Sunday, June 6, 2010

LSU's Baseball Season Ends; Major League Draft Preview


LSU lost 4-3 to UC Irvine on Sunday, ending a bizarre season for the Tigers.  The Tigers came out smoking this year, owning a 32-6 record and Top 5 ranking near the end of April.  But then the wheels came off, and LSU lost 13 of their next 15, including an embarrassing 9-1 loss to Tulane.  The Tigers seemed to get their act together by winning six of the next seven including four in a row to win the SEC Tournament.  That brought us to this weekend's regional.  The Tigers competed, but missed several opportunities at the plate and ultimately bowed out.  

The season has to be considered a disappointment considering the high pre-season ranking and the way the first half of the season played out.  A few things contributed to the team not meeting expectations.  

First was the injury to Anthony Ranaudo's elbow early in the season.  Not only did Ranaudo miss about a month but once he returned, he never matched the expectations we all had for him based on how he played last year.  The team was counting on him to be the rock of the pitching staff this season and when that didn't happen, the staff found itself in disarray.  

On offense, the team was hitting the ball well but they were not producing the power numbers of the last two seasons.  Blake Dean had a very good season, but the home runs just weren't there in 2010...for whatever reason.  The team also struggled to find the right guy at third base.  Wet Delatte and Beau Didier both gave it a shot without much luck.  Grant Dozar then took over for a while.  Regardless, the offense was producing.  But then, left fielder and leadoff man Trey Watkins injured his elbow.   That left another hole in the lineup, and it forced the batting order to be re-shuffled.  The offense stopped producing as much.  

Once the losing streak started, the attitude of the team changed and it proved difficult to break out of.  Eventually, they did. Austin Ross pitched well down the stretch and helped settle the pitching staff.  Also, Mason Katz and Alex Edward played well at left field and third base respectively.  Their late season performance gives us something to look forward to next year.  

Speaking of next year, the Major League Baseball draft starts on Monday night, and it will be of great interest to LSU Baseball (and football) fans.   As far as returning players to LSU's roster, I did a piece on that last month.  


With the draft starting tomorrow, I thought I'd re-visit LSU's players and prospects and their projection for the draft.  

Anthony Ranaudo will almost certainly be a first round pick tomorrow.  While he was at one point considered a Top 5 pick, he's now more likely to get selected around #20 overall.  Regardless, he has almost certainly thrown his last pitch as an LSU Tiger, and I wish him well.  

Micah Gibbs
is also projected to be a first or second round pick.  That means he's almost certain to have played his last game for LSU.  

Things get more interesting after those two.  

Leon Landry is projected to be a high round draft pick and may go as early as the fourth round.  If picked anywhere in the top eight rounds, which seems like almost a certainty, then Landry will probably go pro.  

Austin Ross
is a real wild card.  He is highly thought of by Major League scouts and could go as high as the sixth or seventh round.  Ross pitched well down the stretch this season, which is encouraging.  It would be nice if he could return to LSU's staff next year.  Right now, I'd give it a less than 50% chance that he returns.  

Blake Dean should be picked somewhere between rounds five and ten.  

Now, we'll take a look at LSU's incoming freshmen.  Not much has changed with these guys since my report last month.  Here are the guys to keep an eye on:

Pitcher Kevin Gausman from Colorado looks like he's going to be a first or second round pick.  However, his stock has dropped some recently, and the word is out that his commitment to LSU is very strong and that he's very serious about playing college baseball.  You can bet that if a team takes him high, they have received word from him that he's willing to sign.   I'd put him in the "Doubtful" category as far as him coming to LSU in the fall.  But if he drops into the later part of the second round, then it will be interesting.  

Pitcher Cameron Bedrosian from Georgia looks like a first or second round draft pick, and I think it's highly doubtful he plays for LSU next year.  

Infielder Delino Deshields Jr. has every intention of signing a pro contract and likely only committed to LSU in order to gain leverage in his negotiations with whoever drafts him.  I wouldn't get too excited about having him at LSU next year.  

Infielder Jacoby Jones from Mississippi currently has a second or third round projection right now, and he also has a strong commitment to LSU.  He is described as a very raw shortstop, but he could make an immediate impact at LSU next year.  The Tigers return Austin Nola, but he could certainly compete for a spot at third base or in the outfield.  

Infielder Garin Cecchini (pictured) from Barbe high school is another guy who could be drafted in the top five rounds, maybe as high as the third.  Cecchini injured his knee in March which did not help his draft status, although it has been rising of late.  One site even has Cecchini going in the first round.  He's also considered to have a strong commitment to LSU.  He could fill an immediate need for LSU next year at either third or first base.  

University High school outfielder Austin Southall could be picked somewhere in the top ten rounds and is one to watch.  Hopefully, he'll slide and ultimately end up at LSU.  
 Lastly, there is Zach Lee from Texas who, as we know, is LSU's quarterback recruit for the Class of 2010.  Based on talent alone, Lee is one of the Top 50 prospects in the draft.  However, teams know that Lee is seriously considering both sports at LSU.  That could push him farther down the draft.  One recent report from ESPN suggested that Lee has put word out that he's willing to sign.  I have a feeling that his situation will drag out until August.  At this point, call it a coin flip as to whether Lee plays for LSU next year.  


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