Paxton Kling is the new Dylan Crews for LSU

Dylan Crews was the best outfielder in the country last year. LSU has another outfielder who is quickly filling in the shoes of Crews. Let's take a look at Paxton Kling's hot start to the 2024 season.

Paxton Kling at the plate as The LSU Tigers take on the Butler Bulldogs at Alex Box Stadium in Baton
Paxton Kling at the plate as The LSU Tigers take on the Butler Bulldogs at Alex Box Stadium in Baton / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA

A year ago, the Louisiana State Tigers had the best outfielder in the country. That outfielder was Dylan Crews and he was selected second overall in the 2023 Major League Draft.

This season, the Tigers are without Crews, but they have another outfielder that is filling in Crews' shoes.

Paxton Kling is the new centerfielder for the Tigers and is off to a great start. Kling is the new leadoff hitter for LSU in just his sophomore year. He got significant playing time as a freshman, which led to this role of the successor to Dylan Crews.

Through seven games played this season, Kling has a batting average of .400 with one home run and five runs batted in. He also has an OPS of 1.218, which includes an on base percentage of .618 and a slugging percentage of .600.

Kling is displaying very great tools of getting on base for the Tigers which has allowed him to obtain the leadoff spot. He has eight walks and has only struck out three times. Being able to have more walks than strikeouts is a really good statistic for all batters.

During his freshman season, Kling appeared in 57 games, while starting in 22 games. In that season, Kling had a batting average of .289 with four home runs and nine runs batted in. He had an OPS of .912 with five doubles and two triples.

Kling could have been drafted out of high school, in the 2022 Major League Draft, as he was ranked as the 104th best draft prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He ultimately decided to attend Louisiana State, which has worked out well so far him.

Kling is ranked as the 50th best prospect for the 2024 Major League Draft according to D1Baseballs Top 100 College Prospects. This ranking is much better than what he was out of high school and with the season he is off to right now, it could improve even more.

Being the successor to a former top draft selection is no easy task, but Paxton Kling is taking advantage of this role. Keep an eye out for the Tigers new star in center field.