BATON ROUGE, La. – Baseball America magazine on Wednesday ranked LSU’s 2022 transfer class No. 1 in the nation.
The class features right-handed pitcher Christian Little of Vanderbilt; third baseman Tommy White of North Carolina State; right-handed pitcher Thatcher Hurd of UCLA; right-handed pitcher/utility player Paul Skenes of Air Force; and infielder Ben Nippolt of Virginia Commonwealth.
Below is Baseball America’s breakdown of the LSU newcomers:
With a .362 average and 27 home runs as a freshman a season ago, Tommy White showed that he’s already one of the best hitters in college baseball, period, and more than good enough to set aside question marks about his defensive viability.
Paul Skenes is an accomplished power hitter in his own right, with a .367/.453/.669 career slash line at Air Force with 24 home runs, and there is optimism about his ability to handle the defensive rigors of catching in the SEC. It will be interesting to see how that is balanced with his time on the mound, where he features a mid-90s fastball that touches the high 90s, a swing-and-miss mid-80s slider and a high-80s changeup that flashes plus.
Infielder Ben Nippolt, a late addition to the class from VCU, had a .430 on-base percentage and walked more than he struck out last season, but perhaps more valuable to the Tigers is his ability to play just about anywhere on the infield.
Right-hander Thatcher Hurd had a 1.06 ERA in 34 innings last season and looked like one of the best freshman arms in the country right up until a back injury ended his season prematurely. If he’s fully healthy and ready to go, his fastball that touched 96 mph last season and a low-80s slider that had a 56% whiff rate should get plenty of outs once again.
Right-hander Christian Little had moments of excellence at Vanderbilt, but now pitching coach Wes Johnson will look to bring that out of him more consistently. His stuff certainly stacks up, including a fastball that averaged over 94 mph and touched 98 last season.
Baseball America subscribers can view the entire Top 25 ranking at baseballamerica.com.