LSU Baseball fans are no strangers to watching their former stars play under the brightest lights. Alex Bregman, Kevin Gausman, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Nola represent just a few of the 89 total Tigers who have made it to the big leagues over the years. Even though LSU hasn’t made it to Omaha for the College World Series in the last five seasons, the individual quality has still been there for Paul Mainieri and now, Jay Johnson.
The latter has done a tremendous job pitching Baton Rouge to potential transfers and recruits, despite only residing in Louisiana for around one year. Johnson has secured the signings of a ton of young, talented players from around the country. One such phenom is third baseman/outfielder Jacob Berry. The versatile star came over with Johnson from Arizona when the coach announced he would be taking the vacant role in the Louisiana capital last year. Unfortunately for LSU fans, they only got to enjoy one season of the 21-year-old before he became a hot commodity in the MLB Draft. Berry was taken sixth overall by the Miami Marlins earlier this week.
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Former LSU Baseball star Jacob Berry has agreed to terms with the Marlins
The Tucson, Arizona native officially agreed to terms with the Florida franchise on Thursday. He will earn a $6 million sign-on bonus, which is slightly under the $6.03 million value allotted to players picked in that position. The payday will obviously benefit Berry; it makes Miami very happy, as well. Because the former LSU third baseman signed for under slot value, the remaining $30,000 can be given to another one of the Marlins’ draft picks.
Berry brings a ton of versatility to the table, a valuable skillset for any MLB team. The Marlins were willing to go get the switch hitter early in the first round due to his positional flexibility and incredible hitting ability. Berry slashed .370/.464/.630 for the Tigers this season, and tacked on 15 home runs for good measure. Although he missed some time due to injury, he and Dylan Crews nearly elevated LSU to a Super Regionals appearance in Johnson’s first year in charge. Unfortunately, the Tigers fell just one game short as they were beaten by Southern Mississippi in the Hattiesburg Regional during a winner-take-all contest.
Berry was one of four LSU veterans to be drafted earlier this week. Joining him in the minor leagues will be Cade Doughty, Paul Gervase and Eric Reyzelman. Doughty was selected in the second round (pick 78) by the Toronto Blue Jays. Reyzelman went in the fifth round (pick 160) to the New York Yankees. Gervase was the last Tiger to have his name called as he was selected in the 12th round (pick 359). Sadly for Johnson, he lost more than just the aforementioned four.
Justin Crawford (1-17), Mikey Romero (2-24), Jacob Misiorowski (2-63), Tucker Toman (2-77), Michael Kennedy (4-110) and Jack Pineda (12-355) were all committed—either out of high school or as transfers—to play for LSU in the upcoming season. Each one will forego their college careers, or at least what is left of them, to pursue their dreams of playing in the MLB.
Carter Young (drafted 497 overall by the Baltimore Orioles) is still undecided on his future, but Brady Neal (drafted 522 by the Milwaukee Brewers) will play for Johnson and the Tigers next year. Joining Neal under the lights of Alex Box Stadium in 2023 will be Kaleb Applebey, Gavin Guidry, Griffin Herring, Paxton Kling, Aiden Moffit and Chase Shores, amongst others.
It goes without saying that Johnson has his work cut out for him if he wants to take the Tigers back to Omaha, especially since he lost one of his two best players in Berry. Nevertheless, there is no reason for LSU fans to worry as there is an abundance of talent heading to the Bayou to play ball next season in Baton Rouge.