WATCH: Alex Pinero On Ragin’ Cajuns 2017 Season
Alex Pinero might be quiet in front of the camera, but the rest of the team will tell you he's one of the biggest emotional leaders on the Ragin' Cajuns roster.
After transferring to the team, Pinero made his debut for Louisiana last season and finished second on the team with a .312 batting average. He started 40 games last year, but there's a solid chance he could be on the field every single game in 2017.
He showed some flashes of power last year, but Pinero worked all off season to help boost his home run numbers and become an RBI producer for the team.
"I tried to hit the weight room a little bit. I know it doesn't show but I tried to get stronger, and I tried to get my power numbers up from last year," Pinero joked.
Tony Robichaux will probably place him somewhere in the middle of the lineup, so he will have plenty of opportunities to drive runs home and show off that new and improved power stroke.
Coach Robe always says, "You can't sharpen a blade with a paper plate." Pinero and the rest of the team get to sharpen their skills every day against some of the top arms in the country, and the practice is paying off.
With all the arms on the roster, it's almost overwhelming to think about the rotation. Even the guys in the bullpen could start for a lot of other teams.
"We're deep. I can't even tell you who is going to be our weekend guys. Everyone here could be a weekend guy," Pinero said. "We're super deep, and our bullpen is out of control."
The pitching staff isn't the only thing that's out of control. Their new home, Russo Park, is humongous and beautiful.
Louisiana has to wait a while before they get to play their first game in their improved park, and they had to endure a chaotic construction process all offseason.
Coach Robe said the team used the distractions around them to help tune out noise they will surely face on the road, and at this point, Pinero barely even notices the clanging steel beams, shouting workers and heavy machinery.
"At first, I heard it, but now, I don't even hear it. I feel like they're not even working up there, then I look up and every day it's getting closer and closer to being done," Pinero said.
The wait is almost over, baseball fans. It's game week for the Ragin' Cajuns, and they're about to start their long journey through the season. The road to Omaha starts in February, and Louisiana is in it for the long haul.