Cajuns 2018 Baseball Preview – The Infield and Catcher
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns open the 2018 season this Friday at Texas. Here is the first part of a three part series previewing the Cajuns' season. Today: The Infield and catcher.
If there's anything certain about the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns infleld, it's that not much is certain. And, considering the losses, that's understandable.
First base-Alex Pinero-Gone
Second base- Brenn Conrad-gone
Third base-Joe Robbins-gone
But as the season gets ready to begin, head coach Tony Robichaux says the Cajuns have plenty of options.
FIRST BASE--Tyler Stover (.173-1-9) had his good and bad moments a year ago. Playing primarily the outfield, Stover had fifteen starts a season ago and he's the most experienced player at that position. He's also the best defensive first baseman and will probably be in the game in the later innings more often than not. Whether he's there in the early innings will depend on his bat. LSU transfer O'Neal Lochridge can play either corner infield spot and could wind up at first base if Stover falters. Tremaine Spears, who was 3-18 a season ago and physical redshirt freshman Monroe Moll have a chance as well.
SECOND BASE--Junior Hunter Kasuls (.229-2-5) will open the season at second. He played there toward the end of the season, although he's primarily been a shortstop during his career. Kasuls is solid defensively and that's going to be important for the up the middle defense. But Kennon Fontenot (.270-6-29), who played left field last year, is capable of being there as well. He struggled defensively as a freshman, but has looked solid at every infield position in the preseason.
SHORTSTOP--Highly touted freshman Hayden Cantrelle will be in this position to start the season and Robichaux believes he'll stay there. "Sometimes the college game speeds up on freshmen," Robichaux said, "but he plays the game slow. Cantrelle's father, Kevin, played for Robichaux in the late '90s, and the Cajuns' skipper believes Hayden will bring the same blue-collar work ethic. He's a switch hitter and swung the bat well in the fall.
THIRD BASE--This is a fluid position for the Cajuns. Don't be surprised if Fontenot starts here, but he may not finish here. Lochridge saw time at third base for LSU before being injured and he's bound to see some playing time at this position. But also, keep an eye on freshman Jonathan Windham. The Spring, Texas product has great size (6-3, 187) and could turn into a physical production man before his time is through. His defense is ahead of his offense right now, according to Robichaux, but the coaching staff really likes this kid.
CATCHER--Handsome Monica (.215-4-19) struggled offensively most of the season, mostly because he was never healthy. He homered three times in his last four games, however and that could be a sign of things to come. Robichaux calls him the team's most improved player. He's healthy now and the even better news is, he won't have to catch every day. JUCO transfer Cole McKinnon will provide quality backup, something the Cajuns haven't had the last couple of seasons. Don't be surprised if Monica slips into the DH role when McKinnon is out there. the Cajuns will desperately need his bat in the lineup.