The LSU baseball team received more good news about its freshman signing class last week.
The Toronto Blue Jays signed their top two draft picks with the full allotted bonus money, leaving little behind to woo LSU signees Michael Papierski and Jake Latz to professional ball.
“That’s encouraging for us,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “They didn’t save $1 million for Latz and Papierski.”
Latz, a left-handed pitcher from Illinois, and Papierski, a catcher from Illinois, made their commitment to play at LSU and are enrolled in summer school. Eight members of LSU’s 12-player freshman signing class have reported to campus, but the highly touted group — six of whom were drafted — have until July 18 to sign pro contracts.
LSU lost first baseman Bobby Bradley, who signed with the Cleveland Indians.
Others not on campus yet are Brother Martin shortstop Greg Deichmann and right-hander hurler Alex Lange, who are playing together this summer for the Midland Redskins in Cincinnati; right-hander Jake Godfrey and junior college sidearmer Collin Strall are set to join in August.
Lefty pitcher Mac Marshall, Godfrey and shortstop Grayson Byrd join Latz and Papierski as signees selected in the June draft. They have all given their commitment to Mainieri to play college ball.
Latz and Papierski, outside of Bradley, were the two highest drafted players. Toronto took Latz in the 11th round and Papierski in the 16th. The players reported to campus in mid-June following their high school seasons.
So how is this group of eight freshmen looking? Mainieri and his coaching staff are not allowed to work with the group until the fall. For now, they’re working out under the supervision of LSU’s strength and conditioning coordinator, Jeremy Phillips.
“He’s raving about their work ethic, how athletic they look and how much he’s excited about the attitude of this group,” Mainieri said. “I think they’re bonding together and working hard. I think the future is very bright.”
Nola gets first pro win
Former LSU star Aaron Nola posted his first professional win Monday in the High Single-A Florida State League.
Working five innings of relief behind rehabbing MLB star Cliff Lee, Nola allowed one hit in five scoreless innings as the Clearwater Threshers beat the visiting Brevard County Manatees 3-0 in seven innings to open a doubleheader. Nola (1-1, 3.18 ERA) struck out five and walked none.
LSU finished as high as No. 15 and as low as No. 22 in the five major polls. The Tigers were as follows: 15th (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association), 16th (USA Today), 21st (Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game) and 22nd (Baseball America). … Episcopal catcher Turner Graham plans to walk on to the team, Mainieri said. Graham gives the Tigers 39 players for the fall season. Mainieri will cut the roster to the maximum of 35 before the 2015 season begins in February. Graham must earn a spot on the team during the fall, the coach said.