LSU likely lost its shortstop of the future when the Milwaukee Brewers took prized signee Brice Turang with the 21st pick in the MLB Draft on Monday night, but no current Tigers heard there name called as day one drew to a close.
It’s not necessarily a surprise that outfielder Zach Watson and right-hander Zack Hess didn’t hear their names called in the first two rounds — it’s considered a deep draft class at both positions — but it is certainly a good sign for LSU and its hopes of having the two stars back for their junior seasons.
Draft-eligible sophomores have far more leverage in negations than juniors because they can return to school with two more years of eligibility in their back pocket. Both Watson and Hess are thought to have high demands when it comes to signing bonuses.
It’s by no means a lock that either will return in 2019, but the first pick of the third round comes with a slot value of $750,800 and decreases from there. Deals can always be worked out, but it goes without saying that LSU’s odds of getting Hess and Watson back increase as day two of the draft goes on.
The equation is different for Antoine Duplantis, who also figures to be selected some time on Tuesday. Since Duplantis is a junior, returning for his senior season would mean that he has no leverage when it comes to negotiations. That doesn’t mean he’ll sign at all costs, but it’s likely now or never if he wants a six-figure signing bonus.
The draft resumes Tuesday with round three set to begin at noon CT.