Baseball Roster Takes Shape

The August 15 deadline is fast approaching for players drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft to sign with their professional team.  And as that date gets nearer, LSU’s 2012 baseball roster is beginning to take shape.  A number of potential high impact players have stated their intentions to play at LSU next spring, but of course nothing is final until the morning of August 16.   Regardless, I thought we’d take a look at some of the players whose status is still up in the air as we hit the home stretch.   

I had a pretty solid recap of where everyone was picked immediately following the draft, and that may be a good starting point for you if you’re completely unfamiliar with some of the names.   

Here’s what we know:

- Matty Ott has signed with Boston and his LSU career is over. 

- Signee Trevor Story, picked #45 overall, has signed and will not play at LSU.  

- Tyler Hanover, Raph Rhymes, and Austin Nola have all stated their intentions to return to LSU next year.  Hanover and Nola will be seniors while Rhymes will be a junior.  

-  Mikie Mahtook is saying all of the right things about being serious about a possible return to LSU.   And I do not doubt Mahtook’s allegiance to LSU.   But I would not get suckered in by these comments.  They are all part of the negotiating process, and he is simply working the Tampa Bay Rays to offer him as much money as possible.  It’s highly, highly unlikely that Mahtook plays at LSU but we will of course monitor his situation until its resolved.  

-  Signee Johnny Eierman (pictured) was selected by the Rays in the third round; however, his situation is very interesting.  The Rays had a ton of early picks in the draft and even though Eierman was picked in the third round, he was the Rays’ 13th player selected.  The big question is whether the Rays have enough money to afford all of those early picks.   Eierman was expected to go a bit earlier than the third round, and he’s probably looking to get paid as if he were a higher draft pick.  The Rays may not be able to afford that, and LSU could be the big beneficiary.  Eierman is an instant impact guy, much like Jacoby Jones last year, and can play infield or outfield and could immediately start at either 2B, 3B, or OF.   Here is a link to an article about Eierman from June 20 that includes a podcast at the bottom.  It is over a month old but a pretty good read and listen.  Like Mahtook, I would not get too excited about Eierman coming to LSU.  But considering the Rays’ situation, LSU stands a fighting chance.  

 - Signee Jake Cave, an outfielder and pitcher, was selected in the sixth round by the New York Yankees.  Cave is playing in a summer league and doing extremely well, and his performance is sure to increase the offer that he’ll receive from the Yankees.  From reading a few articles, Cave sounds like a guy that is looking to sign.  The chances of him playing at LSU look pretty slim at this point.  

- Pitcher Nick Goody, selected in the 22nd round, has now stated multiple times that he’s definitely coming to LSU.  Again, nothing is final until August 15th, but as of right now it sure sounds like Goody will be in purple and gold next year.  Goody is a very strong candidate to fill the closer’s role that was in disarray over the last two years as Matty Ott struggled to find his freshman form.   In the Northwoods League this summer, Goody struck otu 27 batters in just 14 innings while earning four saves.  

-  Lefty pitcher Cody Glenn has also stated that he plans to be at LSU this fall, despite being picked in the 15th round.  Glenn reminds me a bit of former Tiger Lane Mestepey, and it’s not out of the question that he have a similar impact as a freshman.  He’s a guy that could compete for a weekend starter’s role.  If he’s not starting on the weekends, he’ll be a hell of an option out of the bullpen or he could put up some gaudy stats starting mid-week games.  

-  Another signee, pitcher Aaron Nola, drafted in the 22nd round by Toronto, has stated that he’ll join his brother and be at LSU.  Nola does not seem like the kind of guy who would say that solely for leverage purposes.  I think we can count on him pitching for LSU next year.   He’s another guy that could very well be in the weekend rotation or could also be a mid-week starter and bullpen guy.  

- Outfielder Arby Fields is also expected at LSU even though he was picked in the 27th round

Based on what we know today, I think LSU can expect to have everyone on campus with the exception of Mathook, Cave, and Eierman.   If any of those three show up this fall, it would be considered an enormous surprise.  

My Roster Breakdown for Baseball has been updated to include everyone that is still unsigned.   Another interesting dynamic will be that LSU will have around 45 players (43 if you do not count the two football guys) but will need to get down to 35 for the season.  A number guys on that list will not be back.  

A number of LSU’s players and signees have been participating in various summer leagues over the last couple of months.  Most notablypitcher Ryan Eades and outfielder Mason Katz were named to the Cape Cod League All-Star team.  

- Katz is hitting .277 with 3 HR and 17 RBI and is 5 for 5 in SBs.  

- Eades has been one of the best starting pitchers in the league.   He is 3-0 in six starts with a 0.86 ERA.  He has 22 Ks in 31.1 innings pitched.  

- Alex Edward has had a very nice summer in the Northwoods leading, hitting .321 with 3 HR and 21 RBI

-  In the Texas Collegiate league, Chris Cotton has given up just 1 earned run in 24.2 IP, good for a 0.37 ERA.  He also has a couple of saves.   Cotton could be a nice left-handed optino for LSU out of the bullpen next year.

-  In the California Collegiate League, Arby Fields is hitting .286.  He has 31 Ks in 98 ABs which is not real good.  But he’s a perfect 21 for 21 in stolen bases.  

-  Signee Jake Barrios is hitting .337 with 1 HR and 11 RBI in 83 at bats in the Kansas Jayhawk league.