It should not be surprising that LSU is one of the Southeastern Conference teams which finds itself preparing for the College World Series which begins this weekend in Omaha (Neb.).
The major league baseball draft, which was conducted last week, indicates the teams which possess experienced talent. The Tigers had nine players drafted - second only to Arkansas in both the SEC and the country. The Razorbacks had ten players chosen in the 40 rounds.
However, no SEC team had more quality draft picks. LSU had five players drafted in the first ten rounds - starting pitcher Ryan Eades, second baseman JaCoby Jones, first baseman Mason Katz and relief pitchers Nick Rumbelow and Will LaMarche. Only two Arkansas players were picked in the first ten rounds.
Mississippi State, which will be joining LSU at the College World Series, and Vanderbilt, which was beaten by Louisville in the super-regionals, had four top-ten round selections. Ole Miss, which finished third in the Raleigh Regional, had three players drafted in the first ten rounds.
The other four Tigers players selected in the draft were catcher Ty Ross, relief pitcher Chris Cotton, outfielder Raph Rhymes and third baseman Christian Ibarra. Katz, Cotton and Rhymes are seniors. The other draftees are juniors, so they have a decision to make following the CWS.
"All of the underclassmen who were drafted were expected to be," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "I am happy for them. All of them wanted to sign and all of them were drafted where they hoped to be drafted. I think Christian Ibarra will come back."
The draft did not make a huge dent into the Tigers' signing class. Only four signees were picked. Mainieri expects to lose Terrebonne High School outfielder Justin Williams and Howard College pitcher David Palladino. First baseman Nick Longhi and pitcher Parker Bugg were late-round draft choices.
"We weren't really counting on Justin Williams coming to school," Mainieri said. "We were hopeful that we would not lose Palladino. But, he indicated to the pro teams that he wanted to play pro ball. I was surprised that Bugg got drafted after he got hurt (stress fracture in foot)."
So, Mainieri believes that five juniors - Eades, Jones, Rumbleow, Lamarche and Ross - and two signees - Williams and Palladino - will not be with the team when practice begins in September. That would leave the Tigers with 20 returnees and 21 newcomers - six over the mandated NCAA roster limit of 35.
Two SEC teams probably outperformed their talent level. South Carolina had just four players drafted - one in the first ten rounds (closer Tyler Webb). Alabama had two players selected - none in the first ten rounds. The most disappointing team was Florida with seven draft picks - two in the top ten rounds.
SEC schools had 29 players chosen in the first ten rounds with 19 of those being pitchers. LSU had three of those pitchers - Eades, Rumbelow and LaMarche. There were ten SEC seniors picked in the first ten rounds. Katz, who went in the fourth round, was the highest drafted SEC senior.
Here are the LSU current players and signees selected in the major league baseball draft.
P Ryan Eades - second round, Minnesota Twins
2B JaCoby Jones - third round, Pittsburgh Pirates (selected as an outfielder)
1B Mason Katz - fourth round, St. Louis Cardinals (selected as a second baseman)
P Nick Rumbelow - seventh round, New York Yankees
P Will LaMarche - ninth round, Detroit Tigers
C Ty Ross - 12th round, San Francisco Giants
P Chris Cotton - 14th round, Houston Astros
OF Raph Rhymes - 15th round, Detroit Tigers
3B Christian Ibarra - 32nd round, Pittsburgh Pirates
OF Justin Williams, Terrebonne High School - second round, Arizona Diamondbacks
P David Palladino, Howard College - fifth round, New York Yankees
1B Nick Longhi, Venice (Fla.) - 30th round, Boston Red Sox
P Parker Bugg, San Diego (Cal.) - 34th round, Baltimore Orioles
Here is the breakdown of the Southeastern Conference major league baseball draft choices by school.
Arkansas - 10 draft choices; 2 in first 10 rounds (P Ryne Stanek, P Colby Suggs)
LSU - 9 draft choices; 5 in first 10 rounds (P Ryan Eades, 2B JaCoby Jones, 1B Mason Katz, P Nick Rumbelow, P Will LaMarche)
Mississippi State - 7 draft choices; 4 in first 10 rounds (OF Hunter Renfroe, SS Adam Frazier, P Kendall Graveman, P Chad Girodo)
Florida - 7 draft choices; 2 in first 10 rounds (P Jonathan Crawford, P Daniel Gibson)
Vanderbilt - 6 draft choices; 4 in first 10 rounds (P Kevin Ziomek, 1B Conrad Gregor, 2B Tony Kemp, OF Connor Harrell)
Ole Miss - 5 draft choices; 3 in first 10 rounds (C Stuart Turner, P Mike Mayers, P Bobby Wahl)
Texas A&M - 4 draft choices; 2 in first 10 rounds (SS Mikey Reynolds, P Kyle Martin)
South Carolina - 4 draft choices; 1 in first 10 rounds (P Tyler Webb)
Kentucky - 3 draft choices; 2 in first 10 rounds (P Corey Littrell, P Jerad Grundy)
Auburn - 3 draft choices; 1 in first 10 rounds (P Connor Kendrick)
Georgia - 3 draft choices; 1 in first 10 rounds (SS Kyle Farmer)
Missouri - 2 draft choices; 1 in first 10 rounds (P Rob Zastryzny)
Alabama - 2 draft choices; 0 in first 10 rounds
Tennessee - 1 draft choice; 1 in first 10 rounds (P Zach Godley)