Hill, Sadler, signees go in MLB Draft

The first day of the Major League draft saw two current and two would-be LSU baseball players taken.

The first 20 rounds of the MLB Draft took place Tuesday and the remaining 30 rounds will get underway Wednesday at noon.

Shortstop Aaron Hill was the first LSU player taken, going 13th overall to the Toronto Blue Jays. Scouts give Hill, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, high marks for his quick bat and ability to take the ball to all fields. His defense is considered solid.

Hill leads the Tigers with a .367 average heading into their NCAA Super Regional series with Baylor. He has a team-high 59 RBIs and is tops in doubles with 26.

A junior from Visalia, Calif., Hill improved his stock after three years at LSU. He was originally drafted out of Redwood High School in 2000 when the Anaheim Angels selected him in the seventh round.

A signee for 2003 was the next Tiger to go in the draft. The New York Yankees took Eric Duncan with the 27th overall pick. A left-handed hitting infieder, Duncan (6-2, 205) projects as a power hitting third baseman. He led Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, N.J., with a .534 average, nine homers and 50 RBIs.

LSU coach Smoke Laval had hinted last week that relief pitcher Billy Sadler would be taken in the early rounds despite not seeing considerable action in 2003 with the Tigers. The San Francisco Giants made Laval's prediction accurate by taking Sadler in the sixth round, with 183rd overall pick.

Sadler is consider a good prospect who will be able to pitch at the Major League level after some farm club refinement. He threw 41.1 innings for LSU in 25 games appearances with one start. He posted four saves, a 1-1 record with a 3.92 earned run average, 54 strikeouts and 26 walks. Opponents hit .216 against Sadler this season.

The Texas Rangers took LSU signee Cain Byrd in the 18th round. The right-handed pitcher led Southwood to district titles the past two seasons. The 6-3, 190-pounder was labeled one of Louisiana's top prospects before his senior season, but injuries curtailed his performance. Even then, he finished with a 7-1 record and a 2.46 ERA.

OTHER PICKS OF NOTE - Southern infielder Rickie Weeks was the second overall pick, going to the Milwaukee Brewers.
- Mississippi State left-handed pitcher Paul Malholm was the No. 8 overall pick, selected by Pittsburgh.
- Cleveland made Tulane first baseman Michael Aubrey the No. 11 overall selection.
- Tulane shortstop Tony Giarratano was taken in the third round, the 70th overall pick, by the Detroit Tigers.
- DeRidder pitcher Josh Rainwater was the 100th player taken. The McNeese State signee was a fourth-round choice of the Detroit Tigers.
- Outfielder Xavier Paul of Slidell was the 121st overall pick. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the fourth round. Paul signed with Tulane.
- The first Louisiana-Lafayette player taken was outfielder Corey Coles. He was a fifth round pick of the New York Mets, 139th overall.
- Baylor outfielder David Murphy was the 17th overall pick. The Red Sox made him one of five Bears taken in the first day of the draft. The other Baylor players taken were pitcher Steven White (4th rd., Yankees), shortstop Trey Webb (5th rd., Montreal), outfielder Chris Durbin (10th rd., Boston) and releiver Zane Carlson (16th rd., San Diego).
- Tulane centerfielder Jon Kaplan was taken in the 12th round. The Arizona Diamondbacks picked him 366th overall.

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