Bregman and Nola headline LSU’s All-Decade baseball team
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri continued to lead one of the best college baseball programs in the country during 2010-2019. During that stretch, the team made appearances in nine NCAA Regional tournaments, six Super Regional tournaments, and three College World Series. They won three regular-season SEC championships and four SEC Tournament titles. All of these accomplishments occurred in what is generally acknowledged as the toughest baseball conference in the NCAA.
Mainieri’s teams featured some of the best players in the SEC. Several were also recognized at the national level. Two of the more notable Tiger alums during the decade included Alex Bregman and Aaron Nola, both of whom have gone on to achieve all-star status in Major League Baseball. Many other Tigers in the 2010s were prominent in the annual MLB drafts and played professionally..
In looking back at the LSU squads over the past ten seasons, here’s my All-Decade Team representing the best players (who finished their careers in the 2010s) at each position.
First Base – Mason Katz (2010-13). Katz was a first team All-American and All-SEC in his senior season, as he led the SEC in home runs and RBI. A career .341 hitter, he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Chris Chinea (2013-15).
Second Base – Jacoby Jones (2011-13). Jones was name to the All-SEC Second Team in 2013. He was a second round draft choice of the Detroit Tigers in the 2013 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Cole Freeman (2016-17).
Shortstop – Alex Bregman (2013-15). Bregman was the SEC and National Freshman Player of the Year in 2013 and a first-team All-American in 2013 and 2015. He was a second-team selection in 2014. Bregman was the second overall pick of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. Honorable mention: Kramer Robertson (2014-17).
Third Base – Tyler Hanover (2009-12). Hanover was a mainstay in the LSU infield for four seasons, when he batted .321, 332, .311, and .281. He was a 33rd round pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Christian Ibarra (2013-14) and Conner Hale (2014-15).
Catcher – Micah Gibbs (2008-10). Gibbs was a three-year starter for the Tigers, becoming a first-team All-SEC selection in 2010, when he hit .388 with 10 HR and 60 RBI. He was named to two nationally recognized All-American second teams. Gibbs was a third-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2010 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Kade Scivicque (2014-15).
Outfielder – Mikie Mahtook (2009-11). In 2010, he led the Tigers in slugging percentage and stolen bases. Mahtook led the SEC in batting average in 2011 and was name to the All-SEC first-team and several nationally-recognized All-American teams. Mahtook was a first-round selection of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2011 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Andrew Stevenson (2013-15).
Outfielder — Antoine Duplantis (2016-19). The durable Duplantis started all but two games for LSU during his four seasons. He is the all-time hits leader for LSU, breaking Eddy Furniss’s record of 352. In 2016 he was named to several nationally recognized All-American teams. He was a member of the 2017 College World Series All-Tournament team. Duplantis was a 12th-round selection of the New York Mets in the 2019 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Jake Fraley (2014-16) and Zach Watson (2017-19).
Outfielder — Raph Rhymes (2011-13). Rhymes led the SEC and the nation in batting average (.431) in 2012. He was named the 2012 SEC Player of the Year, only the seventh player in Tiger history to receive the honor. He batted .360 and .331 in his other two seasons and struck out only 62 times in 700 career at-bats. Rhymes was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Greg Deichmann (2015-17).
Designated Hitter – Blake Dean (2007-10). Dean was an All-SEC selection as DH in 2009 and selected to the SEC All-Tournament team in 2009 and 2010. He was a career .331 hitter with 56 HR and 260 RBI. In addition to his role as a DH, Dean also played as an outfielder and first baseman during his career. Dean was picked in the eighth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Honorable mention: Sean McMullen (2013-14).
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher – Aaron Nola (2012-14). Nola had a career record of 30-6 with a 2.09 ERA. He was a first team Freshman All-American in 2012 and was the SEC Pitcher of the Year and a first team All-American in 2013 and 2014. Nola was a first-round selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2014 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Alex Lange (2015-17).
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher – Jared Poche (2014-17). Poche was a workhorse for the Tigers during his four seasons, averaging 18 starts per season. He is LSU’s career leader in wins (39). He was selected to the SEC All-Tournament team in 2014. Poche was picked by the Oakland A’s in the seventh round of the 2017MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Cody Glenn (2012-14).
Relief Pitcher – Matty Ott (2009-11). Ott is the all-time leader in career saves (33) for LSU. He was the SEC Freshman Player of the Year and a second team All-American in 2009. He posted ERAs of 2.68 and 2.60 in two of his seasons. Ott was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Honorable mention: Hunter Newman (2013-17).
Bregman finished as the runner-up for the American League MVP Award in 2019, while Nola was third in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2018. Mahtook and Jones were teammates for the Detroit Tigers in 2019. Duplantis and Poche were still active in the minors last season. Dean is currently the head baseball coach for the University of New Orleans.
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New Orleans baseball historian
Richard Cuicchi, Founder of the Metro New Orleans Area Baseball Player Database and a New Orleans area baseball historian, maintains TheTenthInning.com website. He also authored the book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives. He has contributed to numerous SABR-sponsored Bio Project and Games Project books.