Hot Hand Report: Week 2

Jonathan Mailhes

By nature, baseball is a sport built on streaks.

If a player finishes a season batting .250, it’s highly unlikely that they went 1 for 4 in every single game of the season.

Over the course of a 50+ game season players will go through some hot and dry spells, usually pretty equally. Sometimes these streaks will last for half the season, sometimes it will simply be a bad weekend.

Throughout the season we will try to keep tabs and quantify those streaks by looking at each batter’s average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage over the previous five games.

While it is still early in the season, LSU has played eight games and there is enough data to build a five-game rolling average for most batters in the lineup.

Hot Hands

Zack Mathis: .438 average/.550 on-base percentage/.563 slugging percentage.

Out the gate, junior college product Zack Mathis proven his worth in the Tigers’ lineup and has without a doubt been one of the team’s best hitters.

Over the past five games (Southern, Nicholls, and the three games against Eastern Kentucky) he has been the team’s best hitter, going 7 for 16. In addition to his seven hits, Mathis has drawn four walks and leads the team in on-base percentage (.550).

Mathis’ surge has been powered by the two midweek games against Southern and Nicholls where he went a combined 4 for 6 with two walks.

Not only has Mathis been hitting, he’s also been flashing some leather at third base. After making a couple of errors at the start of his LSU career, Mathis made numerous smooth plays over the weekend and has looked wholly confident at the hot corner.

Cade Beloso: .368/.429/.632

While Zack Mathis has been the consistently hot hitter, Beloso had the more notable upswing over the past five games anchored by his 3 for 3 performance Sunday. Beloso also walked to reach safely in all four plate appearances.

Beloso also led the Tigers in slugging over the past week, picking up a double against EKU and a triple against Southern.

He is currently the team’s overall leading hitter with a .419 average. Beloso is the only Tiger with a triple and only Saul Garza has more RBI (9) than Beloso’s eight.

Daniel Cabrera: .286/.545/.714

Cabrera had a rough go of it during the Tigers’ back to back losses against Nicholls and Eastern Kentucky with a pair of hitless night, dropping his rolling average all the way down to .145.

He bounced back with three hits in the two remaining games against EKU, finishing 4 for 14 over the past five games. Cabrera had a double against both Eastern Kentucky and Southern.

Slumping Swingers

Cade Doughty: .059/.158/.059

Ever since hitting a home run in his first at bat as a Tigers, Doughty has scuffled both at the plate and in the field.

Doughty has just one hit in his last 17 at-bats, a single at Nicholls. Over the past five games he has gotten on base from two walks.

Overall, he is just 3 for 22 on the season.

In addition to his cold performance at the plate, Doughty has committed a team-leading four errors. Two came in the first three innings of the Saturday Eastern Kentucky game, leading to his removal from the lineup.

Drew Bianco: .063/.211/.063

Bianco hasn’t enjoyed a great start to the season. He’s less on a cold streak than he is a cold start, recording just one hit in his 16 at bats. His on-base percentage is inflated by three walks he drew against Indiana and Southern.

Bianco has received far less at bats than any other player on this list, but among players with enough game experience to quality for a five-game average, only Doughty has had more tough luck at the plate.

Saul Garza: .211/.250/.421

Garza had a 3 for 4 outing against Southern that included a home run, but has fallen off since then. The only other hit he’s recorded since last Wednesday was a single Friday night, going 4 for 19 over the last five games.

Over the past five games Garza has seen his role transform from LSU’s primary catcher to a favorite for the designated hitter assignment.

Garza is no longer the primary catcher due freshman Alex Milazzo’s emergence as a defensive weapon with a cannon of an arm. But as of now, Milazzo is a much more consistent and steady (.250/.438/.250) bat to have in the lineup as well.

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