Destrehan pitcher Landon Marceaux finds himself among the very best prep baseball players in the country — and could soon be, in fact, representing that country in major competition. Marceaux was one of 40 players nationally to make the 18U National Team Trials roster. Team USA will compete at the upcoming 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup, set to take place Sept. 1 through Sept. 11 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
The 40 players will compete for 20 spots available on the final Team USA roster. The final roster will be announced today.
Marceaux will learn if he’s made the final 20 man cut, and if that happens, he says he couldn’t feel more honored than for having the opportunity represent his country.
“It’s been an unreal experience,” Marceaux said. “For me to be considered one of the top 40 in the country is a huge honor. But to have Team USA across my chest would be even more of an honor. It’s really a blessing.”
Locally, the Destrehan senior and right-handed hurler has been a known to be a special talent for a while now — he committed to play at LSU before beginning his sophomore season. His prep career is already an accomplished one. As a junior, he posted a 1.56 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP while striking out 99 batters in 62.2 innings. He finished with a 7-3 record and was virtually untouchable in district play, striking out 45 batters and wrapping up with an ERA of 0.48. That earned him honors as District 7-5A Pitcher of the Year.
But now, professional scouts are seeing firsthand the ability the 6’, 180 pound pitcher offers. Baseball America writer Carlos Collazo called Marceaux the “most impressive” pitcher through the first two days of the East Coast Pro showcase event at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, where he began by throwing four one-hit innings against some of the best hitters in the nation.
The competition has been intense, Marceaux said.
“(The competition) is unreal,” he said. “The other guys are so talented. I love that type of environment, to be able to pitch against the best of the best.”
He admits having nerves, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“I’m always nervous (before taking the mound),” Marceaux said. “If I’m not, if I don’t have that gut feeling about pitching against a certain team, then it just doesn’t feel right.”
A little rush of adrenaline helps propel him through it.
“I tend to get too amped up when I’m going against that level of player,” he said. “I’ll get a little hot-headed. I just need to relax myself and keep pitching without trying to overpower anybody. My main job is simply to get outs.”
He has plenty of weapons to get those outs. Marceaux has developed a number of quality pitches, able to throw the fastball — both two-seam and four-seam — changeup and curveball proficiently and for strikes.
When he received the call that he’d made the top 40, he said it nearly rendered him speechless, Marceaux saying he recognizes what a rare honor it is to be ranked among the best.
His performance since tryouts and showcase events began this summer has also brought significant attention from the professional level. While Marceaux has committed to LSU, the prospect of being drafted highly out of high school gives him an alternative course to think about.
“They look for different things,” Marceaux said. “For college, they’re looking for that competitive drive, guys ready to come in and help them win. For the pros, they’re looking at projectability, guys who can compete in the big leagues in the future, who can grow and mature later on.”
The good thing for Marceaux is that both levels appear to like him plenty.
“I guess so,” Marceaux said with a laugh. “I’ve had to think about the opportunities either path would bring. It’ll be a tough decision when it’s time to make that call.”
Destrehan coach Chris Mire was never likely to be surprised at Marceaux finding success on the national level. He has long said Marceaux’s advanced understanding of the game from a young age is rare and noteworthy, and that has manifested itself in Marceaux coming through in many of the Wildcats’ biggest games.
“It’s rare to see a guy who can do what he does at such a high level at a young age,” Mire said. “He came into high school with a ridiculous understanding of what it took to be a pitcher at this level. He paces himself and understands when he does need to bump it up a little bit … he flat out understands how to pitch.”
Team USA is attempting to become the second country to win four straight gold medals at the World Cup tournament.