As the LSU baseball team struggled at times through the 2011 season, one of the glaring deficiencies was a lack of left-handed pitching.
That was a point of emphasis for the incoming recruiting class and nobody exemplifies that more than Texas prep star Cody Glenn.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound southpaw is a huge part of the 2011 recruiting class, and from all indications, should wind up in Baton Rouge next month.
In Glenn, the Tigers would have a left-hander equipped to handle a full-time starting role – possibly on the weekend – for the first time since 2008 when Blake Martin and Ryan Verdugo both spent the season in the weekend rotation. Jordan Rittiner made a handful of starts in 2010 but was used more as a reliever.
As a senior at Westbury Christian in the Houston area, Glenn was 5-2 with 90 strikeouts and a 2.33 ERA, but he logged only 48 innings because he also starred on the Wildcats' basketball team, which lost the Texas Association of Parochial and Private Schools Class 4A state championship in March after winning the crown the year before.
Because of his less-than-spectacular stats from an abbreviated season, Glenn's Major League Baseball Draft stock wilted a bit – very similarly to current Tiger pitcher Kevin Gausman in 2010.
As was the case with Gausman, LSU coach Paul Mainieri is more impressed by Glenn's potential than worried about what his stats were.
"He can be a special talent and has a great chance to be an outstanding pitcher for us," Mainieri said. "It took him a little while get going in the high school season because he's an excellent basketball player and his reason ran so late that he wasn't able to throw much. It was conceivable that he might've been drafted in the first few rounds if he would've had a better senior season, but based on his asking price and the how he pitched in the spring, I think teams decided to not make that kind of investment in him."
Glenn was eventually drafted, taken by Toronto in the 15th round of last month's 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. Like Gausman when he was snagged in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers the year before, Glenn is regarded as a draft bargain – if he opts to sign with the Blue Jays.
He said Monday that he has given Toronto a signing bonus number that he doesn't expect the franchise to agree to and that he plans on being in an LSU uniform in 2012.
"I'm all geared up to go to school," Glenn said. "I have my classes all set up. I can't fully guarantee I'll be on campus, but right now that's what the plan is and I don't see anything changing."
Glenn is playing for the Dallas Patriots at the Connie Mack League level this summer and said he doesn't intend for the final decision to drag out, although he hasn't heard from Toronto in a while.
Meanwhile, he has already attended a freshman orientation session at LSU and has spent time with Mainieri and Alan Dunn, the Tigers' new pitching coach, when they came to watch him throw in summer-league action in Houston.
"I had chance to meet (Dunn) when he came and saw me pitch three weeks ago and then I saw him again at orientation," Glenn said. "It's really exciting to have a guy like him to work with. I thought it was a great addition. I can't wait to work with him because he has a great background in pro baseball."
Also encouraging for Glenn is the makeup of the Tigers' pitching staff and how freshmen were leaned on last season.
Kurt McCune and Gausman were permanent fixtures in the weekend rotation all season, and Ryan Eades joined them in the final two weekends. It will take some effort to break into that group, and Glenn said he doesn't expect anything to be handed to him.
Like Gausman, Glenn will be a draft-eligible sophomore, and Mainieri said that will expedite the expectations of how quickly and how much he can contribute.
"It's very encouraging that the coaches won't hesitate to put a freshman out there if they trust him and think he can do the job well," Glenn said. "Coach Mainieri told me had I'd have the opportunity to come in and make difference immediately, but that's going to be up to me and how hard I work. I prefer to be a starter, but whatever I can do to earn a place is fine with me."
While all indications point to Glenn winding up campus, the status of 22nd-round draft pick Nick Goody is still up in the air.
Goody is still waiting on a final offer from the New York Yankees.
As a sophomore at State College of Florida-Manatee, Goody was 6-2 with 114 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA in 84 innings. He has served as the closer for the Mankato Moondogs of the North Woods League and was 1-0 with four saves and 27 Ks in 14 innings before finishing his season on June 30.
Drafted players have until Aug. 16 to either sign with the clubs that drafted them or report to school.
Glenn's decision could give LSU a boost
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