Both of the drafted players in UL-Lafayette’s baseball signing class have now announced their intentions to enroll in school and delay a potential professional career.
Catcher Handsome Monica, a Mandeville native who was picked in the 33rd round of last week’s Major League Baseball draft by the Atlanta Braves, posted on his Twitter account Friday that he will join the Ragin’ Cajuns this fall after one year at Northwest Florida State College.
“Thanks Atlanta Braves for the opportunity you’ve given me, but I will be attending UL for my junior year #GoCajuns,” Monica said on his account, @HandsomeOVO.
Cajuns signee Todd Lott, a 6-foot-4 outfielder from Trinity Christian Academy in Florida, said on Twitter Tuesday that he will turn down his 20th-round selection by the Cincinnati Reds to join the UL-Lafayette program.
The players were part of an 11-man class signed last November by coach Tony Robichaux and his staff. They were the only two from that class to be selected in the draft.
“We lost some very good outfielders and a very good catcher,” Robichaux said. “These two players fit exactly what our needs are for the future.”
Cajuns senior Nick Thurman, who caught every pitch of every inning in all 64 games this season, signed a free-agent contract with the Seattle Mariners on Friday.
The 6-foot-1 Monica hit .348 with 12 doubles, 13 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .684 slugging percentage for Northwest Florida this spring. Before that, the St. Paul’s graduate spent one season at the University of Arizona — ironically, the team that eliminated the Cajuns in the Lafayette regional two weeks ago — where he hit .300 in nine games as a backup catcher.
At St. Paul’s, Monica was an All-State pick his senior year and a third-team All-America selection by Perfect Game in 2014. He was Perfect Game’s third-rated high school prospect in Louisiana and the No. 17 catcher nationally.
“He is a very physical player who also brings some (Division) I experience after spending a year in the Arizona program,” Robichaux said at the time of Monica’s signing. “He flashes tremendous power at the plate with an advanced understanding of a hitting approach. He’s a rock-solid receiver and blocker who possesses strong leadership qualities that will only make our pitching staff that much better.”