BATON ROUGE – New LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson may only lose two players off the 2021 roster to the Major League Baseball Draft.
The first round is Sunday (6 p.m., ESPN, MLB Network). The draft continues Monday (noon, MLB.com) with rounds 2-10 and Tuesday (11 a.m., MLB.com) with rounds 11-20.
Junior pitchers Jaden Hill and Landon Marceaux are expected to be selected.
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Hill was 2-3 with a 6.67 ERA in 2021 after throwing only 29 innings in seven games before he tore an ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on April 2 against Vanderbilt, ending his season. He underwent Tommy John surgery.
Hill entered the season projected as a top five or 10 pick. MLB.com now ranks him as the No. 36 prospect for the draft. He possibly could go late in the 30-pick first round or as a selection between 31 and 36 in the the Competitive Balance part A round.
Hill also missed most of his freshman season in 2019 with a shoulder injury. He was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two games that season. Hill was drafted in the 38th round in 2018 by St. Louis from Ashdown High, where he was a star quarterback. When healthy he is a classic power pitcher at 6-foot-4 and 233 pounds with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s.
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Marceaux was 7-7 with a 2.54 ERA this past season often without a lot of offensive help. He struck out 116 in 102 innings. He is ranked No. 90 by MLB.com and has a chance to go between the second and fourth rounds. Marceaux, who was picked in the 37th round by the New York Yankees in 2018 while at Destrehan High in New Orleans, was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 2020 before COVID ended the season. He was 5-2 with a 4.66 ERA as a freshman in 2019.
LSU has a chance to keep the rest of its players who may be drafted as they are not projected to go until near or after the 10th round. Left fielder Gavin Dugas, who led the SEC with 66 RBIs and led LSU with 19 home runs as a junior in 2021, is expected to go between the eighth and 10th rounds.
Right-handed reliever Devin Fontenot (3-2, 2.86 ERA, 4 saves) finished his junior season strong as he gave up only two hits over his final 12 innings, but he is not projected to be picked until the ninth or 10th round at best.
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“Still a lot of balls up in the air with our roster,” said Johnson, who replaced coach Paul Mainieri following his retirement after the season. “We’ll see after the draft. I’m certainly hoping we keep most of the roster. Paul did a good job helping me assess the players we have. My job is to get everyone to play better.”
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LSU’s signing list could take a few hits.
Pitcher Ben Kudrna of Blue Valley Southwest High in Overland Park, Kansas, is ranked No. 46 by MLB.com. An ESPN mock draft has him going at No. 29 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has reached 97 mph.
Catcher Carter Jensen of Park Hill High in Kansas City is the No. 82 prospect by MLB.com and hits left-handed with the kind of production potential LSU has lacked at the position in recent years. Catcher Ian Moller of Wahlert High in Dubuque, Iowa, also has a powerful bat and is at No. 124.
Left-handed pitcher Brock Selvidge from Hamilton High in Chandler, Arizona, throws in the low 90s and is at No. 131 on MLB.com’s list.
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There is also No. 167 prospect Cale Lansville, a pitcher from Thunder Ridge High in Centennial, Colorado, who committed to LSU in 2018. His fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s.