For the last six seasons, LSU baseball fans have been in a state of luxury when it comes to the catcher position.
With LSU alums Micah Gibbs and Ty Ross providing the control and leadership needed behind the plate, Tiger fans have grown accustomed to solid play from the position.
This season, however, there may be no central character crouched behind the plate. The name of the game is depth now, and as LSU coach Paul Mainieri said, it may take time for everyone to adjust.
“It’s going to take some getting used to for our fans, maybe even for our team,” Mainieri said. “This year, it’s going to be more depth, which is a positive. It’s good those guys are going to be more interchangeable.”
The catcher position, consisting of juniors Tyler Moore and Kade Scivicque as well as sophomore Chris Chinea, will break away from the tradition of one sole leader and instead rely on sharing the wealth.
Catcher is just one of the positions with a question mark hiding behind it, as first base and second base were also hit with departures from the 2013 team. When asked about who he had in mind for said positions, Mainieri told the media to “ask him again in two weeks.”
The alluring part of the catching position is that it is not a situation involving a lack of talent, but an abundance of it. Mainieri said he believes catcher is one of the strongest positions on the team, and will use all three players any way he can.
“I’m a big believer in putting the nine best players out on the field. So it’s quite possible that whoever is not catching may play first base or designated hitter,” Mainieri said. “There’s no question in my mind that those three guys are three of the top 12 or 13 players in our team.”
Moore became the favorite for the job after starting in 20 of the 48 games he played in last season, batting .286 with 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He shined brightest in game one of the Super Regional against Oklahoma last season, when he hit a game-winning double in the eighth inning.
While Chinea and Scivicque lack the experience of Moore, he said he recognizes both players are talented and will create a great core. Chinea said the talent leads to a friendly competition that makes each player better individually and helps form a bond between the players.
The three have also grown together with a common under-standing for the position they play. Each said they take pride in the trust the pitchers put in them and the leadership that comes with being a catcher.
LSU begins its season at Alex Box Stadium on Friday against New Orleans, and the starting catcher may not be known until gameday. However, Moore said he’s not worried about this because if someone gets injured there will be someone else with the same mentality.
“The catching position, it’s definitely a lot of work,” Moore said. “We love it, we come out every day and we grind, we grind hard, and we grind hard together. So we kind of form a bond that other players really don’t understand.”