Don’t count Destrehan coach Chris Mire among anyone surprised that Landon Marceaux would be tabbed for an opening weekend start in the LSU rotation, despite Marceaux’s status as true freshman.
“I’ve gotten a lot of text messages and questions like ‘Really? Opening weekend?’ And my reaction is, ‘Why are you surprised?’ He made the Olympic team. He’s one of the top guys in the country. He’s just that good.”
Marceaux certainly looked the part Saturday in his first-ever collegiate start. He hurled 5.2 innings against Army, allowing one run on two hits while striking out five, helping LSU earn an eventual 6-5 victory. That was a continuation of a dominant spring in which he allowed three hits and no runs while striking out 17 over 10.2 exhibition innings.
Mire, a graduate of LSU and lifelong Tigers fan, said it’s exciting in numerous ways to watch his former ace living a dream in Purple and Gold.
When Marceaux was at Destrehan, Mire often noted how poised and mature Marceaux was when he arrived at the school as a freshman. While some pitchers have raw stuff and others strong command, Marceaux came armed with both, and he understood how to use those weapons once taking the mound. It was a rare gift for such a young pitcher.
“He’s been a college pitcher since he got to high school,” Mire said. “He’s one of those special kids you don’t see very often. He has this great understanding of how to use his pitches and how to command them, and when you have the stuff he has and the command to go with it …”
“He just has ‘it’,” he concluded. “He has the it. He’s built for this.”
He established himself as one of the greatest to put on a Destrehan uniform during his time there. Marceaux’s ERA was just a shade over 1.00 for his career at the school to go with three saves, 168.1 innings pitched, 239 strikeouts and 31 walks.
The right-hander was named District 7-5A Pitcher of the Year after a dominating senior campaign. He was so advanced and accomplished early in his DHS tenure that he earned an offer from LSU before his sophomore season. He committed to the Tigers in 2015 and at the time was rated one of the 40 top sophomore baseball players in America by PerfectGame.org and the best in Louisiana.
As a selection for the 18U USA Baseball team, he helped spur his team to a the World Cup victory during his senior year. He was selected in the 37th round of the MLB Draft by the New York Yankees, but after reflection he opted to forgo the pros for at least a year and pitch for LSU.
Marceaux’s gifts have bred a great air of confidence about him on the mound, something Mire attributes to his great preparation and work ethic, as well as his big game experience even before his prep days.
“This is a kid who has put in hours and hours and hours of refining his craft and learning so that when he takes the mound, regardless of who he’s up against, he knows what he can do and he believes in himself,” Mire said. “To most people, that isn’t something that comes natural. He was fortunate to get a taste of success early on … when we faced higher level competition, it wasn’t really a challenge for him. Against top competition, we saw the lights go on and him take it up another notch. And that’s when you saw how truly special he is.”
“He’s been a college pitcher since he got to high school.He’s one of those special kids you don’t see very often” – Destrehan coach Chris Mire
That said, pitching against Division I competition and in the SEC as a freshman, Mire acknowledges Marceaux may have to deal with something he hasn’t had to in the past.
“He’ll probably get a taste of failure for maybe the first time in his life, and he’ll have to adjust and learn from those times he does struggle,” Mire said. “That’ll be the biggest challenge for him really. But the stage, I definitely don’t see that being too big for him. I don’t think he’ll be outmatched or in awe of any opponent.”