BATON ROUGE - LSU ace Alex Lange earned $2.1 million Monday night as a first round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the Major League Baseball Draft, and he will get to pitch in the College World Series on Saturday night when the Tigers play Florida State at 7 p.m. in TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Not a bad week.
Lange, a junior right-hander from Lee's Summit, Missouri, was the 30th pick of the first round, which comes with the $2.1 million as a slotted bonus by MLB. He became the third LSU pitcher to go in the first round since 2012, which is the same year Alan Dunn left coaching in pro ball to become the Tigers' pitching coach. Aaron Nola was the seventh pick in the first round by Philadelphia in 2014, and Kevin Gausman was the fourth pick of the first round in 2012 by Baltimore.
Lange is 9-5 with a 2.92 ERA this season for the Tigers with 134 strikeouts in 111 innings. He has 390 strikeouts in his college career. Should LSU advance in Omaha and Lange gets to start twice, he will have a chance to break LSU's career strikeout record of 409 set by Scott Schultz in four seasons (1992-95) if he can average 10 a game.
"Just wearing the Tigers' uniform is pretty special," Lange said Saturday after his last start in Alex Box Stadium when he got a no-decision in LSU's 4-3 win over Mississippi State in the Super Regional opener. "This has been the greatest three years of my life."
Considered a higher projected first round pick after his freshman season when he was 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA and 131 strikeouts, Lange struggled in the 2016 season at times and dropped to 8-4 with a 3.79 ERA. His control issues likely kept him out of the upper half of the first round as he walked 46 and 49 batters in his first two seasons and has walked another 40 this year.
"Lange was better as a freshman than he has been the last two years," wrote Jim Callis of MLB.com on Monday. "He has a low 90s fastball, the best college curve in this draft, but needs to do a better job of keeping his mechanics in sync and throwing strikes."
LSU junior outfielder/first baseman Greg Deichmann went as the seventh pick of the second round and 43rd overall to Oakland. He is slotted to receive a bonus of $1.5 million. Deichmann, who went to Brother Martin High in New Orleans, is hitting .320 this season with a team-high 19 home runs and 72 RBIs.
Right-handed pitcher Nate Pearson, a junior college signee by the Tigers out of Central Florida, is not expected to come to LSU as he was picked ahead of Lange with the 28th selection of the first round by Toronto.
The draft continues on Tuesday and Wednesday.