Major league baseball's shortened 2020 first year player draft supercharged the talent we're about to see this year in college baseball.
"The SEC is going to be as tough as it’s ever been, if not tougher because so many schools like us have had players return or not get drafted because of the shortened draft," said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. "So, the talent level in the SEC is going to be extreme."
Undrafted freshmen also play into that calculation. That's how players like Dylan Crews, Jordan Thompson and Brody Drost ended up in Baton Rouge. As many as four freshmen could end up starting including Tre' Morgan.
"Gosh I love this kid. I had no idea he was this good when we recruited him," said Mainieri.
Tre' Morgan, a first baseman out of New Orleans, has clearly made an impact on his head coach. His play pushed sophomore Cade Beloso to the outfield. Mainieri says he's one of the most gifted fielders he worked with.
"I've coached now, this will be my 39th year and I would put him in a category of five first basemen that I've coached in my lifetime as far as his defensive skill around first base," he said.
Coach loves his bat too and said Morgan may hit second or third.
"It's an honor that he thinks so highly of us," Morgan said. "But we know when he puts us in these spots we have to go in there and do damage. We can't go in there and act like freshmen, we have to go in there and play up to his expectations."
Morgan won't be the only freshman to make an impact. Perfect Game ranked outfielder Dylan Crews the 15th best player in the nation out of high school. He passed up on the draft to attend LSU.
"Dylan is one of those kids that arrives at LSU and you know there’s something different about him," said Mainieri. "(DJ) LeMahieu had that same aura, (Alex) Bregman had that aura, (Antoine) Duplantis had that aura. Not only is Dylan an extremely talented player, but he has a tremendous attitude. He’s coachable as anybody we have; he works hard as anybody we have."
LSU ranks as high as 7th in the preseason baseball polls. The Tigers open the year February 19th against Air Force.
"It’s going to be an exciting season. Today is three weeks from Opening Day and we’ve got three weeks to get everything tightened up a bit and start the non-conference segment of our schedule."
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