Draft Lands Costly Blow on LSU

In the wake of the LSU baseball team's exit from the postseason, coach Paul Mainieri is struggling to keep both his current and incoming roster intact after the Major League Baseball Draft.

It’s been a tough couple of days for LSU coach Paul Mainieri.

June’s MLB Draft, annually trying times for skippers at the nation’s premier college clubs, struck the Tigers with an opening blow on Monday. Anthony Ranaudo, two-sport pledge Zach Lee and signees Delino DeShields and Cameron Bedrosian all went in the first round.

Mainieri said that he expects DeShields, who was drafted with the No. 8 overall pick by the Houston Astros, to opt for professional ball.

Bedrosian’s situation, made cloudy by the Los Angeles Angels plethora of early draft selections, isn’t as cut and dry.

“I was a little surprised he went that early, and I have no idea what their intentions are,” Mainieri said. “They seem to have a lot of right-handed pitchers with those early picks. I don’t know if they are going to say take it our leave it and move to the next guy or if they will sign (Bedrosian) for what he is asking.”

When the Dodgers tapped into the Baton Rouge talent pool for a third time, selecting LSU signee Kevin Gausman with the No. 202 selection, a befuddled Mainieri had little to offer by way of words.

“I don’t even know what to say about that,” said Mainieri upon hearing of the selection. “We need pitching, that’s the biggest concern. With Gausman, Bedrosian and Lee, those are the three biggest names we were concerned about. We just have to see how it plays out now.”

Lee reported to campus on Tuesday and is set to enroll in summer school on Wednesday. The McKinney, Texas native will also begin workouts with the football team, where he signed on as the lone quarterback commitment in the 2010 class.

Looking for the silver lining on a day that Mainieri called the “worst of the year,” Lee and the Dodgers don’t appear to be a matched made in heaven – which could spell the perfect situation for LSU.

“Zach probably has the reputation of being the toughest player to sign in all the country,” Mainieri said. “If they don’t sign him, they would get a compensatory pick in next year’s draft. There is not the urgency to sign a guy like there was at one time.

“And it’s no secret the Dodgers are having a difficult time (financially), so there’s speculation on if they will meet his demands.”

The Boston Red Sox will be fighting a similar battle with shortstop Gary Cecchinni, a Tiger pledge the club selected with their fourth round pick.

“I know (Cecchinni’s) asking price, and it’s pretty high,” Mainieri said. “For him to sign, he wouldn’t get paid what a fourth-rounder would normally get paid.”

Micah Gibbs, Leon Landry, Austin Ross and Blake Dean were all selected from the team’s current roster, leaving Mainieri searching for replacements for many of the staples from the lineups of the past few seasons.

“I’m having to say goodbye to a bunch of kids, and you want to be optimistic and look forward to the next year,” he said. “I see it as the end of an era.”

Landry, drafted by the Dodgers with the 109th pick of the third round, said that the decision to forgo his final year of eligibility was made simple through the day two selection.

“I’m going to a place that I think fits well,” he said. “That’s where I had seen myself going. It only takes that one team to like you at a spot. I’m just excited about it. I’m looking forward to taking the next step.”

Gibbs, selected with the 97th pick in the same round, becomes the latest Tiger taken by the Chicago Cubs, joining the likes of Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and DJ LeMahieu.

While some draft boards had the junior catcher going on day one, Gibbs had no complaints after the call from the Cubs came across the line.

“I would have liked to go on the first day, but if someone told me I would play three years here, win a national championship and get drafted in the third round by the Cubs, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be excited,” he said. “To be able to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs, with their tradition, that’s icing on the cake.”

The remaining names taken were all signees: outfielder Lucas Leblanc in the 11th round by the Red Sox, infielder Jacoby Jones in the 19th round by the Astros, outfielder Austin Southall in the 19th round by the San Francisco Giants and pitcher Ryan Eades in the 19th round by the Colorado Rockies.

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