The 2023 MLB Draft is just days away as the College World Series saw the LSU Tigers crowned as National Champions, defeating the Florida Gator in three games. Both teams have players who will get drafted early on in the draft that kicks off from Seattle on July 9 during MLB All-Star Week. With that in mind, time for another mock draft. Check out our site wide mock draft, as well. 

1. Pittsburgh Pirates Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU

When it looked like Dylan Crews was going to be locked into getting drafted first overall, along came Skenes to steal some of his teammate’s thunder. Not that Crews fell off at all, but Skenes was just that dominant for the Tigers across SEC play and straight through into the College World Series. Coming off his dominant outing in the semifinals against Wake Forest, the right-hander is set to be drafted either first or second overall. Over 19 games, Skenes posted a 1.69 ERA while striking out 209 and walking just 20 batters over 122 2/3 innings. 

After a hot start, the Pirates have come back down to Earth. Nonetheless, their future is bright and they have a lot of promise already in their system. Whichever of the two LSU studs they draft won’t be a wrong choice. They have drafted position players in the first round the last three drafts – second baseman Termarr Johnson, catcher Henry Davis, and infielder Nick Gonzales. Davis and Gonzales both made their debuts this year. Skenes adds to the pitching in their system which is currently led by right-hander Quinn Priester, who they drafted in the first round in 2019 out of Cary-Grove (IL) High School. Priester is at Triple-A, where their 2023 second-round pick Hunter Barco also presides. 

2. Washington Nationals – Dylan Crews, OF, LSU

The Nationals are very happy to snag Crews to add him to their already stacked system. Their current top three prospects are outfielders – James Wood, Robert Hassell III and Elijah Green. Wood and Hassell were both pieces to the massive haul Washington received from San Diego for Juan Soto while Green was their first rounder in last year’s draft. As talented as the aforementioned players are, Crews is that much more talented and would immediately be their top prospect. He is a strong asset in center field, despite some scouts questioning if he will stick there.

Exhibit A: 

On top of that, he is a 70-grade hitter with plus speed and plus power. Through 71 games this season, Crews slashed .426/.567/.713 while smacking 18 bombs and walking more (71) than he struck out (46). In fact, he had more walks (152) than strikeouts (146) in his entire college career. 

3. Detroit Tigers – Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida

The top three picks in the draft are pretty much set, it’s just a matter of what order they come in. After taking Jace Jung out of Texas Tech in the first round last year, the Tigers have the ability to add to their pretty shallow outfield depth in the system. Langford has five-tool potential and while there are questions on whether he will stick in center field, the talent is there to be an impact at whatever outfield spot he lands. 

Langford has plus-plus raw power on top of having a strong plate approach. He has been able to limit the strikeouts (89) while taking a good amount of walks (92) in his career. Even for a strong specimen built for power, the Gator outfielder has at least above-average speed which will help him to stick in center. 

4. Texas Rangers – Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS

The first prepster to be taken is between Jenkins and Max Clark, who have gone back and forth in mocks and draft boards over the last few months. Jenkins has five-tool potential and profiles well as a power hitting right fielder. He has the instincts and reads to have a chance to stick in center but has the arm strength and power stroke built for right field. His swing is beautiful to watch and he has double-plus raw power to all fields while consistently making hard contact. 

The Rangers currently have former Tennessee prep outfielder Evan Carter as their top prospect, who is having a solid season down in Double-A. Adding a prep prospect like Jenkins to the system would make for a pretty solid top two hitting prospects to have at your disposal. 

5. Minnesota Twins – Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest

This could be the spot for Clark, but my money is on the Twins going for an arm here. Lowder has quickly put himself in the conversation for one of the top pitchers in the entire draft. Sporting a nasty changeup which sits in the low-80s with fade, he has a good feel for pitching and is uber-competitive. Lowder dominated the powerhouse LSU offense in the CWS semifinals – going seven shutout and fighting tooth and nail with Skenes. 

The Twins have some solid pitching prospects, but none are at the level of Lowder at the moment. It seems Minnesota frequently struggles to develop quality pitching and with Lowder, they would get an arm who could break their rotation by 2026. 

6. Oakland Athletics – Kyle Teel, C, Virginia

The top catcher in the draft, Teel was considered a top prospect coming out of high school before removing his name for consideration in the pandemic-shortened 2020 Draft. The Virginia product was a full-time starter from the minute he arrive in Charlottesville. The left-handed hitting catcher has strong hit and power tools while also sporting an advanced approach at the plate. Teel smacked a career-high 13 homers this past season and also hit over .400. He recorded 25 doubles and slugged an impressive .655. 

Oakland drafted a catcher in the first round last year as well, in the form of Daniel Susac. It never hurts to beef up the catching depth, and Teel has seen time in the outfield so he could handle a position move if that were to happen. 

7. Cincinnati Reds – Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon

Wilson has a great plate approach, as he consistently finds the barrel of the bat and has low strikeout numbers. He struck out just 31 times in 620 career at-bats at Grand Canyon, while hitting over .400 and slugging .635. The Reds have strong depth already at shortstop – Rookie of the Year candidate Elly De La Cruz; Noeveli Marte and Edwin Arroyo, both of whom they acquired in the Luis Castillo trade last year. Wilson has the tools to stick at shortstop and perhaps has the highest ceiling with the bat than any of the aforementioned shortstops.

8. Kansas City Royals – Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Indiana) HS

The Royals are lucky to snag Clark here, as he is not too far behind Jenkins as the top prepster in this class.The Vanderbilt commit sports four plus tools and if he adds in-game power could be a five-tool player. The power should come naturally, anyway, as he already has a very strong plate approach and has tremendous bat speed. Clark is also a certain center fielder as he has a very strong arm, while having good reads and routes in the outfield. The Royals will be able to continue developing Gavin Cross, their first rounder in 2022. Adding Clark allows them to move Cross back to right field – his more natural position. 

9. Colorado Rockies – Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida

Although it was a struggle in Game 3 of the College World Series Final against LSU, Waldrep still had a solid season. He had a masterful 12-strikeout performance in the NCAA Regionals, then a 13-strikeout performance in the Super Regionals and another 12-strikeout game in the College World Series. 

A transfer from Southern Miss, Waldrep has a legitimate three-pitch mix, with all three flashing plus and having a chance to be at least above average. He has struggled with his command and control at times, evidenced in his 57 walks in 101 2/3 innings this past season. But that can be ironed out and he has the pure stuff to develop well. The Rockies always need pitching and Waldrep has been able to limit the long ball, an important asset for pitching in Colorado. 

10. Miami Marlins – Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS (FL)

A former cricket player, Nimmala is a versatile and agile infielder who brings a lot to the table defensively, at the plate, and on the basepaths. The Florida prepster has incredible offensive upside and is very poised for his young age. He shows patience at the dish and doesn’t get cheated, with the ability to drive the ball to all fields.

The Marlins can develop Nimmala alongside Jacob Berry, who was their first-round pick last year. They can be a dynamic left side of the infield for Miami in the future. 

11. Los Angeles Angels – Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee

Once viewed as the top pitching prospect in this class – even in some cases the top prospect overall – Dollander struggled in the 2023 season to fall off from that ranking. Despite that, the former Tennessee right-hander still has a lot of talent and stuff to not fall too far down the first round. Angels and needing pitching is one of the most expected things to see happen going into any MLB Draft or offseason.

Dollander has the stuff and potential as a frontline starter while the Angels will most likely see ace Shohei Ohtani on another MLB team by next season. No one is going to be able to replace the unicorn talent of Ohtani, but the Angels can continue to try and add as much pitching as they can in hopes at least some of them develop into the ace level pitchers they need.  

12. Arizona Diamondbacks – Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss
13. Chicago Cubs – Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford
14. Boston Red Sox – Matt Shaw, 2B/3B, Maryland
15. Chicago White Sox – Aidan Miller, 3B, JW Mitchell HS
16. San Francisco Giants – Enrique Bradfield, Jr., OF, Vanderbilt
17. Baltimore Orioles – Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS
18. Milwaukee Brewers – Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
19. Tampa Bay Rays – Bryce Eldridge, 1B/OF/RHP, James Madison HS
20. Toronto Blue Jays – Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian
21. St. Louis Cardinals – Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
22. Seattle Mariners – Chase Davis, OF, Arizona
23. Cleveland Guardians – Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton
24. Atlanta Braves – Nolan Schanuel, IF/OF, Florida Atlantic
25. San Diego Padres – Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy
26. New York Yankees – Dillon Head, OF, Homewood Flossmoor HS
27. Philadelphia Phillies – Kevin McGonigle, Monsignor Bonner HS
28. Houston Astros – Juaron Watts-Brown, RHP, Oklahoma State

Prospect Promotion Incentive
29. Seattle Mariners (Julio Rodriguez ROY) – Walker Martin, SS, Eaton
Competitive Balance Round A
30. Seattle Mariners – Cade Kuehler, RHP, Campbell
31. Tampa Bay Rays – Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida
32. New York Mets – Colt Emerson, SS, John Glenn
33. Milwaukee Brewers – Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech
34. Minnesota Twins – LuJames Groover III, INF, NC State
35. Miami Marlins – Raffaele Velazquez, C/1B/OF, Huntington Beach
36. Los Angeles Dodgers – Colin Houck, SS, Parkview
37. Detroit Tigers – Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami
38. Cincinnati Reds – Tanner Witt, RHP, Texas
39. Oakland Athletics – Travis Sykora, RHP, Round Rock

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