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On The Record: Alan Dunn (on his new pitchers)

Alan Dunn watches Jared Poche warm up. (Travis Spradling)

Alan Dunn watches Jared Poche warm up. (Travis Spradling)

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.

Mac Marshall is the headliner to the 2014 signing class. (gwinnettdailypost.com)

Mac Marshall is the headliner to the 2014 signing class. (gwinnettdailypost.com)

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.

  • Overall

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.

New assistant Andy Cannizaro officially hired, other news notes

LSU replaced hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez with former Tulane star and former major league shortstop Andy Cannizaro, the school officially announced on Monday.

Andy Cannizaro during Monday's press conference.

Andy Cannizaro during Monday’s press conference.

The Advocate reported the news upon Sanchez’s departure announcement.

Cannizaro, a New York Yankees scout for the past five years, is a former All-American shortstop at Tulane. Cannizaro, 35, played in the big leagues for the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. He has worked as a Yankees scout since 2009, evaluating and recruiting amateur players in preparation for the annual MLB Draft.

“I believe Andy is a real star in the making and will have a tremendous impact on our program working alongside Alan Dunn, Will Davis, Nolan Cain and myself,” coach Paul Mainieri said in a statement. “His enthusiasm, intelligence, knowledge of the game, playing experience, familiarity with the area, and his contacts throughout baseball make him a perfect fit for this position. “

Cannizaro, a native of Mandeville, La., was the Yankees’ seventh-round selection in the 2001 MLB Draft, and he played in the organization for seven seasons, reaching the Major League level in September 2006.

He joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and was on the club’s big-league roster for the first two months of the season. He later played for the AAA affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox before retiring from the game in September 2009.

During his pro career, he worked as head coach of the Louisiana Knights, a U18 fall team consisting of 12 NCAA Division I players.

Cannizaro, a four-year starter at shortstop for Tulane, led the 2001 Green Wave squad to the first College World Series appearance in school history, batting .395 with 118 hits, 34 doubles, 70 RBI and 52 stolen bases.

A two-time all-America and three-time all-Conference USA performer, Cannizaro is Tulane’s all-time leader in games played (248), at-bats (1,030), hits (350), doubles (85) and stolen bases (128). He was inducted in 2007 into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.

Other news notes:

  • Cade Stone, a freshman outfielder last season, has left the baseball team. He’s transferred to LSU-Eunice, Mainieri confirmed. Stone started two games and batted .250 last season.
  • Former LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra will be an undergraduate assistant with the team this season, according to LSU’s updated schedule.
  • LSU announced the jersey numbers of its freshmen: 2 Mike Papierski, 7 Greg Deichmann, 10 Grayson Byrd, 14 Mac Marshall, 18 Austin Bain, 21 Doug Norman, 24 Beau Jordan, 25 Bryce Jordan, 29 Jake Godfrey, 30 Collin Strall, 35 Alex Lange, 67 Jake Latz.

Comments from Cannizaro at Monday’s press conference:

Andy Cannizaro being introduced.

Andy Cannizaro being introduced.

  • Cannizaro: “I feel like I’m coming to work for the New York Yankees of college baseball.”
  • Cannizaro mentioned his career at Tulane. He says that while “he had a lot of tremendous battles with LSU,” he always respected the Tigers’ program.
  • Cannizaro said he’ll take coaching lessons he learned while playing under Rick Jones at Tulane to the LSU dugout.
  • Cannizaro called LSU the “top baseball program in the country.”
  • Cannizaro on his job: “One of the biggest things about being a hitting coach is identifiying each hitter’s strength.”
  • Cannizaro thanked Javi Sanchez for “taking him through this process” of transitioning to the new job.
  • Cannizaro calls pitching coach Alan Dunn the best pitching coach in the country and is exciting about “picking his brain.”
  • Cannizaro: “I come from a baseball family. Grew up around the game. Grew up in the dugout.”
  • Cannizaro: “Getting into college coaching was always something I really wanted to do.” Said he was flattered when got call.
  • Cannizaro will work with outfielders primarily. Mainieri will stay with infielders. Will Davis from outfielders to catchers.
  • Cannizaro on Alex Bregman: “He’s a tremendous player. I can’t wait to be around him … try to maximize his game.”
  • Cannizaro, former Tulane guy: “I look forward to being in this dugout and having 11,000 fans pulling for me rather than against me.”
  • As a Yankee scout, Cannizaro evaluated some of the same players Sanchez did. Ran into each other on road a lot.
  • Cannizaro’s scouting territory with Yankees: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida panhandle, Memphis.

LSU’s 2015 baseball schedule

LSU coach Paul Mainieri and Aaron Nola celebrate the SEC tournament championship. (PATRICK DENNIS)

LSU coach Paul Mainieri and Aaron Nola celebrate the SEC tournament championship. (PATRICK DENNIS)

LSU is set to release its 2015 baseball schedule Monday afternoon.

Here’s our story from March with details on the schedule and below is the tentative 2015 schedule we were given in the spring (we don’t expect any changes):

February

  • 13: vs. Kansas
  • 14: vs. Kansas
  • 15: vs. Kansas
  • 18: vs. Nicholls State
  • 20: vs. Boston College
  • 21: vs. Boston College
  • 22: vs. Boston College
  • 25: vs. Southeastern Louisiana
  • 27: vs. Princeton
  • 28: vs. Princeton

March

  • 1: vs, Princeton
  • 3: vs. Stephen F. Austin
  • 4: vs. Grambling
  • 6: Nebraska/Houston/Baylor at Houston (Minute Maid Park)
  • 7: Nebraska/Houston/Baylor at Houston (Minute Maid Park)
  • 8: Nebraska/Houston/Baylor at Houston (Minute Maid Park)
  • 11: vs. McNeese State
  • 13: vs. Ole Miss
  • 14: vs. Ole Miss
  • 15: vs. Ole Miss
  • 18: at Southern
  • 20: at Arkansas
  • 21: at Arkansas
  • 22: at Arkansas
  • 24 at Tulane
  • 27: vs. Kentucky
  • 28: vs. Kentucky
  • 29: vs. Kentucky
  • 31: vs. UNO

April

  • 1: vs. Louisiana Lafayette at New Orleans (Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic)
  • 3: at Alabama
  • 4: at Alabama
  • 5: at Alabama
  • 8: vs. Northwestern State
  • 10: vs. Auburn
  • 11: vs. Auburn
  • 12: vs. Auburn
  • 15: vs. Lamar
  • 17: at Georgia
  • 18: at Georgia
  • 19: at Georgia
  • 22: vs. Tulane
  • 24: vs. Texas A&M
  • 25: vs. Texas A&M
  • 26: vs. Texas A&M
  • 28: vs. Alcorn State

May

  • 1: at Mississippi State
  • 2: at Mississippi State
  • 3: at Mississippi State
  • 8: vs. Missouri
  • 9: vs. Missouri
  • 10: vs. Missouri
  • 12: at UNO
  • 14: at South Carolina
  • 15: at South Carolina
  • 16: at South Carolina

Postseason

  • May 19-24: SEC tournament
  • Mat 29-June 1: NCAA regionals
  • June 5-8: NCAA super regionals
  • June 13-24: College World Series

Cannizaro to be introduced as new baseball assistant Monday

LSU is set to introduce its new assistant baseball coach at a press conference Monday, and its expected to be former Tulane star and New York Yankees scout Andy Cannizaro.

Andy Cannizaro is set to be LSU's new assistant baseball coach.

Andy Cannizaro is set to be LSU’s new assistant baseball coach.

The Tigers will also introduce the 2014 signing class and reveal the 2015 schedule.

The Advocate reported on LSU’s 2015 schedule in March. Here’s the story.

Cannizaro, multiple sources said, will replace hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez. Sanchez left the program over the summer and plans to leave the coaching business.

Cannizaro,  a 35-year-old from Mandeville, was a major league shortstop and last played in the majors in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Coach Paul Mainieri could not confirm Cannizaro’s hiring, but multiple sources affirmed that he’ll be introduced Monday as Sanchez’s replacement.

Poll Speak: How they finished

Paul Mainieri and his Tigers finished as high as 15th and as low as 22nd this year. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Paul Mainieri and his Tigers finished as high as 15th and as low as 22nd this year. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

The LSU baseball team finished in the top 22 in all five major college rankings released over the past week. Check out the full list below and click on the poll name for a link to the rankings.

Nola to make pro debut Monday (other ex-Tigers in the pros)

Aaron Nola makes his pro debut Monday night. (AP)

Aaron Nola makes his pro debut Monday night. (AP)

Less than three weeks after selecting Aaron Nola with the seventh pick in the MLB draft, the Philadelphia Phillies will thrust the former LSU ace into his professional debut.

Nola will start Monday night at 5:30 for the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies’ High-A affiliate in Florida, against the Lakeland Flying Tigers in Lakeland, Florida.

Clearwater is 20-52 this season. Nola will pitch against Venezuelan Yorfrank Lopez (71.0 IP, 4.56 ERA). Former LSU reliever Nate Fury, drafted in the 36th round by the Detroit Tigers, plays for Lakeland. Tyler Hanover, the ex-LSU infielder, also plays for the Flying Tigers.

Nola signed a contract with the Phillies that included a bonus of nearly $3.3 million. He’s expected to be the first pitcher from this year’s draft to make the move to the major leagues.

Nola will make his home debut Saturday and will don No. 49, according to a message posted on the Threshers’ Twitter account.

 

 

Four more LSU players were drafted in the June draft and have started their professional careers:

  • Joe Broussard, Ogden Raptors (Rookie): LSU’s 2014 hard-throwing closer, Broussard made his pro debut on Sunday and got the  win. The first reliever out of the bullpen, he threw 2.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit and striking out three.
  • Nate Fury, Lakeland Flying Tigers (Advanced A): Fury made his debut Friday, throwing one inning, allowing two hits and one run.
  • Tyler Moore, Brooklyn Cyclones (A – Short Season): Moore had played in nine games, at DH and catcher, and has a .231 average.
  • Sean McMullen, Greenville Astros (rookie): McMullen has played in four games and is batting .412, third on the team, and he’s driven in two runs.

Online registration available for Mainieri baseball camps

Paul Mainieri will conduct camps in July. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Paul Mainieri will conduct camps in July. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Online registration for the all five summer sessions of the Paul Mainieri/LSU Baseball Camp is now available at www.LSUbaseballcamps.com.

There are spaces available for all five camps, and they are open to any and all applicants entering grades K-8:

  • Session 1: June 30-July 3
  • Session 2: July 7-10
  • Session 3: July 14-17
  • Session 4: July 21-24
  • Session 5: July 28-31

The camps are designed to create enthusiasm for the game of baseball while teaching campers the skills they will need to be successful during competition. The camps offer daily instruction on position specific fundamentals – hitting, pitching, fielding and base running.

First-class instruction is offered for players of all ages and abilities in a structured, enthusiastic and fun environment. The camp staff features some of the best collegiate coaches and players, along with top high school coaches in the area.

Mainieri: It’s the perfect class

Coach Paul Mainieri has received assurances from 11 of his 12-member freshman signing class that they’ll play for LSU and not sign pro contracts.

Paul Mainieri calls LSU's signing class "perfect." (HILARY SCHEINUK | The Advocate)

Paul Mainieri calls LSU’s signing class “perfect.” (HILARY SCHEINUK | The Advocate)

That means the Tigers will reel in a group that Mainieri says might be the best he’s ever signed in eight years at LSU.

Mainieri sat down with The Advocate earlier this week to discuss the signing class, among other topics. You can read the full Q&A with the coach in The Advocate on Saturday (Part I) and Sunday (Part II).

For now, here’s a portion of Part II of the chat where Mainieri touches on this class of freshmen.

Q: How excited are you about this freshman class?

Mainieri: I haven’t been this excited about a class since, really, our first class that came in – the class with (Kevin) Gausman and (Ryan) Eades and (Jacoby) Jones and (Ty) Ross. That was a pretty great class, too. Probably felt the same way about that class. This class, I don’t know, it just strikes me as being the perfect class. I know that it’s hard to say that something’s perfect, but it just feels that way. We’ve got some really high end players that literally turned down $1 million. One turned down $1 million. One turned down very close to $1 million. The rest of them were going to be draft choices between the third and 12th round if they wanted to be. The reason they didn’t get picked there was because they had indicated to pro scout that they were going to go to LSU no matter what. They didn’t waste draft picks on them.

We had five draft picks that are coming to school, but trust me when I tell you that the rest of them that weren’t drafted easily would have been or could have been or should have been.

This is a talented group. We’ve got the pitchers that are going to replenish our staff, plus we’ll have three or four guys coming back from injury last year. I’m excited about that. I think our staff is going to be strong. We’re just going to have some youth. That’s not going to be an excuse. We’re going to have to get them ready quickly. We’ve got the right pitching coach to do that.

I’m also equally as excited about the position players. The two Jordan boys at Barbe (Beau and Bryce) are winners. If you looked up the word ‘winner’ in the dictionary, you’d see their pictures there. They’re good ballplayers.

I think (Greg) Deichmann and (Grayson) Byrd are going to be really

Javi Sanchez gets much of the credit for reeling in LSU's class, Mainieri said. (Patrick Dennis |The Advocate)

Javi Sanchez gets much of the credit for reeling in LSU’s class, Mainieri said. (Patrick Dennis |The Advocate)

great players here. And Mike Papierski reminds me an awful lot of Micah Gibbs. Maybe even better. He’s a switch hitting catcher that has the talent and the tools and is going to have a tremendous future here. I’m equally excited about those guys. If you asked me to draw up the perfect class, this would be it. I think (recruiting coordinator and hitting coach Javi) Sanchez did an amazing job putting it together.

Q: What do you tell an 18-year old who calls and tells you that he turned down $1 million to come play for you?

Mainieri: I tell them that they exhibited an unparalleled level of confidence in themselves of decisiveness and of valuing what the experience of LSU is going to be like. Personally, I think they all made good decisions. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

I totally understand Bobby Bradley, why he decided to sign. I totally supported his decision to do that, and I wish him nothing but the best. The other kids who turned it down and decided to come to LSU, I’m going to wrap my arms around them, welcome them into the program and get to work.

I think they’re going to have a significant impact on the program. I don’t know if it’s going to be ranked the No. 1 class in the country. It should be. That’s the talent on the team. That’s the talent in the class. I don’t know how those people that rank them do that, but for me it’s the No. 1 class in the country. It might be the best class we ever had here.

Mainieri: ‘These last three days have been trying’

brightcove

Coach Paul Mainieri met with reporters Thursday for the first time since the Tigers bowed out of the NCAA postseason by losing back-to-back game to Houston in the NCAA Baton Rouge regional.

We supply a few newsy nuggets from our chat below. Check out the above video, too.

  • Of all of the decisions Mainieri made Sunday and Monday, he is second-guessing himself on one: starting the eighth inning Sunday night with Kurt McCune – as LSU nursed a 4-0 lead. “Maybe I should have gone with Joe Broussard,” Mainieri said. Mainieri’s decision to leave Broussard in the bullpen came from his fear that the closer’s velocity would have dropped after pitching the night before. That’s what happened in the series at Texas A&M. “I was a little concerned, after throwing 20 pitches, would he have the endurance, would he have the velocity for two full innings, ” Mainieri said. The coach somewhat regrets the decision after seeing Broussard pitch three innings later in that same game.
  • Among all of LSU’s healthy pitchers, Kyle Bouman will be the only one who will be shut down, Mainieri said, this summer. Jared Poche, meanwhile, will get four starts this summer for five innings each in the Cape Cod Leagie.
  • So what’s the 2015 LSU infield look like? It’s too early to tell, Mainieri said. Tyler Moore’s status (go pro or not) will help shake out things, Mainieri said. “That could affect what we do with Conner Hale,” Mainieri said. Hale was originally signed to be a third baseman. “We don’t know how Danny Zardon and Kramer Robertson played this summer,” the coach said. “We know what we have in Bregman.” Mainieri suggested that two signees – shortstops Greg Deichmann and Grayson Byrd – will give serious competition to all infielders – outside of Bregman.

LSU players/signees and the MLB draft

The athletic Jared Foster will likely sign a pro contract. (Patrick Dennis | The Advocate)

The athletic Jared Foster will likely sign a pro contract. (Patrick Dennis | The Advocate)

The MLB draft begins Thursday. Here’s our story on that.

On the blog, here is a nuts-and-bolts look at how the draft will affect the LSU baseball team – from current players to signees. We’ve compiled these two charts based on discussions with pro scouts, LSU coaches and Scout.com’s national baseball analyst, Kiley McDaniel:

Current players | Projection | Signability

RHP Aaron Nola 1st round Very high
RHP Joe Broussard 6th-10th Moderate to High
C Tyler Moore 6th-10th Moderate to High
OF Jared Foster 5th-15th High
OF Mark Laird 6th-10th Low to Moderate
2B Conner Hale 10th-15th Low
LHP Kyle Bouman Late Low

 

Signees | Projection | Signability

LHP Mac Marshall 2nd-4th round Moderate
RHP Jake Godfrey 3rd-5th Moderate
1B Bobby Bradley 3rd-5th Moderate
SS Greg Deichmann 4th-7th Low to Moderate
LHP Jake Latz 7th-15th Low
RHP Alex Lange 5th-7th Low
RHP Doug Norman 5th-7th Low
C Michael Papierski 5th-7th Low
SS Grayson Byrd 7th-15th Low
INF/RHP Austin Bain Late Low
1B/OF Beau Jordan Late Low
1B/OF Bryce Jordan Late Low