But with college baseball it's more than just signing the players to the program, it's also about competing with major league organizations to get them on campus. TSD's Hunter Paniagua spoke with a reliable source on the LSU side to breakdown the class and get the Tigers' chances of getting each signee on campus.
First, here's the complete list of LSU Baseball's Class of 2014:
SS Gregory Deichmann – Metairie – Brother Martin – 6-2, 180
LHP Mac Marshall - Lilburn, Ga. – Parkview – 6-2, 185
RHP Alex Lange – Lee's Summit, Mo. – Lee's Summit West HS – 6-3, 210
3B Bobby Bradley – Gulfport, Miss. – Harrison Central – 6-2, 220
SS Grayson Byrd – Alpharetta, Ga. – Kings Ridge Christian – 6-3, 180
LHP Jake Latz – Lemont, Ill. – Lemont Twp – 6-2, 185
LHP Hunter Van Horn – Tampa, Fla. – Jesuit – 6-3, 190
RHP Doug Norman – Fort Mill, S.C. – Ardrey Kell – 6-3, 175
SS Austin Bain – Geismar – Dutchtown – 6-1, 185
C Mike Papierski – Lemont, Ill. – Lemont Twp – 6-3, 205
OF Beau Jordan – Lake Charles – Barbe – 5-10, 195
3B Bryce Jordan – Lake Charles – Barbe – 5-10, 195
Our source identified four of these players as the biggest draft risks, though he mentioned at least seven that could get serious looks by professional organizations.
Of that group, Mac Marshall will be the hardest for LSU to hold on to. A left-handed pitcher, he's gotten his fastball up to 94 mph and consistently sits between 91-92 mph. He has a sharp curveball that sits at 76 and a changeup at 80, which provides a solid 10 mph from his fastball. Our source called him the best pitcher in Georgia and one of the top-five lefties in the country. He's a high-profile kid that's spent a lot of time on the amateur event circuit, which ramped up his exposure to professional scouts.
Our source compared him to a pitcher named Robert Kaminski, who was taken late in the first round last year and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. Our source did say that Marshall has given clubs a high signing number, meaning it will take a heavy financial commitment from an organization to land him. With his skillset though, MLB clubs will likely fall over themselves to land him. But if LSU can get him on campus, our source said he'll immediately compete for a spot in the weekend rotation.
Though Marshall's a big draft risk at this point, our source indicated that the staff is very confident in getting the rest on campus.
LSU is also confident that it can get Alex Lange on campus, though our source said he expects him to blow up this spring with scouts. As one of the best pitchers in the state of Missouri (he also has a teammate committed to Arkansas drawing professional attention), Lange will attract a lot of scouts and that exposure could help boost his stock. But our source said that education is very important to Lange's family, and it's not likely that he would sign if he's taken any lower than the second or third round.
Our source called Brother Martin's Greg Deichmann one of the best players Louisiana has produced in the last five to 10 years, and the staff thinks "without a doubt" he's coming to campus. He'll have the ability to play shortstop right away, but our source said he doesn't quite have all the tools a professional club would require to make a franchise-type commitment to him. He's a good runner with a quick release defensively and a smart plate approach from the last side.
Also on the left side of the infield is Grayson Byrd, son of former LSU pitcher Paul Byrd. The younger Byrd is a slick defender with a good power, eye-hand coordination and plus bat speed. Obviously being the son of a major leaguer has given him a strong understanding of the game, and his desire to follow in his father's footsteps in Baton Rouge should scare most MLB clubs away.
Our said that Deichmann and Byrd "go hand-in-hand, and having two guys that can for sure play the left side of the infield is pretty special."
Papierski is a switch-hitting catcher that the coaches hope will take the reigns on the position in his sophomore season. He's already physically mature and is great defensively behind the plate. Our source said he has all the intangibles it takes to be an elite catcher, and professional scouts will keep a close eye on how his bat develops this spring. If he shows a lot of improvement, he may rise into the early rounds of the draft.
Latz has a fastball that touches 90 from the left side with a sharp slider at 82 with late life. He's also working on a changeup and should have that in his repertoire as well by the time he arrives to campus. Latz chose LSU over a number of top ACC programs, and our source said he can come in and be one of the top eight arms at LSU in his first season.
MORE NOTES ON LSU BASEBALL RECRUITING
---LSU has completed its recruiting for the 2014 class, at least for the fall semester. The staff is pleased with what they've assembled and also with what they've seen form the 2013 class during fall practices. Our source said any additions this spring would likely be a JUCO pitcher.
---The coaches will host six signees for official visits when the LSU football team hosts Texas A&M on Nov. 23. Grayson Byrd, Beau and Bryce Jordan, Bobby Bradley, Austin Bain and Hunter Van Horn will all take their trips then. The other six signees took their official visits when the football team played Florida last month.
Our source identified two prospects that have the coaches' attention right now — RHP Brock Love (6-3, 180/Rainbow City, Ala.) and RHP Devon Roedahl (6-2, 190/Beaumont, Texas). Both prospects rank in the Top 50 in their class according to Perfect Game.
---LSU has one player already committed from the 2016 class. Brennan Maddux (Grant/Fairview HS) ranks as the state's No. 1 RHP for the sophomore class with a fastball that sits in the upper 80s and a developing curveball and changeup.