By LUKE JOHNSON
Tiger Rag Editor
LSU’s 2014 signing class is loaded with power arms, the type of guys that could immediately compete for a weekend rotation spot if they make their way to college rather than testing the professional waters out of high school.
It would be a major coup if LSU is able to land all of their committed pitchers, and the biggest risk appears to be Lilburn, Ga., southpaw Mac Marshall.
As one of the top prep pitchers in the country, Marshall could be selected sometime in the first two rounds of June’s Major League Baseball draft. He’s dominated high school diamonds this season with his fastball that regularly sits in the low 90s with potential to reach higher and a polished repertoire.
If Marshall decides to play professionally rather than coming to school, LSU still has plenty to work with among its 2014 signees.
The Tigers trekked northward to sign a pair of talented arms out of Illinois in left-hander Jake Latz and right-hander Jake Godfrey. Like Marshall, the stoutly built Godfrey regularly sits in the low 90s with his fastball and has touched 94 on the radar gun. Latz does not throw as hard, usually coming in in the upper 80s, but he’s shown he knows how to pitch and he projects to gain some steam on his heater as he ages.
Like Marshall, Godfrey could find himself pitching professionally this summer.
LSU stayed in the Midwest to sign hard-throwing right-hander Alex Lange out of Missouri. The 6-foot-3 pitcher is the top-ranked player in the show-me state, and combines his low-90s fastball with a sinker and a sweeping slider that MaxPreps called "the best pitch of the Midwest Futures Game.” Lange could be a relatively early draft pick as well.
Right-hander Doug Norman, a South Carolina native, also can touch the low 90s with his fastball. Local product Austin Bain rounds out LSU’s pitching class. The Dutchtown product is being recruited as both an infielder and a pitcher, and combines his tools in the field with a 90-93 mile per hour fastball and good feel for his offspeed pitches.
It’s not all arms in the Tigers’ signing class, though. Infielder Greg Deichmann of Brother Martin High School in Metairie might wind up being the best player in the class.
Deichmann projects as either a shortstop or a third baseman, and could find playing time early as the Tigers will be looking to fill senior Christian Ibarra’s spot at the hot corner. Deichmann would likely be a risk to sign professionally, but he’s made it clear to teams that he strongly desires to enroll at LSU next fall. He already completed spring testing at LSU.
Deichmann, who is related to former LSU infielder Mike Hollander, is the top-ranked player in Louisiana and has led the state in home runs three years in a row.
The Tigers might not be as lucky with first baseman Bobby Bradley, a powerful left-handed hitter from Gulfport, Miss., who could be drafted in the first 10 rounds. Bradley clubbed 17 homers in his sophomore and junior seasons, though his power numbers have dipped in his senior year as teams have started pitching around him.
Deichman isn’t the only player with LSU roots in the 2014 class. Shortstop Grayson Byrd is former LSU star pitcher Paul Byrd’s son. Byrd comes to LSU ready to play early with a slick glove in the infield and a solid bat from the left side of the plate.
LSU signed a pair of twins from Barbe High School in Lake Charles in Beau and Bryce Jordan, both of whom come to LSU as potential corner outfielders or first basemen. Neither project as future professional players, but both bring a grinder mentality to the game. Bryce Jordan recently broke a national hit by pitch record when he was plunked for the 30th time this season.
Catcher Michael Papierski rounds out LSU’s 2014 class. He’s Latz’ high school teammate, and the LSU staff found out about him when he and Latz made a trip down to one of LSU’s camps. Papierski is a big-bodied target behind the plate and bats from both sides.
(Heights and weights according to PerfectGame.com)
- LHP Mac Marshall, 6-2, 185, Parkview High School, Lilburn, GA
- RHP Jake Godfrey, 6-3, 215, Providence Catholic, New Lenox, Ill.
- LHP Jake Latz, 6-2, 185, Lemont Twp High School, Lemont, Ill.
- RHP Alex Lange, 6-3, 210, Lee’s Summit West, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
- INF/RHP Austin Bain, 6-2, 200, Dutchtown High School, Geismar, La.
- RHP Doug Norman, 6-3, 175, Ardrey Kell High School, Fort Mill, SC
- 1B Bobby Bradley, 6-2, 215, Harrison Central, Gulfport, Miss.
- SS/3B Greg Deichmann, 6-2, 185, Brother Martin, Metairie, La.
- SS Grayson Byrd, 6-3, 180, Kings Ridge Christian, Alpharetta, Ga.
- 1B/OF Bryce Jordan, 5-10, 195, Barbre High School, Lake Charles, La.
- 1B/OF Beau Jordan, 5-10, 195, Barbre High School, Lake Charles, La.
- C Michael Papierski, 6-3, 205, Lemont Twp High School, Lemont, Ill.