Will UL-Lafayette P Wyatt Marks go to MLB Draft after emergence as reliever?

Louisiana-Lafayette’s Wyatt Marks (31) pitches against LSU during a NCAA Super Regional game at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)(

Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Wyatt Marks started his career with the Ragin’ Cajuns playing at a very high level, but once he struggled to take the next step in his progression, coach Tony Robichaux decided to move the right-hander into a full-time bullpen role.

That move motivated Marks into becoming one of the top relief pitchers in the nation during 2017.

Marks, a former St. Thomas More standout, was named a first-team selection on Baseball America’s All-American team on Thursday after ending his junior campaign with a 2-1 record, seven saves and a 2.28 ERA on pitching 59.1 innings with 25 walks and 100 strikeouts–the most by a reliever in school history.

He ended the season ranking first in the nation in both strikeouts per nine innings (14.97) and hits allowed per nine innings (4.47).

Marks pitched one inning in his last appearance of the season during the team’s extra-inning loss against Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Marks came in to pitch relief during the eighth inning with the Ragin’ Cajuns leading, 6-1, and he struck out three of the four batters he faced before the Eagles came roaring back with a ninth-inning rally.

Marks now faces a tough decision because after his breakout season he’s projected as a 14th-round pick going into next week’s MLB Draft, according to DraftSite.com, and he may end up going even higher with his startling strikeout numbers.

It’s still unclear if Marks will decide to forgo his senior season, but if he does return the Ragin’ Cajuns could potentially have one of the strongest bullpens in the Sun Belt Conference once again.

Marks and fellow junior Dylan Moore combined for 18 saves last season and only allowed 31 earned runs in 95.2 innings. If the team’s top starter and Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year Gunner Leger also returns to school, Louisiana-Lafayette may be able to make an argument for having one of the best pitching staffs in the nation next season.

Leger ended his junior season with a 10-2 record after pitching 91.1 innings and posted an impressive 1.97 ERA.

Leger was the top pitcher in the conference, but Marks still managed to end the year with the most strikeouts on the team despite pitching 32 less innings than the left-hander.

With Marks’ ability to make batters miss on a consistent basis, his best fit going forward may be to remain in a reliever role, but it’s also possible that he may want to come back to school and prove that he can be successful as a starter once again.

Much of his decision will likely center around where he goes in next week’s draft and how much a team is willing to pay in guaranteed money to lure him away from the college ranks. But if Louisiana-Lafayette can get him and the rest of its top pitchers to return, the Ragin’ Cajuns may be a dangerous team going into next season.

Wyatt Marks Breakdown

Position: Pitcher

Height, weight: 6-3, 195

Class: Junior

Previous drafts: Not Drafted

2017 stats: 2-1 record, 7 saves, 59.1 IP, 2.28 ERA, 25 BB, 100 SO

LeBron James days in Cleveland could be numbered when his contract expires after 2018 season.

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