The LSU baseball team that reached the super regional round last season under coach Paul Mainieri before he retired was primarily freshmen and sophomores, as evidenced by the first night of the Major League Baseball Draft on Sunday. No one was selected.
MORE:Kansas City Royals pick LSU signee pitcher Ben Kudrna with 43rd overall pick in Round 2 of 2021 MLB Draft
It is a different story on Monday as LSU signee pitcher Ben Kudrna and LSU junior pitcher Jaden Hill went back-to-back with the seventh and eighth picks of the second round – Kudrna as 43rd overall pick to the Kansas City Royals and Hill as the 44th overall selection to the Colorado Rockies.
MORE:Colorado Rockies pick LSU’s Jaden Hill in 2021 MLB Draft: “One of best athletes” recruited by former coach Paul Mainieri
Rounds 2 though 10 will be completed Monday. Follow the picks of LSU players and signees here throughout the day and night with constant updates:
RHP Jaden Hill
Team: Colorado Rockies, Round 2 (No. 44 overall)
Slot value: $1,689,500.
Hill (6-foot-4, 234 pounds) has a history of injuries. He entered the 2021 season at LSU as a junior as a top five pick in the draft by MLB.com. And that was after he missed most of his freshman season in 2019 with shoulder and elbow issues, finishing 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings.
He appeared fine in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, striking out 17 in 11 innings through four relief appearances with two saves. He walked only five.
Everything appeared on pace for his lone complete season at LSU this year, but the right-hander struggled to a 2-3 start and a 6.67 ERA in 29 innings. Then he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on April 2 against Vanderbilt, had reconstructive elbow surgery and was lost for the season again.
At his best, Hill’s fastball is in the mid-to-upper 90s, and he has been clocked as high as 99 in a game. His changeup can be deadly in the mid-80s with significant drop. His slider is also in the mid-80s and can be an excellent change of pace, but he struggled with it last season.
RHP Ben Kudrna
Team: Kansas City Royals, Round 2 (No. 43 overall)
Slot value: $1,729,800
Kudrna (6-3, 195 pounds) has reached 97 mph with his fastball while going 9-1 with a 0.99 ERA for Blue Valley Southwest High in Overland Park, Kansas. He struck out 100 batters in just 57 innings with 11 walks in leading the Timberwolves to the Class 5A state title at 22-3.
In the postseason, Kudrna struck out 18 in 12 innings and allowed zero earned runs. MLB.com ranked Kudrna as the No. 46 prospect going into the draft.