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LSU freshman Dylan Crews fields a ball at practice Jan. 29, 2021, at Alex Box Stadium.

Projected lineup

1. Dylan Crews, RF, Fr.

Crews, the highest-ranked freshman in the country, came to LSU after pulling his name from MLB draft consideration. He bet on himself, and LSU gained a true five-tool player capable of starting immediately.

2. Tre’ Morgan, 1B, Fr.

Morgan has played such good defense that LSU moved its incumbent first baseman to the outfield. Not only does Morgan make a difference around the bag, the left-hander’s already one of LSU’s best hitters.

3. Cade Doughty, 2B, So.

After a slow start to his freshman year, Doughty batted .429 over his last eight games. He sprays line drives across the field and will continue to develop his power.

4. Cade Beloso, LF, Jr.

Beloso lost 24 pounds and moved to an unfamiliar position to make room for Morgan. He returns as LSU’s most experienced hitter with a .286 batting average over 283 career at-bats.

5. Gavin Dugas, DH, Jr.

Dugas has flashed between injuries. In a full season, LSU thinks he can hit .320 and potentially 15 home runs. Dugas plays multiple positions, making him one of LSU’s most versatile players.

6. Zach Arnold, SS, So.

Arnold appeared in two games last year as a backup middle infielder after undergoing surgery to remove one of his ribs. He earned the spot with his bat. LSU needs him to play steady defense.

7. Will Hellmers, 3B, Fr.

A potential two-way player, Hellmers might get the opening day nod at third base, but fellow freshmen Jordan Thompson and Will Safford will push for the spot as LSU finds its starter here.

8. Giovanni DiGiacomo, CF, Jr.

DiGiacomo finished last season with a team-high .351 average, but his production came in uneven bursts. If he consistently reaches base, DiGiacomo can torment opponents with his speed.

9. Alex Milazzo, C, So.

In the lineup for his defense, Milazzo gives LSU an edge behind the plate with his ability to throw out runners. He wants to be a tougher out after batting .186 last year.

Top pitchers

Jaden Hill, RHP, Jr.

Hill returns to the weekend rotation for the first time since an elbow injury ended his freshman year. As a reliever last season, he didn’t allow a run. Hitters went 1 for 36 against him.

Landon Marceaux, RHP, Jr.

Marceaux had a 2.70 ERA over four starts last season. He then pitched better than anyone during fall practice. With a deeper understanding of his skillset, he gives LSU a premium starter.

AJ Labas, RHP, RJr.

Well suited for his Sunday role, Labas throws strikes and pitches to contact. He went 1-2 with a 3.55 ERA and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning once last spring.

Devin Fontenot, RHP, Sr.

After returning for his senior year, Fontenot landed on multiple preseason All-America teams as LSU’s closer. He registered a 0.90 ERA last season with four saves, which ranked third in the SEC.

Matthew Beck, RHP, Gr.

One of LSU’s most reliable relievers, Beck didn’t allow an earned run in 12 innings last year. He returned once the NCAA extended eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trent Vietmeier, RHP, Sr.

Now in his fourth season at LSU, Vietmeier can fill the middle innings with his low 90s fastball and tight curveball. He appeared in four games last year, recording a 3.38 ERA.

Aaron George, RHP, Gr.

Granted an extra year of eligibility, George returned as a graduate student. He’ll contribute often if he pitches like he did last year, when he limited opponents to a .200 batting average over seven innings.

Garrett Edwards, RHP, Fr.

Edwards emerged as one of LSU’s best freshman pitchers this fall. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound former basketball player will pitch out of the bullpen opening weekend. He might also start midweek games.

Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com