LSU reeled in a 2014 signing class ranked No. 1 by many sites. The group includes seven pitchers.
Pitching coach Alan Dunn touches on each one of his new hurlers in this On The Record post.
- LHP Jake Latz, Lemont, Illinois
Dunn: He’s won a state championship with (catcher signee) Mike Papierski. He’s been in some big games. He’s been in that pressure.
Wiry left-hander. I say wiry, meaning really physically strong. Three-pitch mix. Curveball is a really solid pitch for him. Velocity: He’s going to pitch anywhere from 89-92 right now.
The thing that’s really excited me is that he’s taken that next step this past year and was really throwing the ball in the strike zone, which is huge. I see his maturation process of learning about combining his stuff with pitchability makes him a very exciting arm.
- Austin Bain, Geismar, La.
Dunn: Very athletic kid. Three pitches. He’s been up to 94 before. Very good breaking ball. Nice frame. Think he’s going to fill out. Add a little more to his body.
He’s kind of new to pitching. When I say new, hasn’t had a whole lot of innings under his belt because he’s been a two-way guy. He was a shortstop. That tells you athleticism. He is athletic. The more athletic the better pitcher. Just him getting more reps, getting out there, I’m excited to see his ceiling.
Q: He’ll be a pitcher?
Dunn: We recruited him to be a pitcher, but he also played shortstop and swung the bat pretty good. We’ll see how that plays out, but if we look at it down the road he’s a guy we want to get innings from.
LHP Mac Marshall, Lilburn, Ga.
Dunn: There’s been a lot said about Mac here these last weeks. Obviously, very talented left-handed arm. Three-pitch mix where he has a really good feel. Repeats his delivery well.
Here’s a guy that’s stuff has been upper-type stuff in terms of velocity. I think this year his velo (velocity) was down a little bit of what it had been in the past. He had an injury, an appendix, that kind of put him back a little bit in high school this year in terms of regrouping his stuff. But I saw him in the summer last year and it was pretty electric coming out of there. Guy has pitched in big games. Had a lot thrust upon him. Expectations in high school. Met them head on.
Q: Is he someone you can immediately throw in the weekend rotation?
Dunn: I’m not going to say that. It’s like we tell all of our guys: When we go into fall practice, we have mapped out innings and opportunities and guys will tell you where they’re going to pitch based on how they pitch.
Do I think he has the ability to pitch? Absolutely, just like I do those other six guys. We don’t bring guys in here not to pitch. I think they’re opportunities are going to be there and their skill set will allow them to pitch at a high level. He’s obviously right there with that mix for other kids.
RHP Doug Norman, Fort Mill, S.C.
Dunn: One of the things that Doug brings, got a little different style of delivery, which I like. Gives you a different look coming out of that rotation or bullpen.
Great strike-thrower. Very confident on the mound. Great changeup which I’m a fastball, changedup guy anyway. You can pitch anywhere in baseball if you can command those two pitches. He did a very good job of doing that. I like that different look he gives.
Body-wise I think he’s such a projectable guy. He’s going to add weight. With weight, I think, comes stuff. High ceiling. I’m excited about him.
RHP Collin Strall, Suwanee, Georgia
Dunn: Junior college kid. Different look. Low three-quarter guy. When you’re trying to develop a bullpen, you want to have as much variation as you can. I think he does that.
He’s a strike thrower. Really good sink on his fastball. He’s got a great feel for a change(up). Should be a groundball type guy. Shows a lot of confidence. Things I heard about as we recruited him is he really wanted the ball in crunch time. That’s a great trait to have, especially in this conference.
RHP Jake Godfrey, New Lenox, Ill.
Dunn: Quality arm. Quality stuff. He’s been up to 94 (mph) velocity wise. A little different arm angle. Good movement on his fastball. Got a really hard slider.
Struggled early in his high school season but really locked it in at the end and really pitched good. Probably, early goings, a lot going on. Mentally, was trying to overdue it. Things kind of clicked and he was really throwing good down the stretch. I’m excited what he’s going to bring.
RHP Alex Lange, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Dunn: Prototypical power pitcher’s build. Throws the ball at a very good angle. Three-pitch mix.
Here’s a kid that’s been at that 90-94 (mph) range. Strike thrower. Took his team late in the state playoffs as well. Very athletic. With his body, I think he’s a guy that could probably take a lot of innings for you. Exciting to have him in.
Dunn: The thing I want to reiterate is the skill set of all of these guys we’re bringing in is good. There’s been talk about what they throw stuff wise. I’m excited about that. The thing we have to remember is they are freshman outside of Strall.
As freshmen, there’s that maturation process you have to go through to learn what it takes to pitch in this league. They’ll learn that.
We’re a long ways from opening up. We’ve got a long way.