The Tigers will sign 15 players for the Class of 2015, including nine from the high school ranks and six junior college prospects. In this class are five pitchers, nine position players and one two-way player. Four of the high schoolers and four of the JUCO players come from the state of Louisiana. The Tigers also dipped into Texas, Georgia, Alabama and West Virginia for high school talent.
All scholarship players are expected to sign their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, but as is always the case in baseball, the Tigers still have a long way to go before these players are assured of coming to college. The MLB Draft looms this coming summer, and LSU has a handful of players in this class that will receive attention from the professional ranks.
We'll get into that below with our breakdown of the 15 members of LSU's 2015 signing class:
RHP Cole McKay | Spring Branch, Texas | 6-5, 205McKay is the highest ranked prospect in this class. He's a legitimate power arm with a big body. His fastball sits 93-94 mph with a power slider as a decent secondary pitch. He's a draft risk, but has been committed to LSU for more than a year, so he's had a long time to imagine playing in college. He's on the same level in terms of draft prospects as current LSU freshmen Alex Lange, Jake Godfrey and Jake Latz — the latter two were drafted but all three could have gone in the first 10 rounds had it not been for their commitment to college. If LSU can hold on to McKay, he will have rotation potential and should at the very least have a key bullpen role as a freshman.
3B O'Neal Lochridge | Lafayette | 6-1, 200The St. Thomas More standout is probably LSU's best hitter in this class. He's already really developed offensively, and recently had a lot of success at a tournament hitting off some of the best pitchers in the country. LSU expects him to have an immediate impact at the plate as a freshman. He plays shortstop in high school but projects to third base in college. LSU still needs to see a bit more before they know what he's capable of defensively, so he may end up as a corner outfielder or first baseman. The bat is the one certainty though, and that could attract MLB clubs. But he has a very firm commitment to the home-state school, so he is likely coming to college.
CF/LHP Brennan Breaux | Lafayette | 6-0, 183Breaux is a high school teammate of Lochridge at STM. He's a two-way player that LSU could see in the outfield or on the mound. He has a lot speed and a good swing from the left side of the plate. He's not quite as fast as an STM alumnus like Andrew Stevenson, but he can cover a lot of ground on the outfield. On the mound, he's a pitchability lefty, compared to Chris Cotton but with a higher ceiling to develop more velocity. He'll be brought in next fall and given the opportunity to both pitch and play the field to determine where he fits best.
C Christopher Reid | Baton Rouge | 5-10, 175This local prospect actually received some interest from the LSU football team as well. Reid is a solid punter and toyed with the idea of being a specialist for Les Miles' team. But he instead opted to sign a scholarship with the baseball team, so that will prevent him from playing football for his first year on campus. Reid's best quality on the diamond is his bat. He plays third base for St. Michael's, but he's not a great runner so he will likely play catcher for the Tigers. He has a very strong arm from behind the plate, and they expect the rest of his game to develop from there.
CF Antoine Duplantis | Lafayette | 5-11, 170Duplantis has an extremely athletic bloodline. Both of his parents ran track for LSU, and his older brother is currently a pole vaulter for the Tigers. Duplantis has elite speed and is a plus-defender in the outfield. He's in the mold of Andrew Stevenson and can make highlight reel catches. He has a left-handed bat with sneaky power, and is further along than Stevenson was at that age, so the LSU coaches have big expectations for Duplantis.
LHP Nick Bush | Leesburg, Ga. | 6-1, 175LSU had been tracking Bush since having him in for a camp in the summer of 2013. Alan Dunn closely monitored him this summer and pulled the trigger with an offer, which Bush accepted in July. His fastball mostly sits in the upper 80s and can touch 90-91. He also has a changeup and a curveball. He started picking up a lot of attention this past summer, and LSU was able to land him while his stock was on the rise.
IF/OF Brody Wofford | Rome, Ga. | 6-2, 180Wofford is another solid, left-handed hitting prospect with a long, wiry frame, a la Mark Laird. He has legitimate power potential as he fills out his frame. He's an elite athlete that plays shortstop in high school but will probably project to the outfield in college. He was once committed to Jacksonville State before blowing up on the scene and picking up some major offers. He could be a draft risk if he continues to impress this spring.
SS Trey Dawson | Hurricane, W.V. | 6-1, 180Dawson is the most recent addition to LSU's class, committing to the Tigers just las week. He's a plus-defender that LSU thinks can compete for the starting shortstop job as a freshman. Kramer Robertson will be tough to beat, but the Tigers are high on Dawson's defensive skills for his age. West Virginia isn't exactly a talent-rich state when it comes to baseball, so Dawson will really stand out to MLB scouts this spring. He may not be a huge draft prospect, but some scouts will likely love what they see from him this season, which may boost his draft stock.
RHP Caleb Gilbert | Hoover, Ala. | 6-1, 170Gilbert is somewhat an unknown commodity for LSU. The Tigers started tracking him after his sophomore season, but Gilbert missed his entire junior year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. LSU honored its scholarship though, but they haven't seen him throw in more than a year. He was throwing about 87-89 as a sophomore with a clean delivery. He was very advanced for his age, so the LSU staff is hopeful that all comes back once he gets back on the mound. He has recently started throwing again and will resume competitive action for his senior season this spring.
C Jordan Romero | LSU-Eunice | 6-2LSU tracked Romero closely coming out of Catholic High. The Tigers had a full stable of catchers at the time though, so Romero went to LSU-Eunice where he continued to improve offensively. He hit .345 as a freshman with three homers and 32 RBI. LSU expects him to at least be the backup at catcher to Mike Papierski for the 2016 season.
RHP Jacob Taylor | Pearl River | 6-3, 215Taylor is one of two hard-throwing junior college pitchers LSU will add in this class. Coming from Pearl River CC, Tayor is a big-bodied pitcher that looks the part with a fastball that ranges from 90-94 mph. He also has a power slider and is a front-line arm with rotation potential and could also close. He will be a draft risk.
RHP Riley Smith | San Jacinto | 6-0, 175Smith is the other JUCO arm with a fastball that's up to 96 mph. He consistently throws strikes with his fastball, but his secondary stuff needs work. He too could end up in the rotation or as the closer, but he isn't quite as big a risk to the MLB as Taylor.
1B Bryce Adams | Delgado | 6-3, 210LSU will sign three players from Delgado in this class. Originally from the Dunham School, Adams is a power-hitting first baseman. He hit .379 in 50 games last season at Delgado with 35 RBI and four home runs. He also had seven doubles and five triples.
DH Cody Ducote | Delgado | 5-8, 185LSU will lose a lot of hitters after this season, so they made a push to add some bats in this class. Ducote will primarily be a hitter at LSU as he doesn't really have a defensive position. He's solid offensively though with a .328 batting average last year, including 52 RBI, 42 runs scored and 18 strikeouts in 186 at-bats.
2B/CF Cole Freeman | Delgado | 5-6, 160Freeman is small in terms of stature, but he has some incredible speed. He's been timed with a 4.07-second time down the first base line. That's from the right side of the plate, and it's actually faster than Mark Laird and Andrew Stevenson run from the left side. Freeman plays second base for Delgado, but LSU thinks Freeman could probably play center field with that elite speed.