At some point Friday night, Jake Latz reportedly turned down $1 million.
The left-hander passed on the temptation thrown his way by a Major League Baseball franchise, and let LSU coach Paul Mainieri exhale. If anything, the past three days of the pro player draft haven’t left the Tigers’ elite recruiting class picked over clean.
“I’m pretty confident about it,” Mainieri said Saturday of his recruiting class coming to Tigertown. “It’s relatively safe.”
On Saturday, highly touted lefty Mac Marshall pulled into Baton Rouge to move into a dorm ahead of summer school, and the fact the Houston Astros tabbed him in the 21st round with the No. 616 pick may keep him there.
“I’ll be down moving in this afternoon,” Marshall said during the final leg of Saturday’s drive.
Projected as a top-70 pick, it appears suitors couldn’t match Marshall’s asking price, or those for 10 other incoming freshmen.
Take Latz, the ace at Lemont (Ill.) High, who was projected as a mid-round pick. Toronto plucked him with the 324th pick, but Mainieri said the money that comes with being an 11th-round pick won’t sway him.
“Latz turned down an awful lot of money,” Mainieri said. “We’ve just got to hope he sticks to his guns.”
Right-hander Jake Godfrey, projected as third-to-fifth-round pick, went in the 21st round to Atlanta, while shortstop Grayson Byrd went to the Braves in the 39th round.
None of them have given Mainieri much reason to wring his hands.
“I know what these kids are asking for, and I just find it hard to believe with the way the draft rules are now that they would be able to meet the price of these players,” he said.
The fact that six are already on campus for the start of summer classes Monday only girds that faith. If Latz and Papierski don’t arrive, it will be the result of Lemont’s state playoff run dragging into next weekend, Mainieri said.
An interesting case may be current LSU closer Joe Broussard, a redshirt junior Mainieri considered likely to bolt once the season ended. But Broussard, a 10th-round projection, went later than expected when the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him in the 15th round with the 459th overall pick.
“I think Joe is rethinking it a little bit,” Mainieri said.
He just might be right.
The Dodgers haven’t told him what compensation package they’re willing to extend his way. The two sides plan to meet early this week to discuss it, and Broussard said he isn’t leaning in one direction or the other.
“It’s really up in the air, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” Broussard said. “I don’t really know what their offer is, so I don’t have a clue either way.”
LSU”s Sean McMullen and Nate Fury don’t face such a dilemma.
Their careers at LSU ended with the bruising of a 12-2 loss to Houston on Monday in the regional round of the NCAA tournament.
Yet McMullen was plucked in the 30th round by the Astros. The Brother Martin alum is set to report to their rookie affiliate in Greenville, Tennessee, on June 14. Fury went to Detroit in the 36th round.
There’s no quibbling over contract figures, either.
“It doesn’t at all have any disappointment,” McMullen said. “I’ve kind of been the underdog in baseball my whole life. I’m just excited to get this going.”