LAFAYETTE — Tony Robichaux has options.
The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball coach has gotten a good look at the tools at his disposal throughout the fall and the first few weeks of spring practice, and what he’s seen is a baseball Swiss Army knife.
“You’re going to see a lot of guys play,” Robichaux said. “We’ve got an athletic team that can move around.”
The 2016 Cajuns, particularly on the infield, are stocked with a group of utility players that should lead to a smorgasbord of potential lineups.
There’s Stefan Trosclair, whose bat earned him All-American honors while he played second base last season but has shown a knack for first base during practice.
There’s Brenn Conrad, who can play both third and second base.
There’s newcomers Alex Pinero, who is working at both corner infield positions, and Hunter Kasuls and Brad Antchak, who are interchangeable at both middle infield positions.
There’s Kennon Fontenot, who has looked much sharper on the infield after his rough debut last season, but may also serve as the opening day starter in left field.
And then there’s Joe Robbins, who is capable of running the nine-position gamut, even serving as the team’s emergency catcher.
The interchangeability and flexibility of this season’s Cajuns roster should provide Robichaux a wealth of combinations when he’s filling out his lineup card, and he intends to deploy his players in that manner.
“One good thing about this team is, hitting wise, we’re going to be able to keep the nine hot guys on the field,” Robichaux said. “Our depth is real good everywhere … so I’ll think you’ll see a lot of people play and a lot of movable parts.”
It’ll also allow the Cajuns to take advantage of matchups. Instead of sticking with the same core lineup regardless of the circumstances, Robichaux feels this roster allows him to play the percentages.
If the team is facing a stud left-handed pitcher? Robichaux could very well throw a lineup almost entirely consisting of right-handed batters, or vice-versa.
“We can look to see what we’re facing; do we need more speed because we’ve got a catcher that might not throw that well? Is it a right-handed (pitcher) so we need more lefties in the lineup?” Robichaux said. “As we just keep playing, try to see what the best fit is, maybe what team gels the best or matchups.
“Baseball is such about matchups. You’re facing a sinker ball tonight, or a slider guy or a catcher that don’t throw that well. You can go into it and start to try to build a team that might be real good that night against what we’re facing.”