This is what I posted
in a thread on here about a week ago:
Yeah, the ingredients for a legit national title contender with this team basically boils down to 3 things:
-- a third baseman
-- a 3rd outfielder
-- a 3rd starting pitcher
It's interesting all the different combinations that can work with Katz/Moore/Foster/Rhymes at 1B/OF/DH, but the key thing is to get 2 new guys in the lineup who can help produce runs, one of which has to be able to play 3B.
Finding a 3rd reliable starting pitcher might simply be a game of numbers. Just throw all the potential candidates out there until one of them finally clicks in that spot.
No doubt, Gausman will be tough to replace, but I think most LSU fans really overestimate how good our starting 3 were last season. Despite their obvious talent, they did not perform quite as well as many here would have you believe.
Thus, while I think the pitching this season may be a little worse than last season, it wouldn't shock me at all if there were no drop off.
I do see this as a CWS caliber team that can win a national title. That being said, college baseball fortune is fickle, and nobody ever knows quite how well rookies will perform. In a lot of ways, guys like Bregman, Ibarra, McMullen, Laird, and all the new pitchers straight out of high school are virtual crap shoots. You win some, you lose some.
As for the conference, I think this is the best I have ever seen the SEC look. Don't be surprised if an SEC team finishes 5th or 6th in the conference, and then still manages to compete for a national title in Omaha. The SEC is just that damn good this year--8 great Top 20-caliber teams, 2 more Top 40-caliber teams (i.e., Georgia and Texas A&M), and then only 4 mediocre teams.
As I noted on my thread on the SEC Rant ( LINK
), the conference has a whopping 23 preseason All-Americans playing for teams, and this is how they did in regular season conference games last year:
Rhymes (LS), .458, 3 HR
Gregor (VU), .345, 2 HR
Frazier (MS), .319, 0 HR
Cousino (KY), .302, 6 HR
Ficociello (AR), .301, 4 HR
Katz (LS), .299, 5 HR
Reed (KY), .289, 1 HR
Ross (LS), .287, 3 HR
Jones (LS), .282, 3 HR
Navin (VU), .270, 1 HR
Kemp (VU), .267, 0 HR
Greiner (SC), .258, 3 HR
Renfroe (MS), .254, 3 HR
Keep in mind that this is only over 30 conference games, so Couisno's 6 HR would be equivalent to about 32 for a 162-game MLB schedule.
Wahl (OM), 2.30 ERA, 58.7 IP
Crawford (FL), 2.56 ERA, 38.7 IP
Littrell (KY), 2.93 ERA, 61.3 IP
Holmes (SC), 3.89 ERA, 39.3 IP
Stanek (AR), 3.91 ERA, 46.0 IP
Nola (LS), 4.78 ERA, 52.7 IP
Montgomery (SC), 4.89 ERA, 35.0 IP
Holder (MS), 0.00 ERA, 11.7 IP
Suggs (AR), 1.37 ERA, 19.7 IP
Webb (SC), 3.06 ERA, 17.7 IP
Reed (KY), 3.38 ERA, 8.0 IP