Earlier in the countdown, we discussed how much more prevalent data usage has become in college baseball over the last several years.
And thanks to that type of data usage, we’re able to see just how much power LSU’s Jake Slaughter possesses. You see, LSU baseball maintains the @LSUBaseballData Twitter, which is a must-follow for the cross-section of individuals who love college baseball and also happen to be nerds about baseball data.
Recently, the account tweeted the top exit speeds recorded from LSU hitters during the entirety of the fall, and Jake Slaughter’s name was all over the leaderboard. In fact, he had five of the top ten exit velocities, including the four highest of the fall- 109.31 mph, 108.38 mph, 108.25 mph, and 108.16 mph, to go along with a 106.98 mph swing that placed eighth on the list. He also led the team in home runs for the fall with three.
That hints at prodigious power that would make former LSU slugger Greg Deichmann proud. Deichmann just finished up his LSU career with 30 homers, including 19 in his final season, but he’s now in pro baseball (as is Michael Papierski, who was second on the team with 11 homers) so the Tigers are going to be looking to replace some production from a power standpoint.
With the power he’s shown, the sophomore Slaughter looks the part, even if he suffered through an up-and-down freshman season. In 53 games, 40 of which were starts, he hit .257/.358/.351 with five doubles, three home runs, and 26 RBI.
He struggled a bit with plate discipline, as he struck out in about one-third of his 148 at-bats on the season compared to just ten walks, and the vaunted “freshman wall” might have played a role in some of his struggles, but Slaughter enjoyed big moments as well, such as the three-run homer he blasted in the second inning of LSU’s College World World Series game against Florida State, an eventual 7-4 win that moved the Tigers into their bracket final.
The talent is there, we’ve clearly learned through the fall that the potential is there, and now Slaughter will look to become that middle-of-the-order threat that LSU will need moving into 2018.