“Holding on to the six pitchers in our recruiting class was critical for our team. And it looks like we did.” PAUL MAINIERI, LSU baseball coach
At least some of the woes sprouting from Monday’s season-ending loss have been quelled.
Highly touted left-handed pitcher Mac Marshall, the headliner of the LSU baseball team’s 2014 signing class, plans to bypass the major leagues, and a host of other signees have done the same.
They’ve punched their tickets — for now — to Baton Rouge.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” coach Paul Mainieri said Friday, “that we came out of it as well as we did. I’m ecstatic.”
Just one signee among Mainieri’s star-studded class was selected in the first two days of the MLB draft — rounds 1 and 2 on Thursday and 3 through 10 on Friday.
First baseman Bobby Bradley, out of Gulfport, Mississippi, was picked by the Cleveland Indians in the third round with the No. 97 pick. He’s expected to sign, forgoing his college career.
Marshall, projected as a top-70 selection, has not been drafted. And neither was any of LSU’s other 11 signees, a sign that teams did not meet the players’ asking prices for signing bonuses. A half-dozen signees were projected for selection in the top-10 rounds.
“We had at least two guys that turned down a million dollars or close to it,” Mainieri said. “Most of our guys turned down overtures throughout the day. They have all made a significant commitment to LSU and our baseball program.”
It somewhat cools the burn of losing a regional at home and bowing out of the NCAA tournament early as the No. 8 national seed.
Marshall and the others are expected to start summer school Monday, but they’re still eligible — until mid-July — to sign with a professional team if they’re drafted in later rounds.
That seems unlikely now. The signing deadline is July 18.
Meanwhile, LSU had just one current player drafted Friday. First baseman/catcher Tyler Moore was chosen by the New York Mets in the sixth round with the 175th pick.
His father, Steve, confirmed Friday night that Moore will sign the contract, which is worth $280,000. The allotted bonus for that pick is $254,300.
His father said Moore was drafted as a catcher and will start his pro career with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League.
Closer Joe Broussard and outfielder Jared Foster are expected to be picked in the draft’s final day Saturday, which includes rounds 11 through 40. Both have high signability.
But LSU appears to have much of its signing class intact. Six of the signees are pitchers, a group of mostly power arms that Mainieri is elated to have coming to Baton Rouge.
“Holding on to the six pitchers in our recruiting class was critical for our team,” he said. “And it looks like we did.”
The group of hurlers is expected to make a significant and immediate impact on an LSU pitching staff that lacked power arms and depth last season.
Two key infielders in the class, Brother Martin’s Greg Deichmann and Georgia native Grayson Byrd, have already pledged that they’ll enroll this summer at LSU.
Marshall was the key to the class. As one of the top players nationally, he’s expected to make an immediate impact to a weekend rotation that loses ace Aaron Nola.
Marshall, who is 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, has a fastball that hovers in the low 90s and can reach the mid-90s. He’s “very athletic and showed a potential plus breaking ball,” PerfectGame.org wrote.
“I think the world of this kid,” Mainieri said. “Obviously he’s going to be a great pitcher for us, but I also just love the aura he carries himself with.”
LSU will lose Moore, and Foster is expected to sign when drafted. Broussard likely could, too, scouts have said.
Moore was the second player from LSU to be chosen, following Nola on Thursday. The former Catholic High star was the seventh overall pick by the Philadelphia Phillies.