Our last extensive baseball recruiting update came back in November, when LSU signed 15 players to the 2015 class. Be sure and read our SIGNING CLASS OVERVIEW to get all the details on what LSU added in that 2015 class. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at what LSU’s done since for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes.
Big news dropped last week when a Top 50 prospect from the 2016 class reclassified. Catcher Ryan January, who committed to LSU in October, is now officially a member of the Tigers’ 2015 signing class. After spending his entire high school career at a prep school, he wanted to return home and play basketball for the local high school. The prep school credit he brought with him made him eligible to graduate this May.
January first considered attending a different prep school after graduation to keep him on the same timeline. But that would have left him eligible for both the 2015 and 2016 MLB Drafts. LSU knew their chances of keeping him through two drafts was slim to none, so LSU encouraged him to come a year early and join the 2015 class.
He’s still considered a legitimate draft risk, though January will now need to see where he ranks in the 2015 class. If LSU can keep him, he should add to the depth at catcher with Mike Papierski in line to be the full-time starter by the 2016 season. January and Papierski would provide a really solid duo with junior college transfer Jordan Romero also in the mix.
LSU considers three other players from the 2015 class to be draft risks — right-handed pitchers Cole McKay, Jacob Taylor and Riley Smith.
McKay’s the highest-rated high school prospect in LSU’s class. He has a legitimate power frame with a fastball that gets into the mid-90s. Taylor and Smith are two junior college pitchers, each with plus-fastballs. Smith’s been clocked as fast as 96 mph.
Between these three pitchers and January, the Tigers are hopeful to keep at least three of the four from the MLB. As the spring season moves forward and we get closer to draft time, we should have a better idea of where these players rank compared to other draft prospects.
Now let’s take a look at LSU’s 2016 class:
Class of 2016 Commits
RHP Brennan Maddox - Grant – Fairview - 6-0, 190
SS Josh Smith - Baton Rouge - 5-10, 175
RHP Feleipe Franks (football commit) - Crawfordville, Fla. 6-6, 210
SS Zach Watson – Monroe - 6-0, 165
SS Jake Slaughter - Monroe - 6-2, 195
RHP Eric Walker - Grapevine, Texas – 6-0, 170
IF Mason Templet - Youngsville - 6-1, 190
RHP Riley Pint - Lenexa, Kan. - 6-4, 190
OF Tyler Smith - Mandeville – 6-0, 175
RHP Todd Peterson - Lake Mary, Fla. – 6-5, 205
2B/3B Rankin Woley - Atlanta, Ga. – 6-0, 190
LHP Blair Frederick - New Orleans - 6-0, 180
The two most recent additions to this class are Rankin Woley and Blair Frederick.
Woley committed back in the late fall. He catches for his high school team, but plays second and third on the travel circuit. That’s where LSU thinks he projects, and they love his bat. He’s been on their radar since he camped with LSU as a sophomore and has wanted to play for the Tigers for a long time.
Frederick was an outfielder as a sophomore, but LSU saw him pitch a few times this fall and likes his potential. He’s raw on the mound but has a fastball up to 89 with a really good breaking ball. He’s a good, in-state lefty and those are hard to come by so LSU’s happy to have him in this class.
It’s obviously still very early for the 2016 crop, but LSU sees four of these players as potential draft candidates.
Riley Pint headlines the group as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, according to Perfect Game. He has all the tools to be a top of the rotation pitcher on the college level. Getting him to campus will be a monumental task for LSU, though he’ll have been committed to the Tigers for almost two years by the time his draft comes around. Maybe all that time of him thinking about LSU may sway his decision.
Todd Peterson also ranks as a Top 15 prospect in the 2016 class. He too would be a weekend-caliber pitcher should LSU get him to campus. If the Tigers can manage to hold on to one or both of Peterson and Pint, that’s two elite arms added to the pitching staff for the future.
LSU can see a couple of in-state commits as legitimate draft risks.
Jake Slaughter is an extremely athletic prospect that’s a good football player in his own right. Many think he’s Division I-caliber if he wanted to go that route. MLB scouts love football players and that type of athleticism, so that could help shoot Slaughter up some draft boards.
Brennan Maddox is a bit of a wildcard because he’s still coming back from an injury. He hasn’t pitched since before his sophomore season, but if he returns to the level he was at then, he’ll be a top arm. LSU could see him throwing 94-95 if he rebounds fully from that elbow surgery, but it remains to be seen where he is until he gets back on the mound.
Football fans love to ask about the baseball prospects of Feleipe Franks. One of the top quarterbacks in the 2016 class, most consider him the guy that can finally bring some stability to LSU’s QB position. He wants to play baseball too, and the LSU staff saw him pitch a couple times this fall. At 6-foot-6, he’s an imposing frame on the mound, but with a fastball that barely touches 90, he’s not going to be a high MLB Draft prospect. So LSU fans don’t need to worry about this becoming another Zach Lee situation.
Class of 2017 commits
RHP Stephen Keller - Huffman, Texas – 6-2, 220
LHP John Kodros - Coppell, Texas – 6-3, 150
OF/RHP Daniel Cabrera - New Orleans - 6-1, 170
LSU’s already off to a solid start with three commits in the 2017 class.
Stephen Keller is a strong kid with a big build, a lot of power coming out of his lower half. He’s already up to 90 mph with his fastball, but he has a plus-plus breaking ball that makes him an elite prospect.
John Kodros is an extremely lean kid at 150 pounds on a 6-foot-3 frame. He’s in the upper 80s with his fastball. Like Keller, his big pitch is his plus-breaking ball, and coming from the left-side makes it even more effective.
Daniel Cabrera figures to be one of the top prospects produced by Louisiana in quite some time. He played on the 15-under Team USA in the summer of 2013 and was the first in-state player to get offered by LSU in his class. The Tigers could see him as an outfielder or a pitcher and the sky’s the limit for this two-way player.