By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Alex Lange may want to go ahead and keep Mike Papierski’s purple-and-gold W flag.
The LSU ace was selected No. 30 overall by the World Champion Chicago Cubs with the final pick of the first round of the MLB Draft Monday night.
The staff full expects the junior right hander to sign professionally, with the No. 30 pick carrying an allotted slot value of $2,184,300.
A two-time All-American, Lange is 9-5 this season with a 2.92 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 111 innings. His 390 career strikeouts rank second all-time in program history, and he’ll have at least one start at the College World Series to rack up some more.
One man who wasn’t surprised by Lange’s landing spot: his coach, Paul Mainieri. The LSU skipper has close friends in the Chicago front off and scout department, so he knew full well the Cubs were interested in his ace.
He might’ve had a little something to do with that, too.
“No, it wasn’t a shock for me at all,” Mainieri laughed. “I’d been lobbying for him for about a month with the Cubs. I’ve got a very close friend on the staff there, and it’s commonplace that some organizations will call the college coach and see what his impression of the player is. Obviously I have some strong feelings about Alex, and evidently some of their scouts agree with me.”
Lange joins Aaron Nola, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft, and Kevin Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, as first-round hurlers produced under current LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn, who joined the staff after the 2011 season. He’s the seventh LSU pitcher ever taken in the first round and sixth first-rounder of the Maninieri Era.
Lange went two picks after another talented right hander with LSU ties, albeit one who’ll likely never set foot on campus. The Blue Jays selected JUCO signee Nate Pearson with the No. 28 overall pick, making it highly unlikely he ever puts on the purple and gold.
Here’s a chart that will be updated of all current LSU players and signees taken in the MLB Draft.
|Nate Pearson||RHP||JUCO||Toronto Blue Jays||1||28||$2,302,900|
|Alex Lange||RHP||Junior||Chicago Cubs||1||30||$2,184,300|
|Greg Deichmann||OF||Junior||Oakland A’s||2||43||$1,597,300|
|Blayne Enlow||RHP||HS||Minnesota Twins||3||76||$755,400|
|Jacob Pearson||OF||HS||Los Angeles Angels||3||85||$656,300|
|Kramer Robertson||SS||Sr||St. Louis Cardinals||4||124||$424,800*|
|Cole Freeman||2B||Sr||Washington Nationals||4||133||$390,000*|
|Andrew Bechtold||INF||JUCO||Minnesota Twins||5||136||$387,700|
|Jared Poche’||LHP||Sr||Oakland A’s||9||261||$145,500*|
|Mike Papierski||C||Jr||Houston Astros||9||271||$141,600|
*Note: Because seniors have no negotiating leverage, it’s important to keep in mind that they rarely receive anything close to slot value in terms of a signing bonus.