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Fontenot, Hilliard, Dugas Among Key Baseball Players Returning for 2022

No Tigers selected on day three of the MLB Draft

The final day of the 2021 MLB Draft has come and gone and no LSU players or signees were selected.

Instead, several key pieces of the 2021 LSU baseball team announced either late Monday or Tuesday that they would be returning to Baton Rouge in 2022. Among those players returning are pitchers Devin Fontenot and Ma’Khail Hilliard, leading home run hitter Gavin Dugas, and starting centerfielder Gio DiGiacomo. And SOURCES tell The Advocate’s Wilson Alexander that Cade Beloso will also be returning.

The bulk of LSU’s signing class will also be making their way to Baton Rouge too, which helps offset the sting of Monday. In addition to Jaden Hill and Landon Marceaux going in the second and third round, LSU saw its prized jewels of the 2021 recruiting class get taken in the first four rounds of the draft.

Right-handed pitcher Ben Kudrna went in the second round (Kansas City Royals); catcher Carter Jensen (Kansas City Royals) and lefty pitcher Brock Selvidge (New York Yankees) were taken in the third round; and catcher Ian Moller (Texas Rangers) was picked in the fourth round. Those players will have until August 1 to sign with their respective clubs and it’s assumed all four will.

While LSU appears to be losing the top four of its 2021 recruiting class, they will retain the rest of the commits highlighted by righty pitcher Cale Lansville, who is the 85th overall prospect in the nation and the No. 27 RHP according to PerfectGame. Lansville tweeted his intentions to stay committed to LSU Monday afternoon.

New LSU coach Jay Johnson and his staff have also continued to flesh out the 2022 roster via the transfer portal. In addition to Jacob Berry LSU will be adding Tyler McManus who made a name for himself as a power hitting catcher with Samford. McManus is from Slidell and spent his first two years of college at Delgado Community College. McManus batted .346 and hit 11 home runs last season.

LSU will also be adding a pair of pitcher transfers: lefty Tyler Shaffer—coming from Southeastern—and righty Eric Reyzelman, who is coming from San Francisco. Neither Shaffer nor Reyzelman have stats that wow but both are circumstantial. Shaffer didn’t focus solely on pitching until the COVID-shortened 2020 season. In that abbreviated season Shaffer pitched 22 innings and had a 1.23 ERA; last season, however, the ERA inflated to 4.95 in 40 innings of work. He struck out 59 batters but seems to have control issues: Shaffer walked 30 batters, hit another 9 and threw 8 wild pitches.

Reyzelman, on the other hand, had a 6.17 ERA last season but was coming off of Tommy John surgery. His fastball reportedly sits comfortably in the 94-97 MPH range and he held opponents to a .237 batting average against.

The only other current player to monitor is AJ Labas. Labas, a fourth-year junior, was not selected but could sign with a team as an undrafted free agent. The most a team could offer Labas, or any undrafted player for that matter, is $20,000 and the deadline to sign is August 1.