Losing Eric Walker for the 2018 season stinks.
More important than that, it’s a huge blow to the LSU baseball team’s future.
Walker, a freshman sensation on last year’s club, was diagnosed with ligament damage last week by doctors – an ailment so severe that he will need to undergo a severe surgery, which will cause him to miss the entire 2018 season.
And that’s not even the worst of it.
Walker will be undergoing Tommy John Surgery, which sometimes is an operation that pitchers never recover from.
Sure, the success rate of the surgery is better today than it was 10 or 15 years ago, but 100 percent recovery is far from a sure thing.
The doctors will be literally taking a ligament out of his elbow and putting another one in its place.
If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is.
And we sincerely hope and pray that Walker can get back on the diamond where he belongs – going to battle with his team.
On the field, the LSU pitching staff still can be OK, but their margin for error is much smaller.
Zack Hess will likely be LSU’s Friday night guy – especially if he can keep the mojo going from the back-end of the season into a new role.
Assuming Hess is fine as the ace of the staff, Caleb Gilbert will likely comfortably slide into a role as the No. 2 guy – a role in which he will likely thrive because of his ability to consistently throw strikes and challenge hitters.
I love having a guy like Gilbert in modern-day college baseball. The bats aren’t at potent as they once were and the ability to throw consistent high-velocity strikes is enough to eat up quality innings and be valuable to a team.
After Hess and Gilbert, the rest of the pieces are up in the air.
In fall camp, LSU will need to find a third starter, a mid-week starter, a closer and a few setup men.
There are some live arms on the roster and some of the roles may ultimately work themselves out.
But man, it sure would be nice to have Walker, because he’d be a proven commodity who would make everything piece together much more easily.
Get back, kid.
The Tigers need you.
But more importantly, there’s money to be made at the next level, as well.
RECRUITING … YAWN
Message board fans are freaking out right now because the LSU football team has lost something like three football commitments in the past 21 days.
Recruiting is a fickle game. These kids come and go freely and players commit, de-commit, then re-commit constantly before National Signing Day next February.
That’s more than six months away, by the way.
I’m not going to be held hostage and let my spirits be ruined by the whims of a 17-year-old – no way, no how.
The jury is still out on Coach O’s tenure at LSU – no doubt.
But recruiting won’t be he nor his staff’s problem.
They will get their share of players.
Coach O always has and always will.