In this year’s MLB Draft, there will be little to no apprehension among Jay Johnson’s staff as most of LSU’s players have made up their minds on whether or not they are leaving for the big leagues.
The 2023 MLB Draft will take place from Lumen Field in Seattle and it will last from Sunday, July 9 through Tuesday, July 11. On Sunday, rounds 1-2 will take place at 6 p.m. CT where it will be broadcasted on both ESPN and MLB Network, rounds 3-10 will take place on Monday at 1 p.m. CT where they will be streamed on MLB.com and rounds 11-20 will take place on Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT on MLB.com.
LSU is projected to have three players selected in the first round with two more that will be selected in rounds two and three. There will also be a large chunk of players that will be drafted on day three of the draft on Tuesday.
It should be one of the best MLB drafts in a while and I expect it to be one of the most highly-rated MLB drafts due to the amount of talent that will be drafted this year.
With that being said, let’s look at all of the draft-eligible players
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Paul Skenes will be gone by the third pick. According to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, Skenes is projected to go to the Pittsburgh Pirates as the first overall pick in the draft. If Skenes doesn’t get selected first overall, the Nationals are very keen on drafting the Dick Howser Award winner who finished the season with a 1.69 ERA and 209 strikeouts, which is an Southeastern Conference record.
The biggest riser on draft boards among LSU’s draft-eligible players happens to be none other than Ty Floyd. Floyd turned a lot of people’s heads during the College World Series after he finished with a 3.46 ERA and 27 strikeouts, including a record-setting 17-strikeout performance in LSU’s 4-3 victory over Florida in game one of the College World Series Championship Series. Floyd was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team.
Floyd, who was projected to be a third-round draft pick before the College World Series, is now a potential first-round pick with McDaniel having him as the 24th overall pick to his hometown team, the Atlanta Braves. Even if he doesn’t get drafted in the first round, Floyd is a surefire day-one pick as it would shock a whole lot of people if he didn’t get drafted in the second round as well.
Grant Taylor, who was supposed to be LSU’s No.2 pitcher in its starting rotation before he suffered a torn UCL, is projected to be a day two draft pick and could even move up to day one if someone wants him badly. There’s a 50/50 chance Taylor may stay at LSU.
Taylor was projected to be a round-one pick before the season as he impressed MLB scouts with his performances in the Cape Cod League and fall practices. Taylor’s fall practices were so good that even some MLB scouts said he had a better fall than Skenes did.
Garrett Edwards was arguably LSU’s best reliever before he was shut down for the rest of the year due to injury. Although there is a possibility Edwards could return to school, it is very unlikely as he got Tommy John surgery in late April and will miss most of his senior season if he decides to come back. Edwards is projected to be a day-three pick.
Riley Cooper announced on Baton Rouge radio station 104.5 ESPN that he would want to be drafted and start his pro career. Cooper (5-3) finished the 2023 campaign with a 4.38 ERA in 32 appearances (three starts) with 63 strikeouts. Cooper’s draft stock was boosted due to his performance in the College World Series where he had a 0.93 ERA with nine strikeouts and three saves.
Reliever Christian Little could be another name that could be called during the MLB Draft. If his name is called, it will be sometime during the third day of the MLB Draft.
Tre Morgan is someone who will be drafted on the second day of the MLB Draft as he is projected to be selected anywhere between the third and fifth rounds. However, because of Morgan’s raw athleticism and his ability to play multiple positions may push him to be a day-one selection. Morgan will most likely be taken as a first baseman, but he could be taken as an outfielder as well.
2B Gavin Dugas will be drafted most likely as a day three pick. However, he could very well move up to the late second-day pick as a 10th-rounder.
SS Jordan Thompson is someone who will be taken on the second day. Thompson was a surefire second-day pick as he was projected to be drafted in the first five rounds of the MLB Draft. However, Thompson’s poor performance caused him to dip among draft boards.
Fan favorite DH/1B Cade Beloso is projected to go as a day three pick.
LSU OF Dylan Crews was projected to be the No.1 pick in this year’s MLB Draft, but things have changed. Crews wants more than the top slot in the draft, which is $9.271 million. Because Crews wants $10 million, he most likely will not be the top draft. Pittsburgh has the first pick and two things are going against Crews: the Pirates organization is cheaper than most MLB ball clubs and Crews’ agent, Scott Boras, does not have a good relationship with Pittsburgh’s front office.
Brayden Jobert has one year of eligibility left due to his freshman year being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, I see him going to the big leagues with the year he had as he greatly improved his batting average - from .246 to .301- as well as his on-base percentage from .354 to .409.
Hayden Travinski will most likely stay on campus and look to boost his draft stock. However, it would not be a surprise if he left as Brady Neal will be returning next year and he became LSU’s primary catcher in the second half of the year as he batted .356 from the plate with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 41 appearances (23 starts).
Alex Milazzo has a very important decision to make. My gut feeling is that he will be leaving to go pro because there is nothing left to prove and he was one of the best defensive catchers in college baseball. It would shock me if he returned after the draft.