My NOT All-Louisiana Team Proves How Good Louisiana College Baseball was in 2016 – From the Bird’s Nest
I said all year long this was one of the best years for college baseball in Louisiana, maybe ever.
And, I'm about to prove it to you.
Sunday, the All-Louisiana team was named by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. And, there was no one on the team that was undeserving. Like I said, there were some really good players in this state. In all, there were 35 players who were honored.
But just as interesting were the players who didn't get mentioned on the first team, second team or even honorable mention. I'm sure fans of the schools around Louisiana are scratching their heads how their guy or guys didn't get a sniff. And, they all would have a valid point.
To illustrate, I've put together my NOT All-Louisiana Baseball team. Let me tell you my criteria for selection. First, they cannot have been named first or second team or honorable mention in the team released yesterday. And, they have to have been nominated. No wild card selections for me.
I've picked a 25 man roster. I haven't necessarily picked the 25 best players. I have, however, picked what I feel is a well rounded team. They have some speed, have some power and can play defense. If the players can play more than one position, that's certainly a plus. And, I tried for a good left/right combination on the pitcher's mound. I took into consideration how they were used during the season, but it doesn't necessarily mean they would be in that role on my team.
So, here we go with my NOT All-Louisiana team:
CATCHERS (3)--Brett Diaz-Louisiana Tech, Nick Thurman-Louisiana; Kyle Knauth-Nicholls State
Comment: Diaz is solid (.273-5-31). He can hit the ball in the gap and has home run power. Thurman (.281-2-29) can handle a pitching staff as well as anyone. They can share the catching duties without taking a step down. Knauth (.347-3-32) would be the third catcher, but could very well start at the DH spot.
FIRST BASE (2) Greg Deichmann-LSU, Hunter Williams-Tulane
Comment: A really good left/right combination. Williams hit .294-9-30 and missed six weeks with an injury. Deichmann from the left side was .288-11-57. I can platoon here or use one as the DH. Deichmann can move to the other corner in a pinch.
SECOND BASE (2) Stefan Trosclair-Louisiana, Jordan Washam-Louisiana Tech
Comment: Trosclair (.277-7-39) was hitting just .195 at the end of March, then turned it loose in the final two months. It was a tough pick for the second spot, but I took Washam, (.285-4-32) who's solid defensively and can run, with ten steals on the year.
SHORTSTOP (2) Chandler Hall-Louisiana Tech, Aaron Palmer-UNO
Comments: Hall (.271-7-38) has good gap power and stole 21 bases. Palmer (.325-2-37) can work counts and stole 19 bases. Both had their share of errors, but I'll take these guys.
THIRD BASE (2) -Dakota Dean-UNO, Joe Robbins-Louisiana--What I like about these guys is their versatility. Dean (.321-5-45) played right field down the stretch for the Privateers, while Robbins (.286-10-37) can play center or slide over to shortstop for defense late in the game.
OUTFIELD (4)--Beau Jordan-LSU, Grant Witherspoon-Tulane, Jacob Stockton-ULM, Nick Heath-Northwestern State
Comment: Heath (260-2-27) will play center and leadoff. He'll find ways to get on base and he's going to run (35 stolen bases) when he does. Witherspoon (.270-3-25) will work counts and walk a lot. Jordan (.286-4-39) gives presence in the middle of the lineup and Stockton (.287-6-32) will walk a lot to go with very good gap power.
PITCHERS: It should be noted that some of the pitchers I selected will be used in different roles from their regular season.
STARTING PITCHERS (5)--Jared Poche'-LSU, Gunner Leger-Louisiana, Domenick Carlini-Southeastern La., Brayden Bouchey-ULM, J. P. France-Tulane
Comment: Well, the first two are no-brainers, aren't they? Poche' (9-4. 3.35) was LSU's most consistent starter during the season. He worked deep into games and seemed to be at his best with men on base. Leger (7-3, 2.26) is tough as nails, can strike you out and doesn't walk people. The other weekend starter would depend on matchups: Carlini (8-2, 2.03) would be the guy if you want to throw three straight lefties. Bouchey (5-3, 3.73) has the capability to dominate (52 hits, 72K in 70 IP) from the right side. France (6-4, 3.33) beat LSU twice and Southern Miss twice during the season. France could be used in the pen and I might use Carlini there at times if I need a lefty.
RELIEF PITCHERS (5): Eric Carter-Louisiana, Kade Granier-Southeastern Louisiana, Nate Harris, Louisiana Tech, Hunter Newman-LSU, Kyle Cedotal-Southeastern Louisiana.
Comment: The only thing I'm not excited about is the lack of lefties out of the pen. Cedotal (5-5, 3.53) struggled as a starter the second half of the season so I'm taking him and putting him in the bullpen. I can use the lefty for specific hitters or to give me a couple of innings. His change is nasty. Carter (6-2, 4 sv, 2.08, 52 IP/69 K) and Harris (5-2, 5 sv, 2.93, 67.2 IP, 72 K) can pitch multiple innings if need be and both will do a great job in a setup role. Newman (1-1, 8 sv. 2.13, 38 IP, 40K) makes it difficult for hitters to get the barrel on the ball, and Granier (5-1, 7 sv, 1.42) has a wipeout slider.
Here's my opening day lineup
Diaz or Thurman C
I'm telling you now. This team would win the majority of conference championships around the country.
But none of these guys were on the All-Louisiana team.