The sports calendar has had a small but notable change.
Typically the MLB Draft is held in June, around the same time as the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament. This year, the draft begins Sunday (ending on Tuesday) and will coincide with Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities.
The draft’s worth keeping an eye on for two reasons: which current Tigers will hear their names called? And how many pieces of Jay Johnson’s prized No. 1 recruiting class will go straight to pro ball and never wear the purple and gold?
Let’s start with the guys that played for LSU this past season. Switch hitting third baseman Jacob Berry is absolutely gone, he’ll likely go in the top-10 of the draft. Berry, a draft eligible sophomore, is No. 7 on MLB Pipeline’s top 200 prospects; junior second baseman Cade Doughty is also more than likely gone. Doughty’s the No. 55 overall prospect so expect to hear his name called sometime in the second round of the draft. Unless teams are worried about his shoulder and he tumbles all the way out of the first 10 rounds don’t expect to see Doughty playing for the Tigers in 2023. Pitchers Eric Reyzelman and Paul Gervase are probably going to go pro as well.
Now let’s talk about LSU’s signing class. LSU has the No. 1 overall recruiting class this year and some industries call it the best recruiting class ever. But that means a good chunk of those young men likely won’t make it to campus. Let’s break this down into groups.
Absolutely No Chance of Making it To Campus
- OF Justin Crawford (No. 13 overall prospect)
- LHP Robby Snelling (No. 16 overall prospect)
- 3B Tucker Toman (No. 35 overall prospect)
- C Brady Neal (No. 74 overall prospect)
I’m more likely to play baseball for LSU next season than any of these four. Unless Rob Manfred announces there won’t be any minor league baseball in 2023 don’t expect this anyone from this group to make it to Baton Rouge.
Depends on the Signing Bonus
- SS Mikey Romero (No. 65 overall prospect)
- LHP Jacob Misiorowski (No. 78 overall prospect)
- LHP Michael Kennedy (No. 89 overall prospect)
- RHP Chase Shores (No. 129 overall prospect)
- C Jared Jones (No. 198 overall prospect)
Romero is the headliner of this group because he was committed to Jay Johnson at Arizona and then followed him to LSU upon Johnson taking the job here. All that said I’d lean toward Romero taking the money and going pro.
Misiorowski is a JUCO product and could enter the 2023 draft if he doesn’t get the money he’s looking for. Misiorowski’s fastball can hit 100 and more often than not sits in the upper 90s. He’s had injuries in the past (a hamstring injury in 2020 and a right meniscus tear in 2021) and could stand to add some weight to his frame (6’7” but only 190). Maybe the thought of working under new LSU pitching coach Wes Johnson, one of the best in the business, leads Misiorowski to Baton Rouge.
Kennedy and Shores are kind of opposite ends of the prospect spectrum. Kennedy’s got more consistent control over his arsenal of pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) but Shores has power to his fastball (regularly touching 98) but doesn’t have the command over his secondary pitches.
The state of Georgia’s been on a run of producing early round high school catchers and Jones could be the next. He’s got serious pop, especially for a catcher, but could stand to improve his defense. He’ll be 19 by the time the draft starts so if he were to attend LSU the earliest he could go pro would be in 2024.
Looks Promising But Keep Your Fingers Crossed
- SS Gavin Guidry (No. 70 overall prospect)
- RHP Jaden Noot (No. 79 overall prospect)
Guidry’s the state of Louisiana’s No. 1 prospect and will hopefully be the LSU starting shortstop in 2024 and 2025...assuming of course he makes it to campus. That’s looking to be more likely than not at least according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel; McDaniel’s also expecting Noot to head to Baton Rouge.
LSU’s already had one bit of good luck go their way: incoming freshman outfielder Paxton Kling announced last week he would honor his commitment to LSU and withdraw from this year’s draft; Kling is the state of Pennsylvania’s No. 1 prospect and has good speed, making him a likely candidate to inherit Dylan Crews’s starting centerfield job once Crews goes in round one of the 2023 draft.
You should also keep your eye on incoming transfer pitcher Dylan Trebake from Creighton. If Trebake hears his name called early enough or gets the signing bonus he’s seeking he may not be heading up LSU’s rotation in 2023.
The 2022 MLB Draft begins Sunday with rounds one and two plus supplemental rounds at 6:00 P.M. and will be held in Los Angeles. Rounds three through 10 will be Monday at 1:00 P.M. while rounds 11 through 20 will be Tuesday also at 1:00.