Cade Doughty grew up with an intense fandom for Louisiana State University due to his family’s extensive history with the university.
Doughty’s passion for LSU made the college recruiting process easy. The highly touted high school baseball player knew he wanted to play for the Tigers. He joined the program in 2019, making him a third-generation LSU baseball player and fourth-generation LSU student.
His older brother, Braden, played at LSU from 2018-21, and his dad, Richard, played for the Tigers in 1989.
Doughty’s desire to attend LSU caused him to decline professional interest out of high school. Scouts projected Doughty, a Louisiana native, as a likely early-round pick in the 2019 MLB draft.
“I was deadest on going to LSU,” Doughty said. “There would have been no change to that unless I received a crazy big (signing bonus offer), which is why I set it so high so that I could come here.”
Three years after declining pro interest, Doughty is on scouts’ radars again. The junior infielder is one of the top players in college baseball and a likely first- or second-round pick in the 2022 draft.
Experiencing the draft interest in high school has helped Doughty through the early stages of the draft process this year.
“Some of the scouts I have a relationship with already,” Doughty said. “It is pretty easy to pick up the phone and talk to them if they are calling. I think it does help to have that experience in high school. It allows me to relate to that as a junior in college now.”
Doughty has been an impact player since his first year at LSU in 2020. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Doughty hit .278 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 54 at-bats in 16 games.
Last year, Doughty thrived in an entire season of play. He posted a .308 batting average with 11 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs and 55 RBIs in 227 at-bats in 58 games.
Doughty is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound infielder who is a well-rounded player known primarily for his offensive potential. The right-handed hitter has a solid approach and uses a short and compact swing to drive the ball to all fields. He has the potential to hit for average and power in pro ball.
Defensively, Doughty has experience playing second base, shortstop and third base. He profiles best at second and third base due to his athleticism, range, and respectable arm strength.
While Doughty has a balanced toolset, his ability at the plate is his biggest strength.
“I consider myself a hitter,” Doughty said. “I like to think that I am pretty good at what I do. With what Jay Johnson brings to this team, personally, it’s going to help me a lot to polish things up and see some more walks and extra-base hits. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”
In his first two years, Doughty recorded 40 strikeouts and drew 27 walks at LSU. He does a good job of limiting his strikeouts, even though he sometimes expands the strike zone.
This season, he wants to remain an aggressive hitter but be a little more selective on the pitches he swings at, he said.
“I just need to swing at good pitches,” Doughty said. “Last year, I would get myself into holes and swing at pitches that I couldn’t handle well. If I am seeing the ball well and getting my best swing off every time, I will be in a good spot.”
Doughty will play a key role for LSU this season. Despite coach Jay Johnson entering his first year at the helm, the expectations are high. The Tigers have the talent to compete with any team in college baseball.
LSU is a premier program in college baseball, ranking seventh all-time with 18 College World Series appearances and second all-time with six national titles.
This season, the Tigers hope to advance to the College World Series for the first time since 2017.
“The team chemistry part is going to be key,” Doughty said. “We obviously have a lot of talent. But if we can play for each other and Coach Johnson, we are going to be in a really good spot.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.