Several members of the Tigers' 2014 signing class could possibly be taken in the first 10 rounds, which would give them a decision to either take the signing bonus and go pro or head to the collegiate ranks. TSD spoke with a source close to LSU to gauge where they think their signees will fall in the draft, and the likelihood that those players opt for Baton Rouge.
LHP Mac Marshall (Lilburn, Ga. | Parkview) is the highest ranked prospect in LSU's class. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound southpaw has a fastball that touches the mid-90s with a sharp curveball and changeup that drops off about 10 mph from his fastball. That repertoire makes him an attractive candidate for the MLB clubs, and our source expects him to fall between the 20th and 50th picks.
Marshall hasn't yet given organizations an official number for his desired signing bonus. According to last year's slot values, picks 20 through 50 fetched anywhere from $2 million to $1.08 million. Our source predicts that Marshall's number would be higher than that, meaning the negotiations between him and the clubs in the days before the draft will be vital.
LSU is keeping in close contact with him and is hopeful that they can get him on campus. Both Javi Sanchez and Alan Dunn will see him pitch in-person on Wednesday if Marshall's team advances in the playoffs this weekend. Should LSU manage to hold on to Marshall, he has the potential to immediately step in the weekend rotation and would be the jewel of LSU's class.
The Tigers' have three pitchers — including Marshall — signed in 2014 they feel would have an immediate impact in Baton Rouge. They're hopeful to get at least two, and they'll be keeping a close eye on what happens with Jake Godfrey and Alex Lange.
Godfrey's the most recent addition to LSU's class, committing to the Tigers in March. He was a longtime pledge to Notre Dame, but academics prevented him from gaining acceptance there. That forced him to look elsewhere, and LSU left a big impression on him during a visit earlier this season.
With a fastball in the low 90s and a hard slider, Godfrey's projections range from the second through fourth rounds. LSU's confident he comes to campus though, and it will ultimately depend on what an organization's willing to offer him.
"He hasn't been off to the hottest start this spring," our source said. "He's been putting a lot of pressure on himself to perform for the draft. I think before he came to LSU, he had every intention of signing professionally. When he came to LSU, it opened his eyes to big-time SEC baseball. It changed his outlook."
As for Lange, he's had loads of scouts stop by his games to see him and his teammate Montre Harrison, who should be a first-round pick. Scout's Kiley McDaniel pegs Lange as a possible 6-8 rounder, and LSU would feel comfortable about keeping him if that's where he lands after Coach Dunn met with him a couple weeks ago.
"He said Lange gave him every reason to think he's coming to school," our source said. "He doesn't think he's ready for pro ball, and the mom's very academic-driven, so we don't think we're going to have a problem there."
Our source was also optimistic they'll keep Bradley, a power-hitting first baseman, if he isn't taken until the fourth round.
"If Bradley gets called in the fourth round, he's not going to sign for that," our source said. "He's given us every indication that he won't."
As for the rest of LSU's signing class, projections have a handful of players pegged outside of the top 10 rounds but with the potential to move up. Mike Papierski, Jake Latz, Doug Norman and Grayson Byrd could all be taken within the first 10 rounds, but LSU is confident in holding on to all four. Austin Bain has also been mentioned as a possible draftee, but our source said he's already told scouts not to come watch him as he's 100 percent committed to going to school.
A handful of underclassmen on the current team could hear their name called during the MLB Draft. Aaron Nola's seen his stock rise with a strong junior season and he's solidified himself as a Top 10 overall pick, which would give the Tigers two in the last three years (Kevin Gausman, fourth overall 2012).
Closer Joe Broussard will likely be taken early in the draft as well, and LSU expects him to sign. Mark Laird's a draft-eligible sophomore with some projections pegging him as a possible fifth rounder, but LSU believes he'll return for another season.
"I can see that because he runs so well," our source said. "That tool's always going to play at the next level. But from a maturity and development standpoint, he's pretty much telling us he's committed to coming back."
The first two rounds of the MLB Draft will be conducted June 5, with rounds 3 through 10 on June 6. The final 30 rounds will take place on June 7.