The Major League Baseball Draft begins Monday night with the first two rounds. It continues Tuesday with Rounds 3-10 and wraps up with the rest on Wednesday.
This is always a stressful time for LSU as they not only have to worry about a trip to the College World Series but also losing underclassmen and members of the signing class to the professional ranks. This year's shouldn't be as tense as it has in year's past though, as LSU does expect to retain most of its signing class.
Let's start with the underclassmen though. LSU entered this season expecting to lose these four — Alex Bregman, Andrew Stevenson, Mark Laird and Chris Chinea. They recruited accordingly and are equipped to stomach those losses. With the draft set to begin, they do still expect to lose those four.
Bregman will most likely be the only LSU player taken on the first day of the draft. He'll go in the top five picks and give LSU its fourth first-round pick in the last five years. Bregman is considered by most to be the second overall prospect behind Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson. If Swanson goes first overall, look for Bregman to be taken No. 2 by the Houston Astros. If Swanson doesn't go first, Bregman could drop but it won't be far. He'll still be a multi-millionaire by the end of the day.
Stevenson has a chance to get taken Monday but will likely go Tuesday. He's projected to go anywhere from Rounds 2-6. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 168 overall draft prospect, though other outlets are much higher on him. He's the best defensive outfielder in the draft, and has been productive at the plate despite his unorthodox swing. While that may scare off some teams, his incredible defense should still make him an high pick.
Laird and Chinea are wild cards.
Laird ranks No. 308 according to Baseball America. Like Stevenson, his plus-defense makes him a very attractive prospect. He doesn't hit for power, but he's still very consistent at the plate and can pick up extra bases with his speed.
Chinea didn't land in Baseball America's Top 500. He's a 5-foot-10 first baseman that might be better suited for catcher but hasn't played there regularly in more than two years. He's mostly just a power bat, and that did come on as the season progressed, but it may not have been consistent enough for MLB clubs.
LSU does still expect both to sign though. The players have given that indication, and it may not take a high signing bonus to lure them away. If LSU does get them back, they'll obviously be pleased. But the staff is rooting for both to get drafted high.
Now for the signing class.
LSU got big news Sunday night and the coaches probably weren't even aware of it. Prized signee Cole McKay tweeted during the Tigers' Super Regional game that he will honor his commitment and play for LSU next season. He was considered a Top 100 prospect and was seeking around $2 million from MLB clubs. McKay likely wasn't able to find a team willing to pay that, so he'll be happy to come to LSU and try to make his mark as a freshman in this deep pitching staff.
That leaves junior college pitcher Jacob Taylor as the biggest remaining draft risk, and the staff does expect to lose him. He's among the Top 100 draft prospects with a fastball that reaches 98 mph. He'll likely go in the first five rounds and is expected to sign.
Catcher Ryan January will not make it to LSU either. He was initially a 2016 recruit but reclassified to 2015 after changing high schools. He's in the Top 400 according to Baseball America, but he's given the LSU coaches word that he'll either sign with a pro club or go to a junior college next year.
The rest of the signing class should stay intact. High school players like O'Neal Lochridge and Trey Dawson are high on the prospect list, but it will take a lot for them to not come to LSU. Lochridge has actually enrolled already and started summer classes on Monday. Junior college shortstop Mitch Piatnik was on some prospect lists, but LSU expects to keep him and hopes he can replace Bregman at SS next year.
College seniors like Jared Foster, Kade Scivicque and Zac Person could also be taken within the first 10 rounds as well.
Follow TSD throughout the next few days for updates on the MLB Draft and what it means for the future of LSU baseball.
Previewing LSU in the MLB Draft
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