Looking Ahead: Who will LSU lose after 2013?

LSU is certainly a team that is loaded with talent on their 2013 roster. Several of those talented players are juniors that have a chance to be high draft choices in the Major League Baseball Draft in June. There are also numerous recruits that the LSU coaching staff will be watching closely. TSD's Austin Cooper breaks down which players LSU has the greatest chance of hanging on to or losing.

With LSU (34-3, 13-2) off to the best start in school history, there are undoubtedly some players on the roster that may forego their eligibility after the 2013 season. There are also numerous recruits that the LSU coaching staff will be watching intently as the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft approaches. I take a look at which players, both current and recruits, that have the potential to opt out of LSU and go the professional route with baseball following the 2013 season.


2B JaCoby Jones (JR)

Paul Mainieri said before the season started that the 2013 season may well be his last seeing JaCoby Jones in an LSU uniform. Jones has been projected as a top-round draft pick for quite some time because of the potential and athleticism that he possesses in his 6-4 frame. Jones had a very slow start to the 2013 season, which had many questioning whether or not a professional organization would take a chance on using a high draft pick on him. Jones has picked up his production at the plate in recent weeks by raising his average from .188 to .240. Because of this, Jones is becoming a more complete player, something that scouts are almost certainly taking notice of. Jones is perhaps the most likely LSU underclassman to forego his final year of eligibility with the Tigers and the coaching staff is already planning ahead for that with one member of the 2013 recruiting class.

Prediction: Draft victim

C Ty Ross (JR)

Considered by most to be one of the best defensive catchers in all of NCAA baseball, Ross is another underclassman that could have professional baseball affect whether or not he returns to LSU next year. Ross hasn't had the year at the plate that most expected from him, but he more than makes up for it with his defensive abilities behind the dish. LSU has also signed a junior college catcher for the 2013 class in Kade Scivicque of Southwest Mississippi Community College. This could be for a number of reasons, but with two freshmen catchers already on the roster, the LSU staff could be preparing for the departure of Ross by signing an older, talented player. In the end, I believe that the defensive abilities that Ross has shown will lead to him being a relatively high round draft choice. If that happens, I could easily see him passing on his senior season with the Tigers. Prediction: Draft victim

RHP Ryan Eades (JR)

If there is a player in the nation that has significantly increased his draft stock this season, it would undoubtedly be LSU junior Ryan Eades. Before the Arkansas series, Eades had yet to suffer a defeat in 2013 and had a sub 2.00 ERA. Even after the series, Eades is still 7-1 with a 1.97 ERA. The talented righty has been on a tear in 2013 and has developed into one of the best pitchers in the SEC. Not to mention Eades has everything that professional scouts desire in players such as great size, command, and a mid 90's fastball. Eades was another player that Mainieri mentioned prior to the season that may not be a Tiger after 2013. As the season progresses, it certainly seems likely that this may be the scenario that plays out for Eades.

Prediction: Draft victim


OF Jarret DeHart – Medford, NJ – Shawnee High School

With DeHart, LSU is getting more than just a player from New Jersey. DeHart is somewhat of a legacy for the Tigers, with his cousin, Brett Laxton, starring for LSU in the early 90's. The talented outfielder from the Garden State will obviously be one LSU signee to watch as the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft approaches. At this time, it seems as though it will take a lot to keep him from suiting up in the Purple and Gold next year. However, a high draft choice and money could obviously change that. There are numerous things to factor in here, but with the family history at LSU and his love for the school, I believe that it will be very hard for DeHart to turn down an opportunity in Baton Rouge. If he ends up on campus, DeHart has the opportunity to fill the void that will be left by the departure of senior Raph Rhymes.

Prediction: LSU

1B/LHP Nick Longhi – Venice, FL – Venice High School

Longhi is a cornerstone to the 2013 LSU recruiting class. This is mainly because he is being recruited primarily as a first-baseman. With Mason Katz in his final year of eligibility with the Tigers, Longhi has enough talent to come in and contribute at first base as a freshman. The Floridian is known for his power from the left side of the plate, something LSU hasn't had in quite some time. Longhi also stars on the mound for Venice High School and has been known to run his fastball into the low 90's. In terms of the draft, Longhi has made it very clear about his desire to attend college and get an education. However, he has been consistently ranked among the top high school seniors in the nation, with several personal workouts for professional organizations already taking place. The draft will clearly be a hurdle for the LSU coaching staff to get Longhi on campus. It will take a very high draft pick and a significant signing bonus to keep Longhi from being a Tiger next fall. As he put it, the money would have to be "life-changing."

Prediction: LSU

INF Kramer Robertson – McGregor, TX – Midway High School

Robertson, the son of Baylor's Kim Mulkey, is one of the more important signees in the 2013 class for LSU. One of the reasons that the Texan signed with the Tigers was because of the potential opportunity that he would have to contribute early. With JaCoby Jones now seemingly back on track in 2013, the chances that he foregoes his final year of eligibility are increasing on a daily basis. Robertson has been told that he will be expected to come in and develop into the go-to guy for LSU at second base.

With Robertson and the draft, the standout from Midway High School has maintained all along that money will not factor into his decision on whether or not to sign professionally out of high school. Robertson told me last week that he understands what kind of an opportunity is waiting on him at LSU. He also added that he knows that playing for LSU would greatly improve his chances of turning baseball into a career.

Prediction: LSU

INF Danny Zardon – Pembroke Pines, FL – American Heritage School

Zardon has been a third baseman throughout his high school career, but he has the potential to play second base as well. He could add to the competition at the position should junior JaCoby Jones forego his final year of eligibility. Zardon is yet another signee that LSU will be at a high risk of losing to professional baseball. Zardon explained to me recently that money would be a big factor in whether or not he attended LSU. With the type of talent that Zardon possesses, it isn't hard to imagine that he could get first-round money as a result of the draft. If that happens, I don't believe that college will be an option for Zardon.

Prediction: Draft victim

RHP – Parker Bugg – San Diego, CA - Rancho Bernardo High School

LSU has the potential to lose several pitchers from the 2013 staff after the season, either to professional baseball or because they expended all of their eligibility. Because of that, pitching has been a key piece to the 2013 recruiting class for the Tigers. Parker Bugg is a 6-6 right-handed pitcher from California that was quite a pull for LSU, as he picked the Tigers over offers from several top programs around the country. While he isn't a slam-dunk to land first-round money in the draft, Bugg could still be picked high enough to affect whether or not he ends up at LSU. Bugg is another signee that understands what kind of an opportunity that he has waiting for him in Baton Rouge. In the end, I don't believe that the draft will have too much of an impact on Bugg and I expect to see him in Purple and Gold next season.

Prediction: LSU

LHP Christian Pelaez – Miami, FL – Florida Christian Academy

Pelaez is a player that will add much needed depth to an LSU pitching staff that will be losing several key members after the 2013 season. Pelaez has already had several meetings and discussions with professional organizations and scouts about where he could be slotted in the draft. However, he has not figured out a definitive spot for where he may be picked. Pelaez informed me late last week that his parents have a strong desire for him to go to college and get an education. This is a view that Pelaez shares as well. He also feels as though attending LSU and playing baseball there will result in a much more productive career in the sport for him. Because of that, I don't believe that professional baseball will be much of a factor here.

Prediction: LSU

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