LSU baseball sees four of its current players selected on first day

Skenes or Crews? See which LSU baseball star odds favor to go No. 1 overall in the MLB Draft
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Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews capped off their careers as LSU Tigers by making history one last time, becoming the first two players from the same college team selected No. 1 and No. 2 in the MLB draft Sunday.

Skenes went first to the Pittsburgh Pirates, while Crews went second to the Washington Nationals.

“I think it says we have the right people,” Skenes said. “Coach (Jay) Johnson is doing a good job in bringing the right people into the building, and I don’t think it’s done anytime soon. I think it’s going to be a pattern of success for LSU baseball, and I’m really excited to see where the program goes.”

It also marked the first time since 2001 that LSU had two players selected in the first round of the draft, when second baseman Mike Fontenot and outfielder Todd Linden were selected 19th and 41st overall, respectively. Second baseman Todd Walker and shortstop Russ Johnson also were selected in the first round of the 1994 draft.

LSU right-hander Ty Floyd then was selected 38th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the competitive balance round. LSU also saw its top recruit — catcher Blake Mitchell, selected eighth overall by the Kansas City Royals. Mitchell was the No. 1 player in Texas by Perfect Game. LSU right-hander Grant Taylor was selected in the second round. 

Skenes’ suggested signing bonus as the overall No. 1 pick is $9.72 million, Crews’ slot value is $9 million, Mitchell’s is valued at $5.98 million and Floyd is slotted at $2.26 million.

Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said the decision was tight among the top prospects, which included Crews and Florida’s Wyatt Langford.

“It was a difficult choice to be sure, not because of the pitcher versus position player, but just because all of the guys we considered at the top were really good players and really good people,” Cherington said. “We believe Paul is the right choice for us — it’s that combination of what he’s capable of doing on the field and what he still wants to do better despite the year he’s had.”

Skenes, a transfer from the Air Force Academy, received this year’s Dick Howser Trophy, which is given to the national college baseball player of the year. He was also named D1 Baseball National Player of the Year, in addition to being the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year.

He broke former LSU right-hander Ben McDonald’s SEC and school record of 202 strikeouts with 209 this season, leading the nation in strikeouts and WHIP (0.75). He finished the season with the second-best ERA nationally at 1.69.

Skenes was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series, going 1-0 in two starts with a 1.15 ERA in 15⅔ innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and 21 strikeouts.

“We wanted a player who we thought would help the Pirates win the most games over time, and that’s what we always go back to,” Cherington said. “We’ve taken college players three out of the four years I’ve been here, and it’s always focused on the best player.”

Crews won the 2023 Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top amateur baseball player on athletic ability, sportsmanship, character and overall contribution to the sport.

“I like to say pressure is a privilege,” Crews said. “It’s how you take it, and growing up, I always played up – 2020 playing in the 2019 class. So, expectations weren’t really a thing of mine. The transition seemed pretty easy as I got to LSU, and I feel like the transition is going to be pretty easy as I go and play for the Nationals.”

He finished his three-year career as a two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and the SEC Male Athlete of the Year. He was Perfect Game’s National Freshman of the Year in 2021.

“He’s always been a guy we’ve watched since high school,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s been a consistent player throughout his career. He’s got great character and he’s very competitive. I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to fit right in and be one of the leaders of the core group of guys.”

Crews batted .426 this season with 16 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 80 RBIs and a nation-leading 100 runs scored. He also led the nation with 71 walks, and was No. 2 in on-base percentage (.567) and hits (110). Crews also reached base in all 71 games this season, in addition to the final four games last year, to end his college career with a 75-game streak.

Floyd appeared in the first round of a number of mock drafts over the past few days in large part because of his 17-strikeout performance against Florida during the first game of the College World Series finals on June 24. The performance tied Arizona State’s Ed Bane for the second-most strikeouts in a CWS game — a mark no one had matched since 1972.

Floyd finished his season with a 4.35 ERA through 91 innings, striking out 120 and walking 37. He started 17 of his 19 appearances this season as the second-day starter of the Tigers’ rotation. 

“He had a spectacular season for us and he went undefeated— you think about the schedule that we played— to not have a loss on his record is amazing,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said on the MLB Network broadcast. “Great fastball at the top of the zone, terrific changeup and when he had his curveball, he was gonna pile up strikeouts in a big way.” 

Taylor, who did not pitch in the 2023 season, was selected 51st overall by the Chicago White Sox in the second round. He posted a 5.81 ERA through 31 innings in the 2022 season, striking out 39 and walking 21.

His rise on the draft boards was largely due to his performance in the Cape Cod League last year. He was widely considered to be a potential member of the starting rotation.

“He’s probably first round pick,” Johnson said on the broadcast. “No question about it. We’d be long past Grant Taylor had he been healthy this year.” 

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About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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