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Tigers to watch for in the 2019 MLB Draft

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The MLB draft usually takes it’s toll on the LSU roster and recruiting class. This year is no different.

Gus Stark/LSU Athletics

We’re not even 24 hours removed LSU’s Regional championship over Southern Miss, but the MLB draft seldom ever cares about the college baseball it pillages from. The first two rounds will be held Monday night starting at 5:00 CST. The draft will be broadcast on MLB Network.

As usual, there are some LSU players and targets expected to go. Shortstop Josh Smith is the only current Tiger expected to go today, projected to go early in the second round. Smith ended the regional on a strong note, hitting a leadoff home run and two-RBI triple on two pitched in the Tigers’ 6-4 victory over Southern Miss.

Outfielder and four-star cornerback commitment Maurice Hampton is expected to go anywhere between the middle of the first round or very early in the second round, including the compensation picks between the first and second rounds.

Daniel Espino, a right-hander from Statesboro, Georgia is projected to be scooped up late in the first round. Espino threw privately for the Dodgers ahead of the draft, so it’s safe to assume they’d be keen on him at 25. Which makes sense, as he is already in the high 90’s with a knockdown slide piece.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been keeping close tabs on local shortstop/third baseman Christian Cairo, and if he doesn’t go tonight he’ll probably be drafted early on tomorrow. Cairo is a plus defender already, meaning if he showed up to campus he’s be a natural replacement for Josh Smith at short.

IMG SS/3B/outfielder Rece Hinds is expected to go in the late second round or early in the second compensation round. Hinds’ upside is tremendous not only because he could play five different positions, but his bat is powerful as well.

Lake Travis (TX) pitcher (and third baseman) Jimmy Lewis is projected to go about in the middle second round. Lewis sits in the 90’s and possess a solid standard three pitch repertoire.

There are a handful of local kids who have committed to play for the Tigers to keep an eye on as well. Denham Springs SS Cade Doughty is a solid four and a half tool player, a great defender who can hit for contact with a little pop when needed. Doughty isn’t expected to go tonight, but his status as a prospect with a very high ceiling means he could go tomorrow.

Zachary has a pair of commitments to LSU as well in catcher Alex Milazzo and infielder Collier Cranford. If Milazzo makes it to campus, he’d be a breath of fresh air because he is a solid defensive catcher with a rifle for an arm behind the plate. The tradeoff is one you usually get with defensive catchers, a little bit of a dropoff with a bat in his hands. He can hit for contact, but his first high school home run didn’t come until late in his senior season.

Cranford will probably not be drafted early enough to justify him backing out of his commitment to the Tigers, but that’s to say nothing about his prospects. Cranford is a reliable hitter and clean fielder, the type of player who can really step on campus and thrive in SEC baseball while making relatively few ripples. He’s a lot like Brandt Broussard in that regard.