The first night of the 2020 MLB Draft finished with one LSU-related selection.
LSU recruit Drew Romo, a catcher, went with the No. 35 overall pick to the Colorado Rockies, indicating he will sign a professional contract and forgo a career at LSU.
The first round and Competitive Balance Round A — a total of 37 picks — happened Wednesday night. As the draft plodded along, professional teams leaned toward college players with little recent film or in-person evaluation of high school prospects.
The first high school player went eighth overall, the latest the first high school player was selected in MLB draft history.
Entering the draft, LSU junior outfielder Daniel Cabrera, sophomore pitcher Cole Henry and Romo rested on the edge of the first round. Romo, the highest-ranked player associated with LSU, landed at No. 35 on MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings.
One of the highest-rated high school prospects in this draft, Romo has elite defensive skills, and he hits from both sides of the plate. If Romo fell past the second round, he may have come to school. The slot value associated with his pick is $2,095,800.
LSU expects Cabrera to sign professionally once he gets selected Thursday, the final day of the draft. Cabrera can hit to the opposite field with power, and his swing translates to the next level.
Draft-eligible as a sophomore, Henry’s decision depends on whether teams meet his asking price. Slot values drop as the draft continues, falling under $2 million in the second round unless teams offer more money.
Henry became LSU’s ace his freshman year, but an arm injury sidelined him the final month of the regular season. This spring, Henry made four starts. He struck out 23 batters and allowed four runs, but he didn’t pitch deep into games.
Teams may want to see Henry last an entire season. He wouldn’t mind returning to LSU. If he does, a productive season could push him into the first round next summer.
“I think he has the talent to be a first-rounder,” coach Paul Mainieri said Wednesday on WNXX-FM, 104.5, “and I think if he came back to LSU for one more year, we'd be talking about Cole somewhere in the middle of the first round and singing for a bonus in excess of $3 million.”
A few LSU players and recruits may get picked once the draft resumes at 4 p.m. Thursday. Right-handed pitchers Devin Fontenot and AJ Labas have possible fifth-round grades, while third baseman Zack Mathis and catcher Saul Garza sit on the fringe of the fifth round.
From LSU’s recruiting class, right-handed pitcher Beck Way, right-handed pitcher Ty Floyd, outfielder Brody Drost, right-handed pitcher Blake Money and infielder Jordan Thompson remain on the board. If they go undrafted, LSU coaches expect them to come to school.