Big-league Tigers

Kyle Riviere

It was quite disappointing to see the season end like it did for LSU baseball.

The Tigers came into the year being hailed by many as the favorite to win the national title. Most preseason polls had them ranked No. 1.

But despite all the talent and all the preseason hype, LSU failed to reach the World Series for a second straight year. And to make it even more agonizing, they were swept at home in the Super Regional.

As an LSU fan, that stinks. But at least there are a few things out there that can bring us some solace. All you have to do is look to Major League Baseball.

In case you've missed it, there are a handful of former Tigers that are doing big things right now at the professional level.

No former LSU star has been better this season than DJ LeMahieu. In fact, if LeMahieu continues to go at this pace, we will all be looking back at this as the single-greatest year by any LSU Tiger in MLB history.

What LeMahieu has been able to do this season has been simply remarkable. We all knew he had the talent. Prior to this year, he was a two-time All-Star, two- time Gold Glove winner and one-time National League batting champion.

However, no one could have expected this. LeMahieu has been so good in New York that he has been mentioned in the same breath as legends like Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio--at least statistically.

LeMahieu is leading the American League in hitting at .339 and RBIs with 63. But here's the best stat: He is batting an unworldly .480 with runners in scoring position.

In his last 10 games, he's hitting .500 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.

He has been the catalyst to a sensational run by the Yankees that has pushed them 7.5 games ahead of everyone else in the AL East. LeMahieu also contributed to the team's record-breaking streak of 31 straight games with a home run.

He was named a starter at second base for the All-Star Game, and as of right now, he is the leader in the clubhouse for AL MVP.

Alex Bregman may not be putting up the kind of numbers that LeMahieu is, but he just continues to build himself up as one of the best young players in the league.

He was also recently named a starter on the AL All-Star team. The third-baseman is only hitting .267, but he leads the Astros in on-base percentage at .392.

Bregman also leads the team in home runs with 23 and RBIs with 55. The 23 homers ranks him third in the AL.

His stellar play has the Astros 7.5 games ahead of everyone in the AL West.

And although Aaron Nola may not be having quite the season he had last year, he's still dealing over in Philadelphia.

Nola leads the Phillies in strikeouts with 118. He has a 7-2 record with a 3.89 ERA.

Unfortunately, his team has struggled to give him consistent run support. That has led to some no-decisions. In one of his defeats, he gave up just two runs.

Nola has been exceptional as of late. In his past two starts, he has thrown 15 scoreless innings.

His brother Austin just got called up to the Mariners, and he has been on fire ever since making his big-league debut.

He has played 14 games thus far, and in that time, he is hitting a sensational .381.

Another former Tiger that is starting and playing well is JaCoby Jones. Jones isn't setting the world on fire from the plate. He is currently hitting .247.

But he has been impressive from the field. He has made numerous web gems from the outfield, stealing home runs from opposing batters.

There is one drawback to all of this.

Although LSU did win the 2009 national title with LeMahieu and Austin Nola, it's torture knowing that they couldn't win the 2013 crown, despite having Aaron Nola, Bregman and Jones all on the roster.