LSU Baseball Players Facing Tough Decisions About Their Professional Future

Glen West

When LSU’s 2020 baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there was an abyss of unknown questions. Would the players be given an extra year of eligibility? How would the MLB suspending play affect the draft? In turn, how would the draft influence the number of collegiate players that would decide to enter their names?

Over the past few days, there have been answers to a few of those questions that have a direct impact on multiple LSU players. On Friday, the MLB ratified a number of agreements with the MLB Players Association including advancements on salaries and requirements for the beginning of the season.

The MLB season won’t begin until fans are allowed to fill the stadium seats, which means a start is likely not anywhere on the horizon. As part of the agreement, the league and the players association decided to shorten the 2020 draft, a decision that will keep more college baseball players at school next year. 

The 2020 MLB draft could be as few as five rounds which would not only keep a number of LSU players in school but also bring in an unprecedented amount of high school prospects as well. That could create a roster jam if the NCAA doesn’t vote to lift some of its restrictions.

Under the current NCAA rules, college baseball teams can only have 35 players on a roster and 11.7 scholarships per team. On Monday, the NCAA will be voting to determine whether those parameters will be altered for the upcoming season.

Two of the big names currently on the LSU roster that were likely headed to the MLB draft were junior right fielder Daniel Cabrera and sophomore ace pitcher Cole Henry.

During the limited season, Cabrera was starting to really find a groove, batting .345 with two homeruns and 12 RBI. Henry pitched with a 1.89 ERA in four starts, striking out 23 batters and walking six in 19 total innings.

Both players were likely to be taken within the first five rounds but with the new restrictions, it’s fair to wonder if MLB clubs will be more inclined to reach on high school prospects with a shortened draft.

The NCAA’s decision Monday could have ripple effects across the sport of baseball. Whether or not Henry and Cabrera decide to come back, LSU coach Paul Mainieri could be having a lot of sleepless nights if the roster parameters aren’t restructured.

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