Baseball America's draft content is powered by

2023 MLB Draft Stock Watch: 15 Midseason Up-Arrow Prospects To Know

Image credit: Kyle Karros (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

We’re solidly at the midway point of the college season and about halfway through the draft cycle for the spring season, with only three months before the 2023 draft takes place.

With that, let’s dive into a few players around the country who are trending up draft boards. 

Below are 15 players—six college and nine high school—with up arrows beside their names who now fit somewhere inside the top five rounds on talent. 

Players are listed with their current BA draft ranking, where applicable. 

Juaron Watts-Brown, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 33)

There have been a number of dominant pitching performances in the college ranks this season, but Watts-Brown has been one of the most consistent starters in the country. The timing for this particular piece isn’t ideal, as Watts-Brown hit a bit of a speed bump last weekend against Texas Christian—when he allowed a season-high five earned runs over five innings—but he still ranks near the top of the country in many statistical categories. His 73 strikeouts are tied for third behind only Louisiana State righthander Paul Skenes and Florida righthander Hurston Waldrep, and his 37.6% strikeout rate is good for ninth among Division I starters. Watts-Brown has posted a 3.30 ERA over 46.1 innings and has pitched at least six innings in five of eight starts. He’s averaged 92 mph and touched 95 with his fastball, and his slider has been dominant. The pitch has generated a 53% whiff rate, he’s thrown it for strikes 65% of the time and hitters are batting just .194/.250/.403 against it. He currently ranks as the No. 33 prospect on the board, but it’s hard to not see him as a solid first-rounder at this point. 

Cole Schoenwetter, RHP, San Marcos HS, Santa Barbara, Calif. (No. 85)

Schoenwetter showed a dominant fastball/curveball combination last summer when he pitched in the 90-94 mph range. He’s continued to show excellent arm talent this spring, with the fastball velocity ticking up into the 93-95 mph range more consistently and reaching as high as 98 mph. He has added a bit of power to the curveball at the top end of his velocity range—he has thrown the pitch up to 81-82 compared to topping out in the upper 70s with it last summer—and has a chance for a pair of plus pitches, with a developing changeup as well. Schoenwetter’s main question currently is how consistent he’ll be as a strike thrower. If a team believes he can find more consistency and command at the next level, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him bought out of a UC Santa Barbara commitment—a program that has produced six top-five round pitchers in the bonus pool era, including most notably RHP Shane Bieber in 2016.

George Lombard Jr., SS, Gulliver Prep, Miami (No. 89)

Lombard Jr. currently ranks as the No. 89 prospect on the draft board, solidly in the third round range, but it sounds like he’s ascending that range and moving closer to the supplemental first or second round. Last summer, Lombard Jr. showed improved running ability and this spring with Gulliver Prep he has reportedly been hitting the ball hard consistently, with plenty of national-level crosscheckers running in to see him. Through 16 games and 65 plate appearances, Lombard Jr. has hit .500 (26-for-52) with four home runs, 10 doubles, 13 walks and six strikeouts. He now has a fully well-rounded game with solid tools across the board, a good frame, professional bloodlines and he’s also young for the class. That checks plenty of boxes and puts him squarely in the mix with other high-upside prep shortstops including Colin Houck (Ga.), Arjun Nimmala (Fla.), Roch Cholowsky (Ariz.), Colt Emerson (Ohio) and Walker Martin (Colo.).

Alonzo Tredwell, RHP, UCLA (No. 102)

Tredwell made a name for himself as an underclassmen in high school, but he was plagued with injuries and didn’t pitch much during his final two high school seasons. That led him to campus at UCLA, where he has been a reliable starter for the Bruins after pitching in a full-time relief role in 2022. Through seven starts and 34 innings, Tredwell has posted a 3.44 ERA with a 28.8% strikeout rate and a 7.2% walk rate. He has a huge frame at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, but scouts have praised his ability to control his long levers and repeat his delivery, which has led to a strong 71% strike rate with his fastball. That pitch sits in the 92-93 mph range and touches 95, though it has a bit of sneak and deception, perhaps due to both solid riding life and extension. His breaking stuff has improved, and he’s generated misses with both a big-breaking curveball in the upper 70s and a low-80s slider at solid rates. He feels like a safe second-round pick at this point, depending on how teams view his medical.

Cole Foster, SS, Auburn (No. 175)

Area scouts loved Foster’s advanced game out of high school as a polished switch-hitter with a smooth defensive game, but he made it to campus at Auburn. He’s in the midst of a career year with the Tigers through his first 29 games in 2023, with a .355/.471/.509 slash line and more walks than strikeouts for the first time in his career. Despite that improved strikeout-to-walk rate, Foster’s overall miss rates are similar to his 2022 numbers, and his chase rates are higher. He’s been a more aggressive hitter, upping his swing percentage from 42% to 46% and to this point that approach has paid off for him. While he’s never tapped into double-digit home runs in his college career, some scouts think he has solid raw power—especially from the left side—in the tank and view him as a second- or third-rounder who can handle the middle infield and hit from both sides.

Blake Wolters, RHP, Mahomet-Seymour HS, Mahomet, Ill. (No. 182)

Wolters has made tremendous jump in velocity from last summer to this spring. About nine months ago, the 6-foot-4 righthander was pitching around 90-91 mph and touching 93. He wowed scouts early this year at Prep Baseball Report’s Super 60 showcase, where he showed a fastball in the 95-96 mph range that he actually located well. He has a smooth and deliberate delivery, with some length in his arm action and whippy arm speed as he delivers to the plate. In addition to showing improved velocity, Wolters showed a low-80s slider that had improved spin as well, around the 2,700 rpm range. It’s a potential plus offering. The Arizona commit has gone from unranked entering the season to a solid day two prospect and a potential top-five round pick. 

Andrew Pinckney, OF, Alabama (No. 206)

Pinckney is a standout athlete who has a chance for plus defense in both center field or right field, with plus arm strength that fits in a corner nicely, and he’s putting together his second .300-plus season this spring. After a solid 2022 year that saw him hit .303/.383/.500 with Alabama, Pinckney is doing more of the same in 2023, with a .331/.430/.517 slash line through 33 games. There is a decent amount of swing-and-miss in Pinckney’s game—he struck out at a 29% rate in the Cape Cod League last summer—and that’s remained the case this spring, but he has nearly doubled his walk rate year-over-year, going from 7.2% in 2022 to 13.3% in 2023. Pinckney has an excellent, 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame with a chance for plus raw power and should now fit in the top-five round range, given his tool set and developing offensive game. 

Hunter Owen, LHP, Vanderbilt (No. 210)

The 2023 class was noted for its weakness on the lefthanded pitching front entering the season, and Owen is one of the southpaws who seems to be taking advantage of that vacuum. Owen is a large, 6-foot-6, 261-pound lefthander who moved into a starting role this spring and has posted solid outings each weekend for the Commodores. His best start of the year came against Mississippi in the first weekend of SEC play, when he struck out 11 and walked just one in a complete game shutout. Through eight starts and 46 innings, Owen has posted a 3.33 ERA with a 27.4% strikeout rate and a 7.4% walk rate. He’s shown a complete four-pitch mix with a 93 mph fastball that has been up to 97, a mid-70s curveball, a mid-80s slider with a whiff rate over 40% that shows cutter shape at times and a mid-80s changeup. If he keeps this up, a top-three round selection seems likely.

Kyle Karros, 3B, UCLA (No. 241)

Karros has improved each season he’s been at UCLA after starting off slow in 2021, becoming one of the team’s most productive hitters in 2022, and taking another big step forward so far in the 2023 season. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound third baseman missed time with an ankle injury, but he got off to a scorching start and through 18 games has slashed .359/.444/.603 with 11 walks and 12 strikeouts. Karros is an advanced pure hitter who uses the entire field well, and has cut down his chase rates from a year ago, going from a 26% chase rate in 2022 to a 22% rate so far in 2023. He’s particularly done a good job laying off sliders out of the zone—which was an area of weakness in 2022. Scouts are still waiting for the power to show up in-game, but his home run/fly ball rate is up and he’s hitting the ball on the ground at a career-low 41% so far this spring. He’s a consistent third baseman with a good arm and the fact that his father, Eric, was a 14-year big leaguer won’t hurt his draft stock, either. He’s moving into day one consideration. 

Grant Gray, OF, Norco (Calif.) HS (No. 251)

Gray was unranked entering the season, then landed on our expanded top 300 list at No. 251 thanks to some early excitement about his athleticism and raw tools in Southern California. Gray has a football background and because of that he’s a bit further behind his Southern California peers in terms of baseball development, but scouts rave about his quick-twitch athleticism, speed, arm strength and actions—both at second base and in center field. He feels like a high-risk, high-reward player thanks to a lack of at-bats on the summer showcase circuit and just middling performance numbers this spring, but despite that his upside is still giving him a chance to get selected on the first day of the draft. Gray is committed to UCLA.

Cole Miller, RHP, Newbury Park (Calif.) HS (NR)

Miller is currently unranked on the draft board, but that’ll change on our next update. After pitching around 90 mph and touching 93 last summer, Miller has added more power to his game and ascended the ranks in Southern California—to the point where he’s viewed now as one of the better arms in the area. He has projectable starter traits with a large and physical 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame that looks like it could still add more good mass. His fastball has touched 96 mph this spring and he shows impressive boring life with the pitch, as well as flashes of a good slider and changeup—both pitches in the low 80s currently. Miller could be a tough sign as a UCLA commit who could blow up in three years, but he’s solidly in late day one or early day two range on talent. 

Cole Stokes, RHP, Redondo Union HS, Redondo Beach, Calif. (NR)

Stokes is an intriguing projection righthander out of Southern California. He has a multi-sport background as a basketball player and last summer showed a fastball up to 95 mph, but struggled with control and consistency as well. That’s still been the case for Stokes this spring in the control department, but he has tons of upside thanks to a plus body at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds and an arm that works incredibly easily despite a bit of funk and inversion in the arm action itself. For a team that believes it can help him get more direct to the plate, Stokes has exciting upside potential as he should more consistently pitch near the mid 90s with additional strength and has flashed a bit of bite with a low-80s slider as well. Stokes is committed to Oregon and could be a tough sign.  

Cade Belyeu, OF, Auburn (Ala.) HS (NR)

Belyeu wasn’t a famous name on the summer showcase circuit in 2022, but he’s been off to quite the spring season in Alabama. Through 20 games he’s hit .385/.522/.923 with seven home runs and nine doubles, with more walks than strikeouts and 13 stolen bases. Belyeu has a great frame at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and his lefthanded swing features plenty of bat speed and power, with an uphill path that’s geared for impact damage in the air. Scouts like his raw power and also cite plus running ability, which gives him a solid power/speed foundation as a lefthanded-hitting outfielder who has a chance to stick in center. He’s an Auburn commit, but is trending toward an early day two selection. 

Camden Sos, 3B, Granite Hills HS, El Cajon, Calif. (NR)

Like Belyeu, Sos is another prep hitter who wasn’t on the national radar entering the season but has gotten plenty of helium with a loud spring in Southern California. He’s the leading hitter on his Granite Hills High team with a .441 average through 11 games, and scouts have been impressed with his athleticism, arm strength and power potential. He has a chance for 55-grade arm strength and power as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame and his hitting ability has improved since a year ago as well. He needs to improve his footwork and approach at the plate, but he has the tools to be a good defensive third baseman with more refinement. Sos is committed to Texas Christian. 

Cameron Flukey, RHP, Egg Harbor Township (N.J.) HS (NR)

Flukey showed a swing-and-miss fastball last summer at the Area Code Games. At the time he was sitting in the 89-92 mph range and touching 93, but the pitch jumped on hitters and proved to be overwhelming, and he also flashed a solid breaking ball and a mid-80s split change. Flukey has been a massive up-arrow name for Northeastern scouts this spring with improved pure stuff and excellent performance. He struck out 27 batters and walked just two over his first three outings and 12 innings, and his fastball has reportedly been into the upper 90s. Flukey has plenty of physical projection remaining, with a lean, 6-foot-6, 185-pound frame. Despite his long levers and long arm action, he’s done a reasonable job repeating his mechanics and filling up the zone with his pitches. Flukey is committed to Coastal Carolina but is now perhaps the top prep prospect in New Jersey. 

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone