on his command. Domangue should have the edge heading into the duo's LSU career.
Pitchers like Nola don't grow on trees, so it's hard to expect a freshman will factor into the rotation next year. But Jared Poche and Parker Bugg have the ability to earn a spot. Poche, a LHP from Lutcher, was named Louisiana's Mr. Baseball in 2013 with a 0.80 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 75 innings. Bugg was a late-round selection, but he will opt for college. The 6-foot-6 prospect 0.90 ERA with 39 strikeouts but didn't appear in a game after April 11 because of a foot injury.
While these two are certainly talented for incoming freshman, LSU will probably call on the luxury of experience that Domangue or Person will bring to the team next year. Of the two, Domangue appears to have the better stuff so expect him to make a strong run at that third starter spot.
Projected 2014 Rotation: Aaron Nola, Cody Glenn, Brady Domangue
Who will be LSU's third starter 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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