Piecing Together The Cajuns’ Pitching Puzzle
All the puzzle pieces are laid out on the floor. The picture on the box looks like a Sun Belt Conference Championship, and it's Tony Robichaux's job to put it together.
Putting together a batting lineup and a pitching rotation could be interpreted as art. The slightest touch can produce a vast array of results. Coach Robe has the makings of a masterpiece in his hands, all he has to do is blend the elements correctly.
The task is easier said than done. There's a reason Robichaux has over 1,000 career wins under the belt of his baseball pants.
He starts with a solid base. Last season, a young pitching staff shattered early expectations and led the Cajuns all the way to a Super Regional. Gunner Leger, Evan Guillory and Wyatt Marks proved their meddle in their first year on campus and solidified starting roles. Dylan Moore earned preseason All-American honors for his shut-down ability in the bullpen, and we're still just talking about the youngsters.
Keep adding kindling to the bonfire as we continue to list pitchers.
Reagan Bazar walked on campus with a fastball that touched 100 mph. Control has been an issue for the massive right hander from Texas, but whispers from the coaching staff indicate he is poised for a breakout.
"Big Thunder" has been working on his breaking ball ever since Coach Robe got his hands on him, and an effective changeup would boost the deadliness of his heater exponentially. If the Cajuns' most intimidating presence on the mound can keep the ball over the plate, he could provide a knockout punch in the bullpen with arms like Moore and Logan Stoelke, Chris Charpentier, and Will Bacon.
Can you see the picture starting to clarify? The puzzle isn't done yet, and the last pieces are very intriguing.
With an already established pack of pitchers, Coach Robichaux lassoed two of the top arms into the country into their system as well.
Last year's freshmen put on a show for Cajun Nation on the mound. Nick Lee and Hogan Harris come in with just as much hype, maybe more.
Harris is a local product out of St. Thomas More, and his father does PA announcing for the Ragin' Cajuns Softball team at Lamson Park. Cajun blood runs hot through his veins, and his stuff is top notch. Lee was named a 2nd Team All-American by Perfect Game, and he just so happens to be 6'5" with an arm loaded with nasty ability. From the outside, there's not much room left in the Cajun pitching rotation, but when you have arms like Lee and Hogan, you find room.
The best part of this whole picture? Most of the puzzle pieces aren't going anywhere.
There are only three seniors on the roster (Will Bacon, Eric Carter, Nick Zaunbrecher), and they will most likely come out of the bullpen. One of the best pitching coaches in the country has a lot of young clay to mold, and he's proven over the last few seasons that he's capable of crafting a champion.
We're only a week away from the beginning of baseball season. Coach Robichaux will let his puzzle pieces fall into place on their own. As a coach, forcing a piece in the wrong place can ruin the whole picture. A trained eye like Robe's knows to let the puzzle put itself together, just trust your instincts.