With MLB draft looming, players with coast ties could hear their names early

UNDATED (WLOX) - Aaron Nola's pitches have been tough to see for opposing hitters, but it's easy to see why the junior pitcher from LSU is expected to go in the top 10 of Thursday's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

His control is a big reason why he's been so dominant at the college level. The experts at MLB.com list him as the sixth-best prospect available, but says he should be the first pitcher in this year's class to receive a call to the bigs down the road.

Nola probably wouldn't be too upset going second overall to the Marlins. That's not just because of the jump a few spots, but because his brother Austin is currently having a career year with Miami's double-A club -- the Jacksonville Suns.

Coming in at 51st overall on the MLB.com draft rankings is former St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaw Jacob Lindgren. The left-hander moved from Mississippi State's starting rotation to the bullpen this year for head coach John Cohen.

Being a reliever might be his fastest track to the majors even though he's got a prime chance to be developed into a starter as well.

His best pitch is the slider that, while it got him into trouble during his team's season-ending loss to No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette, has been his out pitch. Lindgren had a 6-1 record with a microscopic 0.81 ERA in 2014, including 100 strikeouts compared to just 25 walks.

At 68th in the MLB.com rankings, Harrison Central's Bobby Bradley is a powerful left-handed bat that does have a commitment to the LSU Tigers. However, second- through fourth-round money could persuade him away from the bayou bengals.

Bradley projects as a future first baseman. With a 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame, the power already in place is only going to become more electric.

George County pitcher Justin Steele is ranked 122nd and has a commitment to Southern Miss should he choose not to sign with an MLB team.

Other players with ties to the coast that could be drafted include Gulfport shortstop and USM commit Daniel Keating, Mississippi State reliever Jonathan Holder, MSU first baseman Wes Rea and Ole Miss outfielder Braxton Lee.

Rounds 1-2 will be broadcasted on the MLB Network Thursday beginning at 6 p.m., Central time.