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LSU Baseball Ranked No. 8 in D1 Baseball Top-25 Preseason Rankings

Tigers come in with a loaded offensive arsenal but face questions with new pitching staff

It's officially just one month out from Baseball at the Box and first-year head coach Jay Johnson and LSU came in at No. 8 on D1 Baseball's top-25 preseason rankings. 

The Tigers were joined by a number of SEC programs in the top 25 including Arkansas (No. 2), Vanderbilt (No. 3), Mississippi State (No. 4), Ole Miss (No. 5), Florida (No. 9), Georgia (No. 16) and Tennessee (No. 19).

LSU also had a number of players on its roster recently named to the Perfect Game top-100 by class including sophomores Dylan Crews, Jacob Berry, Tre Morgan, Jordan Thompson, Javen Coleman and Ty Floyd, juniors Cade Doughty and Eric Reyzelman and seniors Gavin Dugas and Devin Fontenot. 

Just taking a quick glance at some of those names and it's easy to see why LSU's offense is being hyped as one of the best in the country entering the season. A core of Crews, Berry, Morgan, Dugas, Doughty and Thompson is absolutely lethal and should be enough to keep LSU in most of its games this season. 

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Where the questions with this team come in are with the pitching staff. It was clear from the moment he was hired, Johnson wanted to rebuild this staff a different way, recognizing there weren't any starting returning arms from a season ago. What Johnson wants to do with this staff is different from your typical starter, middle reliever, closer set up that's so common.

Instead Johnson and pitching coach Jason Kelly have whittled down pitchers of the 19 on the roster to potential starting roles and plan on following more of the modern MLB model. It means less innings for the starters and more carved out roles and opportunities for pitchers who don't start to keep everyone fresh. 

Johnson has yet to publicly say who he's considering for the starting roles and it's likely a competition that will continue to opening weekend on Feb. 18. 

It's important to know that this team has the talent to be among the very best in the country.

"The starting point of everything we do is building to where we want to be," Johnson said back in the fall. "I think the foundational blocks of what they're putting together so far are good. We're not totally ready to play a game in terms of having everything in that I'd like to but we're seeing consistent improvement in terms of hitters taking really tough at bats."