New LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson shaping Tigers’ 2022 roster on a weekly basis

Arizona left-handed pitcher Riley Cooper is one of two former Wildcats transferring to LSU to join their old coach Jay Johnson. Photo courtesy of University of Arizona athletics

Jay Johnson was named LSU’s baseball coach just more than four weeks ago.

Since then, he’s hired his three-man coaching staff, evaluated his roster and has added six transfers, the latest a pair of pitchers from his immediate former coaching stop.

Bryce Collins and Riley Cooper announced on Friday their transfers from Arizona as he continues to tweak the 2021 roster he inherited from Tigers’ retired coach Paul Mainieri said.

“The NCAA (roster) limit for the first game in February is 40, it’s a little touch and feel right now,” Johnson said Thursday in a Zoom video conference with Baton Rouge area media. “We’re not too far above but maybe a little bit above that right now. We’ll work through that throughout the summer and the fall.”

Collins, a 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander, pitched half of his freshman season in 2019 before sustaining an injury that has kept him on the sideline since. He was 0-2 with a .524 ERA in seven appearances with four starts as a true freshman.

As a lefty freshman last season, Cooper had a 4.88 ERA in 31⅓ innings over 29 appearances with two starts. He had 20 strikeouts, 13 walks and held opponents to a .234 batting average.

He’s the fourth transfer pitcher added by Johnson, joining Collins, right-handed pitcher Eric Reyzelman and left-handed pitcher Trey Shaffer.

“Recruiting here is more about evaluation than anything else,” Johnson said. “How do you hit that sweet spot just below the top of the draft? Everybody wants to come to LSU. Being the right player is the most important thing.

“It’s evaluation of the entire program. Where we’re at, what we need to be successful, what pieces can we add, it’s been very intentional in what we’re trying to do and how we are trying to do it.”

Here’s the current scoreboard of players from the 2021 LSU roster who have entered the transfer portal and also who is transferring to LSU. All stats are from the 2021 season except where noted:

LEAVING (in the transfer portal)

Sophomore outfielder Mitchell Sanford (36 games played, 12 starts): Batted .268 (19 for 71), 13 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 11 RBIs, 24, struck out 24 times, walked 6 times, 1 stolen base, 1 error

Sophomore infielder Zach Arnold (49 games played, 37 starts): Batted. 277 (43 for 155), 25 runs, 4 doubles, 7 homers, 66 RBIs, struck out 40 times, walked nine times

Freshman pitcher Theo Millas (11 appearances, 0 starts): 1-0 with 3.00 ERA, 15.1 innings pitched, 8 runs allowed, 5 earned runs, 6 strikeouts, 4 walks

Senior pitcher Brandon Kaminer (7 appearances, 0 starts): 0-0, 10.38 ERA 4.1 innings pitched, 7 runs allowed, 5 earned runs, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks

Also, freshman pitcher Brooks Rice, who didn’t play this season because of an injury, entered the transfer portal

COMING (Transferred to LSU)

Sophomore infielder Jacob Berry (Arizona): 63 games played with 62 starts, batted .352 (87 of 247), 54 runs, 19 doubles, 5 triples, 17 homers, 70 RBIs, struck out 58 times, walked 33 times, 2 stolen bases, 3 errors

Senior catcher Tyler McManus (Samford): 54 games played with 50 starts, batted .346 (65 for 188), 42 runs, 13 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 53 RBIs, struck out 47 times, walked 24 times, 1 error, 6 passed balls

Sophomore RHP Eric Reyzelman (University of San Francisco): 16 appearances, 10 starts, 3-3 with 6.17 ERA, 35 innings pitched, 24 runs allowed (all earned), 36 strikeouts, 34 walks

Senior LHP Trey Shafer (Southeastern La.): 13 appearances with 7 starts, 3-3, 4 saves, 4.95 ERA, 40innings, 26 runs allowed, 22 runs earned, 59 strikeouts, 30 walks

Redshirt sophomore RHP Bryce Collins (Arizona, stats from 2019 when he last played): 7 appearances with 4 starts, 0-2, 1 save, 5.24 ERA, 22.1 innings, 17 runs allowed, 13 runs earned, 16 strikeouts, 15 walks

Sophomore Riley Cooper (Arizona): 29 games with 2 starts, 3-0, 4.88 ERA, 31.1 innings pitched, 19 runs allowed, 17 earned runs, 20 strikeouts, 13 walks

1 Comment

  1. pitching is the number1 priority for LSU baseball. Previous coaches Mainieri and Dunn did a poor job at evaluating pitching prospects. Most of the pitching recruits were not up to SEC standards and their performance showed it

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