When it comes to the Major League Baseball draft and his signing class, Paul Mainieri would rather look at the glass half full.
Every year, the LSU baseball coach loses a few of his prized recruits to the pro organizations. Even after 11 years in Baton Rouge, it never gets easier for Mainieri to manage, but it forces him to face reality: You can only win with the players who come to campus.
“You can sit around and cry about the ones that left, or you can celebrate the ones that are showing up,” Mainieri said Tuesday. “I’m going to choose to celebrate the ones that show up.”
At least two of his more talented recruits that were draft risks will be on LSU’s campus in the fall.
Outfielder Daniel Cabrera and pitcher Nick Storz announced on Twitter on Wednesday that they will join the Tigers baseball program. Cabrera, a Parkview Baptist alum, was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round Wednesday, but he had already announced his intentions before being selected.
Storz, a 6-foot-6 righty from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York, was chosen in the 31st round by the Detroit Tigers. But he, like Cabrera, had already made his decision before being drafted.
Since the day I committed to LSU I couldn't wait to play in Alex Box Stadium in front of the best college fans!Very excited to be a tiger 🐯— Nick Storz (@NickyStorz) June 14, 2017
Entering the draft, Cabrera and Storz were ranked No. 55 and No. 200, according to MLB.com’s top 200 prospects. But each player’s signing bonus requests were too high for teams to draft them earlier, Mainieri said.
The LSU coach said he thought there was a “50-50 chance” of each player signing with a team before the draft started.
“What they did was set such a high price for them to sign that they would have had to been paid way over slot, as well,” Mainieri said, “and obviously nobody wanted to do that.”
LSU saw four of its signees selected in the first two days of the draft. Three of them — pitcher Blayne Enlow, center fielder Jacob Pearson and third baseman Andrew Bechtold — have already agreed to terms with the organization that drafted them, Mainieri said.
Mainieri said fellow LSU signee and first-round pick Nate Pearson, a right-handed pitcher from the College of Central Florida, has not yet agreed to terms, but he expects him to eventually sign with Toronto Blue Jays.
Mainieri said he believes the other recruits in the class can fill the holes left by the players signing with professional teams.
“We hopefully have already filled them," Mainieri said. "Because if you’re trying to recruit players this late, it’s very rare that you’re going to be able to find the caliber of player that you make it to Omaha with. There’s exceptions to that. We’re going to recruit one more infielder because we had somebody kind of on hold because we weren’t sure what was going to happen with Andrew Bechtold.”
Following the draft Wednesday, Delgado Community College second baseman Brandt Broussard, a University High product, announced his commitment to LSU via Twitter.
Officially committed to play baseball for LSU!! #ForeverLSU 🐯⚾️— Brandt Broussard (@brandtbrouss1) June 14, 2017
Mainieri, however, is unsure about the status of signee Cam Sanders, a right-handed pitcher from E.D. White. Sanders was drafted in the 18th round by San Diego Padres. Depending on what he was offered to him, Sanders expressed interested in turning pro, according to a report by The (Houma) Courier.
Two LSU pitchers were also drafted Wednesday.
Junior right-hander Hunter Kiel, who appeared in 10 games this season, was taken 18th round by the Chicago White Sox. Kiel, a junior college transfer from Florence, Alabama, left the program after the South Alabama game on May 9 and will not be returning to school.
The Cincinnati Reds selected LSU junior pitcher Doug Norman in the 25th round. The right-handed reliever tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm on Feb. 26 against Maryland and missed the rest of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Though he was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 26th round, Louisiana-Lafayette ace Gunner Leger also announced on Twitter that he will be returning to school for his senior season. The lefty was the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and was named a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
Leger was one of four Cajuns drafted Wednesday, joining right fielder Steven Sensley and pitchers Wyatt Marks and Evan Guillory.
Draftees with Louisiana ties
RHP Nate Pearson, College of Central Florida (LSU signee), 28th pick, Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Alex Lange, LSU, 30th pick, Chicago Cubs
OF Greg Deichmann, LSU, 43rd pick, Oakland A’s
RHP Blayne Enlow, St. Amant (LSU signee), 76th pick, Minnesota Twins
CF Jacob Pearson, West Monroe (LSU signee), 85th pick, Los Angeles Angels
SS Kramer Robertson, LSU, 124th pick, St. Louis Cardinals
2B Cole Freeman, LSU, 133rd pick, Washington Nationals
3B Andrew Bechtold, Chipola College (LSU signee), 136th pick, Minnesota Twins
RHP Mac Sceroler, Southeastern Louisiana, 137th pick, Cincinnati Reds
LHP Jake Latz, Kent State (former LSU pitcher), 164th pick, Texas Rangers
LHP Jared Poché, LSU, 261st pick, Oakland Athletics
C Michael Papierski, LSU, 271st pick, Houston Astros
RHP Shawn Semple, New Orleans, 332nd pick, New York Yankees
RF Steven Sensley, UL-Lafayette, 362nd pick, New York Yankees
RHP Wyatt Marks, UL-Lafayette, 381st pick, Oakland Athletics
RF Brody Wofford, Chipola College (former LSU outfielder), 406th pick, Cincinnati Reds
LF Raphael Gladu, Louisiana Tech, 487th pick, New York Mets
RHP Cam Sanders, Northwest Florida State (LSU signee), 528th pick, San Diego Padres
RHP Hunter Kiel, LSU, 537th pick, Chicago White Sox
1B Dylan Burdeaux, Southern Miss (West Monroe alum), 605th pick, Detroit Tigers
RHP Nate Harris, Louisiana Tech, 626th pick, Colorado Rockies
RHP Cole Stapler, Nicholls State, 652nd pick, Arizona Diamondbacks
RHP Evan Guillory, UL-Lafayette, 694th pick, St. Louis Cardinals
2B Carson Crites, Southeastern Louisiana, 736th pick, Minnesota Twins
RHP Doug Norman, LSU, 737th pick, Cincinnati Reds
CF Robbie Podorsky, McNeese State, 738th pick, San Diego Padres
CF Tyler James, William Carey (Slidell native), 750th pick, Kansas City Royals
CF Daniel Cabrera, Parkview Baptist (LSU signee), 768th pick, San Diego Padres
LHP Gunner Leger, UL-Lafayette, 779th pick, Miami Marlins
OF Kameron Esthay, Baylor (Sam Houston alum), 793rd pick, Washington Nationals
RHP Collin Kober, McNeese State, 813th pick, Seattle Mariners
C Brent Diaz, Louisiana Tech, 864th pick, Milwaukee Brewers
RHP Nick Storz, Poly Prep Country Day School (LSU signee), 935th pick, Detroit Tigers
LHP Tanner Raiburn, Grambling, 1,001st pick, Boston Red Sox
RHP Riley Richert, Howard College (Tulane signee), 1,090th pick, Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Ted Andrews, Tulane, 1,107th pick, Chicago White Sox
RHP Corey Merrill, Tulane, 1,120th pick, Los Angeles Dodgers
SS Nathan Reynolds, UL-Monroe, 1,162nd pick, Arizona Diamondbacks
SS Hayden Cantrelle, Teurlings Catholic, 1,202nd pick, New York Yankees