BATON ROUGE, La. – Eight former LSU players appear on Major League Baseball active rosters as the 2023 MLB season opens on Thursday.
Former Tigers appearing on MLB active rosters include infielder DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees), infielder Alex Bregman (Houston Astros), pitcher Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies), pitcher Kevin Gausman (Toronto Blue Jays), catcher Austin Nola (San Diego Padres), outfielder Jake Fraley (Cincinnati Reds), pitcher Alex Lange (Detroit Tigers) and infielder Josh Smith (Rangers).
LeMahieu, a product of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who is entering his 13th MLB season and his fifth with the Yankees, is a three-time MLB All-Star and has won batting titles in both the American League with the Yankees and the National League with the Colorado Rockies.
A four-time Gold Glove recipient and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, LeMahieu played at LSU in 2008 and 2009 and signed with the Chicago Cubs after he was selected in the second round of the ’09 MLB Draft. LeMahieu was the starting second baseman for LSU’s 2009 CWS championship team.
Bregman, who is entering his eighth season with the Astros, played at LSU from 2013 through 2015 and led the Tigers to two College World Series appearances. The No. 2 overall selection by the Astros in the 2015 MLB Draft, Bregman was a two-time first-team all-American at LSU, and he was named the recipient of the 2013 Brooks Wallace Award as the nation’s best shortstop.
Bregman, a product of Albuquerque, N.M., made his MLB debut with Houston in July 2016, and he has helped lead the Astros to the 2017 and 2022 World Series titles as the club’s starting third baseman. He was named the 2018 All-Star Game MVP after blasting the game-winning home run for the American League, and he was named the recipient of the 2019 Silver Slugger Award as the best offensive player at third base in the AL.
Aaron Nola, a Baton Rouge native, enters his ninth season in the Philadelphia rotation, and he was instrumental in the Phillies’ drive to the 2022 National League pennant. He was selected in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Phillies, and he was named a 2018 National League All-Star. He finished third in the 2018 NL Cy Young Award voting after posting a 17-6 record with a 2.37 ERA.
Aaron Nola was a two-time first-team All-America selection and two-time SEC Pitcher of the Year at LSU, and he was voted the 2014 National Collegiate Pitcher of the Year.
Gausman, who pitched at LSU in 2011 and 2012, begins his 11th MLB season and his second with the Blue Jays. He was a 2021 National League All-Star with the San Francisco Giants, recording a 14-6 mark with a 2.81 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 192 innings.
The native of Centennial, Colo., earned first-team All-America honors at LSU in 2012, and he was selected in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
Austin Nola, a native of Baton Rouge and Aaron’s older brother, made his MLB debut in 2019 with the Seattle Mariners, and he collected 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 79 games. He was traded to San Diego in August 2020, and he has contributed significantly to the Padres’ appearances in the 2020 and 2022 MLB playoffs as San Diego’s starting catcher.
Austin Nola was LSU’s starting shortstop for four seasons (2009-12), and he helped lead the Tigers to the 2009 College World Series title.
Fraley begins his fifth MLB season and his second with Cincinnati after three years with the Seattle Mariners. The Tampa Bay Rays’ second-round draft choice in 2016, he was traded to Seattle in November 2018 and first advanced to the Major League roster in August 2019.
Fraley, a native of Middletown, Del., helped lead LSU to the SEC championship and a College World Series berth in 2015, and he was named the recipient of LSU Baseball’s 2016 Skip Bertman Award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of the program.
Lange, a product of Lee’s Summit, Mo., made his MLB debut with Detroit in April 2021. He was the 2017 first-round draft selection of the Chicago Cubs and finished his three-year career (2015-17) at LSU with a 30-9 record, becoming the 10th LSU pitcher to record 30 wins.
Lange compiled 406 career strikeouts, the second-highest total in LSU history, and he earned first-team All-America and All-SEC honors during his collegiate career.
Smith, a Baton Rouge product, was called up to the Rangers’ MLB roster in May of 2022. He was the second-round selection of the New York Yankees in the 2019 MLB Draft and was traded in July 2021 from the Yankees to the Rangers.
Smith played at LSU from 2017-19, and he was the Tigers’ starting shortstop in 2019 after missing most of the 2018 season with a stress reaction in his vertebrae. He was the starting third baseman for LSU’s 2017 College World Series runners-up team, earning Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC recognition.
Smith, a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll as a finance major, was LSU’s leading hitter in 2019, batting .346 (89-for-257) with 17 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 41 RBI, 72 runs and 20 steals in 24 attempts.
LSU has had at least one former player make his MLB debut in 29 of the past 32 seasons. The Tigers have produced a total of 83 Major Leaguers during their illustrious baseball history.