LSU players thriving in majors

With Destrehan alumnus Landon Marceaux recent decision to forgoe signing a pro baseball contract for the time being in favor of heading to LSU, it reminded me of an update column I wrote two years ago on the former LSU Tigers who earned their way to the Major Leagues and are currently thriving there.

I think it’s well time to put together an update, because several of the players I listed in that space have seen their stars grow brighter than ever.

Allow us to begin with …

Alex Bregman, third baseman, Houston Astros. You may remember watching exactly when Bregman became an MLB star. His production got there last regular season, but he became a hero in the 2017 World Series when he earned a walk-off game-winning single in the fifth game of the series, collecting that hit against no less a pitcher than dominating Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, the latter arguably the best at what he does in the majors. That also helped Bregman collect another accolade — a World Series ring.

Bregman is a centerpiece on a Houston team that has evolved into the envy of almost all others, and an offensive lineup that somehow generates tons of power while rarely striking out. The former No. 2 overall pick batted .284 last season with 19 home runs, 71 RBIs and 88 runs scored. This year, he’s at a .266 average with a career-high .371 on-base percentage, 43 runs scored and 40 RBIs. He’s a habitually slow starter and I think those numbers will only improve.

Aaron Nola, starting pitcher, Phillies. It’s been a roller-coaster since I last wrote about Nola – he was dominating at the time, then fell off significantly before cementing himself as the Phillies’ ace last season.

But this season, Nola has moved beyond that: he’s become one of the most dominant pitchers in the entire league. His 2.55 ERA goes nicely with his 8-2 record and 94 strikeouts in 95.1 innings. That ERA mark is fifth among qualified starters. The names around him on that list are Justin Verlander, Jacob DeGrom, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Luis Severino, certainly great company to be around.

D.J. LeMahieu, second base, Rockies. LeMahieu has become one of the best hitters in the Major Leagues, annually challenging to hit .300. He’s topped that mark in each of the past three seasons. This season he’s shaken off an injury to “plummet” all the way down to a .281 mark, but he’s got ample time to raise that. Most teams could use a guy who plays a premium defensive position and is always on base.

And lest anyone refer to him as a Coors Field creation, it’s worth noting that while his numbers do get a boost from that hitting paradise, he’s been a .300 hitter on the road over the last two seasons and change. He keeps churning out hits, home or away —just  like they teach them to do at Alex Box Stadium.

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