LSU’s 2021 baseball roster is due for a total restructuring, starting with the MLB Draft Wednesday night.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the shortest draft in MLB history will go just five rounds instead of the usual 40, possibly leaving coach Paul Mainieri and the Tigers with a surplus of talent they haven’t had before.
LSU has a number of current players and incoming recruits who may be waiting to hear their names called later this week, but who does and doesn’t will affect the upcoming season and roster more than ever before.
LSU has already lost one player — senior right-handed pitcher Eric Walker — due to the roster restructuring with the shortened draft.
LSU has given me experiences and opportunities that I will forever be grateful. I can’t describe how blessed I am to have called Baton Rouge home for 4 years. #FOREVERLSU— Eric Walker (@EricWalker_8) June 8, 2020
Having said that, I am super excited about this next chapter in my life at Oklahoma State. Go Pokes! pic.twitter.com/evOZT1WcqQ
LSU outfielder Daniel Cabrera is almost a sure fire candidate to leave for MLB. He’s appeared in most mock drafts as a first or second round pick and finished the shortened season batting .345 with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
The only other current LSU player that seems a definite to leave is right-handed pitcher Cole Henry, a draft-eligible sophomore. Henry started four times for LSU this season, posting a 1.89 ERA and striking out 23 batters.
Pitchers AJ Labas, Devin Fontenot and Ma’Khail Hilliard, catcher Saul Garza and infielder Zach Mathis all fall into the fifth-round or undrafted area of most mock drafts. Because of that, they are more likely to return to Baton Rouge in the fall. MLB has ruled that there is a $20,000 limit on bonuses for non-drafted free agents, which will discourage most undrafted players from signing.
According to The Advocate, the only recruit with a first-round draft grade is catcher Drew Romo from The Woodlands High School in Texas. “He has elite defensive skills, and he hits from both sides of the plate. If Romo falls past the second round, he will likely come to school,” Wilson Alexander of The Advocate wrote.
Another LSU recruit with a first round grade is Dylan Crews, a highly touted OF prospect from Florida. Crews elected to pull his name from draft consideration last week and will be headed to LSU this fall.
Other recruits who may forego college for the draft include right-handed pitcher Beck Way from Northwest Florida State College and right-handed pitcher and infielder Ty Floyd, from Rockmart High School in Georgia.
Outfielder Brody Drost (Barbe High School, Lake Charles), right-handed pitcher Blake Money* (Summit High School, Tennessee) and infiedler Jordan Thompson (Helix High School, California) all have fourth and fifth round draft grades and could make their way to campus depending on their respective asking price.
* [Junda: BLAKE MONEY’S YOUNGER BROTHER’S NAME IS CASH]