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LSU starting pitcher Cole Henry (18) pitches against UMass Lowell, Friday, March 6, 2020, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Before the 2020 season, LSU expected to lose eight or nine current players and a handful of recruits during the Major League Baseball draft this summer. Instead, LSU may lose two or three.

The shortest draft in MLB history begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The event shapes LSU’s roster every year, but this time the draft will last just five rounds, cut from 40 in an attempt to save money during the coronavirus pandemic.

The draft, broadcast on MLB Network and ESPN, will hold the first round and Competitive Balance Round A on Wednesday night. The rest of the draft will finish Thursday evening.

Whereas previous drafts threatened to gut LSU’s roster, this one may leave the Tigers with a surplus of players. Only 160 players will get picked, compared to 1,217 last year.

Some LSU players are surefire picks. Others fell into the Rounds 6-10 range. Undrafted players can still sign professionally, but for a maximum $20,000 signing bonus. The low number may nudge players toward college.

Whatever happens, the results will determine LSU’s roster next season. Here are the current players and recruits who could go in the five rounds, plus some names to watch as undrafted free agents.

Current

Daniel Cabrera, OF, junior: Cabrera earned preseason All-American recognitions this spring and landed in the first round of early mock drafts. When the season ended, he was batting .345 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. Cabrera has the offensive tools teams look for during the draft. He can hit to all fields with power, and his efficient swing translates to the next level. LSU expects him to sign professionally this summer.

Projection: First or second round

Cole Henry, RHP, sophomore: Draft-eligible as a sophomore, Henry can either come back to school while retaining leverage in salary negotiations or leave if a team matches his asking price. Henry made four starts this spring. He struck out 23 batters and allowed four runs, but he struggled to pitch deep into games. If Henry’s stock falls, teams wanted to see him last an entire season. He wouldn’t mind returning to LSU.

Projection: First or second round

Devin Fontenot, RHP, junior: Fontenot may have raised his draft stock with a full season. In seven appearances, he posted a 0.90 ERA with four walks, 17 strikeouts and four saves. Fontenot, who received third-team All-America recognition from Collegiate Baseball, has shown flashes of major league talent. Will it be enough in a shorter draft?

Projection: Fifth round

AJ Labas, RHP, redshirt sophomore: After missing the 2019 season because of a shoulder injury, Labas cemented himself as LSU’s third starter. Labas carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Oklahoma. He finished the season with a 3.55 ERA, but professional teams don’t have much recent film on him.

Projection: Fifth round

Zack Mathis, INF, junior: Mathis sits on the fringes of this draft. He transferred to LSU after two years in junior college, and his season ended in a two-week slump that dropped his batting average to .262. Mathis could raise his stock if he played another year in college, but he may begin his professional career.

Projection: Fifth round or undrafted

Saul Garza, C, junior: Garza ended his sophomore season as the hottest hitter on LSU’s team, batting .425 during the postseason. This spring, Garza lost his spot as the everyday catcher and batted .229 with three home runs. If he doesn’t get drafted, Garza may sign as an undrafted free agent.

Projection: Fifth round or undrafted

Ma’Khail Hilliard, RHP, junior: Hilliard did not pitch much this season because of a lingering arm injury, but he may sign after the draft.

Projection: Undrafted

Recruits

Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands High School, Texas: One of the highest-rated high school prospects in this draft, Romo may get selected before LSU’s current players. He has elite defensive skills, and he hits from both sides of the plate. If Romo falls past the second round, he will likely come to school.

Projection: First or second round

Beck Way, RHP, Northwest Florida State College: Way, the top junior college pitcher in the country, pitched in seven games last season. He went 5-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 58 strikeouts. Way’s fastball has reached 97 mph during training sessions.

Projection: Second or third round

Ty Floyd, RHP/INF, Rockmart High School, Georgia: Floyd is a potential two-way player if he goes to LSU, but he stands out on the mound. Floyd throws a 92 mph fastball with a curveball around 74 mph.

Projection: Third or fourth round

Brody Drost, OF, Barbe High School, Lake Charles: Drost received 2019-20 Gatorade Louisiana Baseball Player of the Year honors. During his brief senior season, Drost batted .390 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He also pitched. Teams may not reach his asking price.

Projection: Fourth or fifth round

Blake Money, RHP, Summit High School, Tennessee: An imposing presence on the mound, Money stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 245 pounds. Money throws three pitches, and his fastball sits around 93 mph. He once played in the Little League World Series.

Projection: Fifth round

Jordan Thompson, INF, Helix High School, California: Thompson committed to LSU before his sophomore year. He entered the spring as a top-300 prospect, but he only played in three games because of a hamstring injury, putting him on the edge of this draft.

Projection: Fifth round

Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com