The Highest-Ranked Prospect Ever To Play Baseball at LSU Begins His Career on Friday in the Tigers’ Season-Opener

Cam Johnson | Photo by: Sierra Beaulieu

Cameron Johnson is the biggest name in LSU baseball’s freshman class. He’s the No. 1 freshman in the nation heading into the 2024 season, according to Perfect Game.

Johnson is the highest-ranked prospect to ever come to LSU. He was the No. 11 overall player in his class and No. 2 left-handed pitcher. Dylan Crews, LSU’s Golden Spikes winning outfielder, was the No. 13 overall player in his class.

Johnson was drafted in the 20th round of the MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and was the No. 42-ranked prospect going into the draft. He decided to join LSU after falling in the draft. He was the highest-ranked prospect to not sign with an MLB team.

“It was a big surprise, you know, in terms of talent and actually showing up on a college campus,” LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson said.

He spent his final year of high school playing for IMG Academy after playing his first three years at Bishop McNamara in Maryland. He went 6-0 with 43 strikeouts and a 0.78 ERA in 27 innings in his final season.

Johnson, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 251 pounds, has a fastball that can reach 97 mph. He also throws a slider and a changeup.

Johnson joins a crowded pitching staff at LSU. Jay Johnson has yet to name a starting pitcher for LSU’s season opener against VMI, but Thatcher Hurd, Luke Holman and Gage Jump are expected to be LSU’s top three starters.

“There’s a lot of options,” Jay Johnson said. “We can literally kind of do whatever we want [with the pitching rotation] in the context of what we think we need to do to win, and that’s a good thing.”

Hurd was one of the heroes of LSU’s championship run last season and played his best baseball down the stretch. He went 2-1 at the College World Series with a 2.25 ERA and 13 strikeouts.

He was named a preseason All-American by Baseball America.

Holman and Jump are both big-name transfers. Holman was named a preseason All-American by and Jump has been getting rave reviews from his teammates. LSU’s All-American third baseman Tommy White called Jump the most difficult pitcher he has faced this offseason.

Jay Johnson said he and his staff can choose from five different players to when picking a starting pitcher. Nate Ackenhausen and Griffin Herring are likely to be in the mix for starting games as well. Ackenhausen pitched 6.0 scoreless innings against Tennessee in a College World Series elimination game.

Justin Loer and Gavin Guidry can also both see some time closing out games or in relief. Guidry threw the final pitch of the College World Series and Loer was the top reliver for Xavier last season.

Johnson is likely to fall somewhere behind that list of players in the lineup early on.

Last year’s No. 1-ranked freshman, Andrew Dutkanych IV pitched in just four games and received one start for Vanderbilt. He recorded a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched.

Johnson can expect to see more time than Dutkanych did in his freshman season, but his most likely path to more playing time will be performing well in relief.

Other pitchers like Kade Anderson, Christian Little, Sam Dutton, Javen Coleman, Jake Brown and Aiden Moffett will likely see work in relief too.

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