How many players will LSU lose to the MLB draft? Jay Johnson expects to lose as many as 11

LSU sophomore Jared Jones is draft eligible this season and came in at No. 196 in Perfect Game's prospect rankings. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics

LSU baseball has already lost several players to the transfer portal, but the Tigers won’t know if it’ll keep its biggest names until after the MLB draft this summer.

Last season, Jay Johnson lost his best two player in the first two picks of the draft when Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews went at No.1 and No. 2 overall. He might not see his players leave the board quite so quickly this year, but Johnson still expects to lose several players to the MLB.

“We’ll have as few as five and as many as 11, probably, that could get drafted from this roster,” Johnson said. “I would guess the time the 2024 draft ends, we’ll have the most players drafted in the country over the last two years. We’re here to develop guys for professional baseball and no one does that better. There are some guys between pro baseball and coming back. All of those guys will be welcome back and have a place on our roster, but even with that, we have a lot of work to do to have the team we want to have.”

LSU had eleven players make Perfect Game’s ranking of the top 500 MLB draft prospects with four Tigers making up the top 100. Tommy White, Gage Jump, Luke Holman and Thatcher Hurd were all in the top 100 while Jared Jones, Michael Braswell, Griffin Herring, Fidel Ulloa, Christian Little, Justin Loer and Gavin Guidry are all lower down on the list.

The Tigers currently have seven players attending the MLB combine as well with Jones, Herring, Jump, Holman, Hurd, Loer and Little all there.

White is likely to head to the majors and is the highest ranked prospect for LSU. He comes in at No. 30 on the list and is followed by Jump at No. 44 and Holman at No. 55. It would be a big surprise if any of those three returned.

Hurd didn’t have a great season last year and posted a 6.55 ERA with a losing record, but he still comes in at No. 78 in the rankings. The good news for the Tigers though is that the next player is quite a way down on the list after Hurd.  

A low draft spot might mean that LSU could retain some of its players for another season as they try to raise their stock.

“None of them are in a hurry to get out of here and I think they know their value here is strong,” Johnson said. “Someone is going to have to value them highly to get them to move on.”

The two biggest names outside of the top 100 are undoubtedly Jones and Herring. Jones led the team in homers last season and would be a huge plus for Johnson’s offense if he were to return.

“Jared won a national championship as a freshman with 14 home runs, then this year hits 26 home runs, and next year it would be his lineup and if he does that again, now you’re talking a completely different value for himself,” Johnson said.

Herring was one of LSU’s best pitchers last season and Johnson said that if he returns, he’ll be moved up to a starter. Among all SEC pitched with at least 30 innings pitched in conference play, Herring had the best ERA with a 1.14.

“They were incredibly positive and that’s why they all have an open door here,” Johnson said. “It’s not rocket science. Draft-eligible sophomores, Herring and Jones, I’m not sure how they’re viewed. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at that stuff. I know their value to LSU baseball and their value to me, and the value they could create for themselves next year is really high. They have a platform here to do that. In both of their cases, if they were to return for a third year, they could leave as two of the best players to play here.”

The full list of Tigers and where they came in at in the rankings is below:

30. Tommy White

44. Gage Jump

55. Luke Holman

78. Thatcher Hurd

196. Jared Jones

204. Michael Braswell

213. Griffin Herring

366. Fidel Ulloa

420. Christian Little

447. Justin Loer

484. Gavin Guidry

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Will Nickel

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