LAFAYETTE — The Major League Baseball draft begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, and with only the first two rounds being selected on the first day, it’s virtually a lock that no Louisiana-Lafayette players will go off the board.
As for the rest of the draft, coach Tony Robichaux figures that will be quiet, too.
Robichaux said that he hopes seniors like Eric Carter, Kyle Clement, Stefan Trosclair and Nick Thurman hear their name called at some point throughout the process, though he acknowledged that entering the draft as a senior makes it more difficult because teams can lowball prospects who have no leverage to return to school.
“It’s very tough as a senior to not only get drafted, but they’ll draft you and tell you, ‘Hey, here’s $1,000,’ ” Robichaux said.
Those players were guaranteed to be gone because they exhausted their eligibility. As far as players who could be in line to contribute next year, Robichaux doesn’t anticipate a problem there, either.
The one player he brought up was right-hander Reagan Bazar, who hasn’t worked much out of the Cajuns bullpen the past two years but has the physical tools professional baseball covets.
Robichaux isn’t going to tell someone to stay if the opportunity is right to leave.
“We want our players to get drafted,” Robichaux said. “We tell them in the recruiting process, ‘We want you to play through us, not to us.’ Do sophomores need to go? I don’t think so. But juniors? I think they have to take a hard look at it. ... That junior year is important to them because, financially, they can get rewarded a little bit more for themselves than a senior.”
Closer Dylan Moore and starter Wyatt Marks are draft-eligible sophomores, but Robichaux did not sound concerned about either when it came to this week’s draft.
The same goes for his incoming group of signees.
“I’m not saying one or two of them won’t be drafted, but I feel pretty good about where they might be drafted,” Robichaux said. “Right now, I don’t see any big surprises. We feel, as coaches, good about the draft. We don’t have any big, big fears going into it.”
Shut it down — unless ...
For the second straight year, Robichaux and his staff plan on shutting down the majority of the pitching staff for the summer months.
“We think it’s helped us this year, knock on wood, with no arm injuries,” Robichaux said. “We think it’s helping us. We think they need to start having the mentality that their fall is what’s important, not summer ball as a pitcher.
“Guys who lacked innings, yes we want them out. We’d like position players to go out, too, and continue to play. But if a guy wants to stay behind and work on his body all summer with our strength coach, I’ve got no problem with that.”
There is one caveat: If Robichaux gets a call from the Cape Cod League, widely regarded as the top summer showcase for collegiate talent, or if Team USA is looking for pitchers like Gunner Leger or Dylan Moore, Robichaux will relent.
“Outside of those two, we’re going to be very, very tough on shutting down,” Robichaux said.