2023 MLB Draft Stock Watch: Corner Infield Preview

Image credit: Yohandy Morales (By Richard Lewis/Miami)

It’s the third day of our 2023 draft position previews, and fittingly for the No. 3 spot in the lineup, we have reached corner infielders. 

The power position of the diamond, both first basemen and third basemen were responsible for the most offensive firepower in MLB in 2022 (not counting designated hitters), with an overall wRC+ of 107 and 102, respectively.

Playing a corner position at the highest level means there’s a lot of pressure on your bat. There’s more competition at third base and first base, given the simple fact that more players are able to play those positions at a league-average or better level, so the offensive bar is raised.

Old school tool profiles for the position continue to hold up. As opposed to all four up-the-middle defensive positions (catcher, shortstop, second base and center field), fielding is not among the top-two most valuable tools for either third base or first base.

What are the top two? Power and hitting. 

Put them in whichever order you want, but big league scouts are looking for big league hitters, first and foremost, when scouting the corner infield positions. Being a slick fielder can elevate you from a solid everyday type to an all-star-caliber prospect, but if you’re all glove and no bat at a corner infield position—there are going to be tough days ahead for you. 

If middle infield is the sizzle position of baseball, corner infield is the steak.

At the outset of the 2023 season, the corner infield crop for the current draft class looks solid. There are a number of well-rounded first round talents at the top, though with no carrying prospect leading the way, and solid depth throughout the top 100 as well, both on the college and high school sides.

Below is an overview of the 2023 corner infield class as it stands today, with information on current top-100 prospects, other corner infielders to know and a 20-80 grade on the talent of the position relative to an average draft year. We’ll revisit these position previews at the end of the draft cycle and see if our preseason grade holds up or needs adjustment.  

Top drafted corner infielders of all time (by bWAR):

  1. Albert Pujols, 3B, Cardinals (1993, 13th round) — 101.6
  2. Cal Ripken Jr., 3B, Orioles (1978, 2nd round) — 95.9
  3. Jeff Bagwell, 3B, Red Sox (1989, 4th round) — 79.9
  4. Lou Whitaker, 3B, Tigers (1975, 5th round) — 75.1
  5. Frank Thomas, 1B, White Sox (1989, 1st round) — 73.8
  6. Scott Rolen, 3B, Phillies (1993, 2nd round) — 70.1
  7. Manny Ramirez, 3B, Indians (1991, 1st round) — 69.3
  8. Graig Nettles, 3B, Twins (1965, 4th round) — 68
  9. Dwight Evans, 3B, Red Sox (1969, 5th round) — 67.2
  10. Mark McGwire, 1B, A’s (1984, 1st round) — 62.1
  11. Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies (1995, 1st round) — 61.8
  12. Sal Bando, 3B, A’s (1965, 6th round) — 61.5
  13. Keith Hernandez, 1B, Cardinals (1971, 42nd round) — 60.3
  14. Mike Piazza, 1B, Dodgers (1988, 62nd round) — 59.5
  15. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs (2009, 8th round) — 58.5

Top drafted corner infielders of the bonus pool era:

  1. Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (2013, 1st round) — 29.2
  2. Matt Chapman, 3B, A’s (2014, 1st round) — 26.8
  3. Matt Olson, 1B, A’s (2012, supp. 1st round) — 21.6
  4. Cody Bellinger, 1B, Dodgers (2013, 4th round) — 17.8
  5. Max Muncy, 1B, A’s (2012, 5th round) — 17.3
  6. Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (2012, supp. 1st round) — 14.7
  7. Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets (2016, 2nd round) — 14.2
  8. Paul DeJong, 3B, Cardinals (2015, 4th round) — 13.3
  9. Austin Riley, 3B, Braves (2015, 1st round) — 12
  10. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (2014, 5th round) — 11.1

Number of top 100-ranked corner infielders in each draft class (bonus pool era):

  • 2012: 13
  • 2013: 15
  • 2014: 12
  • 2015: 6
  • 2016: 9
  • 2017: 14
  • 2018: 11
  • 2019: 15
  • 2020: 9
  • 2021: 6
  • 2022: 11
  • 2023: 11

2023 Top 100 Corner Infielders:

10. Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian

Taylor has one of the sharpest batting eye’s in the class, with a 19.1% walk rate for his career at TCU, as well as solid raw power from the left side. His advanced hitting approach and overall contact ability should make him a well-rounded hitter with few holes—particularly if he starts showing more power to the opposite field.

16. Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla.

Miller has electric bat speed and a huge arm that fits perfectly at the hot corner. He has a lengthy track record as a performer with Team USA’s national teams, and in terms of hit and power combinations, it’s hard to find a prep player better in this class.


18. Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami

Morales was a toolshed dating back to his high school days, and he’s added more strength on a tall, 6-foot-4 frame in his time with Miami, which has translated into 29 home runs and 30 doubles in two seasons. He can be a bit of a free swinger at times, which leads to hot and cold streaks, but when he’s on he can carry a team offensively.

26. Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest

Wilken is a tall, physical slugger with a 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame and gigantic raw power that has earned double-plus grades. He can drive the ball out of any ballpark with ease and after hitting 17 home runs as a freshman he added 23 more as a sophomore in 2022.

34. Bryce Eldridge, RHP/1B, Madison (Va.) HS

Most scouts viewed Eldridge as a pitching prospect entering the summer, but Eldridge always showed an impressive swing from the left side before going ballistic with Team USA’s 18U National Team, where he led the club with three home runs and showed more pure hitting ability than evaluators expected to see. 

40. Jake Gelof, 3B, Virginia

The younger brother of former Virginia third baseman and second-rounder Zack Geof, Jake also mans the hot corner for the Cavaliers and turned in a breakout 2022 season, where he hit .377/.477/.764 with 21 home runs and 15 doubles. He’s a physical, righthanded hitter with a 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and a noisy swing that has worked for him thus far.

49. Tre’ Morgan, 1B, Louisiana State

Morgan has one of the most unique profiles in the 2023 class, as a tremendously athletic first baseman who probably moves as well or better than all the third basemen on this list. Because of that, he’s a terrific defender at a position that typically isn’t valued for defense, with less power (just 11 total home runs in two full seasons) than scouts would like to see, albeit with solid average and on-base numbers.

54. Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic

Schanuel made a name for himself in high school as a standout pure hitter, but had defensive questions. That remains the case for Schanuel after a few seasons with Florida Atlantic, as he’s hit .357/.462/.619 with 27 home runs and 28 doubles in two seasons, with more walks than strikeouts, but remains limited defensively. He has the requisite power to profile at first base if that’s the only position he can play.

81. Max Anderson, 3B, Nebraska

Anderson is a limited athlete who has played most of his innings at third base, but could be a quick-mover to first in pro ball. Still, he’s always hit since a breakout freshman season with Nebraska in 2021, where he slashed .332/.386/.500, and has continued to show solid average, on-base ability and power—both in the Big Ten and in wood bat leagues, including the Cape Cod League last summer.

90. Zach Wadas, 1B/OF, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz.

Wadas is a power-hitting prepster with a large, 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame and whippy bat speed that pairs with his impressive natural strength to give him huge raw power. When he is able to connect in-game, Wadas can hit towering, jaw-dropping home runs, but he needs to make more contact and improve his pitch-recognition to make the most of that power. He has played some outfield but might profile best as a tall target at first base.

100. George Wolkow, 3B/OF, Downers Grove (Ill.) North HS

Originally a member of the 2024 high school class, Wolkow reclassified to the 2023 class and is now one of the youngest players in the draft. He doesn’t turn 18 until January 2024 but he more than looks the part, with a massive 6-foot-7, 220-pound frame that still has room for strength. He should project for double-plus power and he has a big arm that could be an asset at third base if he sticks at the position.

Other Notable Corner Infielders: 

  • Mike Boeve, 3B, Nebraska-Omaha — Boeve was the 2022 Summit League Player of the Year after he hit .365/.491/.584 with eight home runs, 23 doubles and more walks (39) than strikeouts (29). He’s a standout pure hitter with a 91% contact rate during his first two years in college—and he also showed impressive zone control in the Cape Cod League in 2022.
  • Drew Bowser, 3B, Stanford — Bowser was a highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school. He made it to campus at Stanford and immediately impacted the team as a freshman and the team’s everyday third baseman. His strong hitting ability in the Pac-12 has never fully translated to the wood bat Cape Cod League, where he’s hit just .181/.278/.234 in 34 games.
  • Daniel Cuvet, 3B, St. Thomas Aquinas, Miami, Fla. — Cuvet has huge raw power and some scouts view him as having the best raw power in the prep class, with standout exit velocities and a strong and physical 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame. He’s solidly a power-over-hit offensive profile now who will need to improve his defense.
  • Garret Forrester, 1B, Oregon State — Forrester’s father, Gary, played a few seasons of minor league baseball and Garret himself should get the opportunity to at least do the same after posting a .318/.461/.488 slash line in his first two seasons with Oregon State. Forrester has a solid combination of pure hitting ability, all-fields power and quality zone control, with an 18.3% walk rate and a 16.4% strikeout rate for his career.
  • Carter Graham, 1B, Stanford — Graham was Stanford’s top power hitter in 2022. He hit 22 home runs, which led the Pac-12, and slashed .331/.399/.642, though that production didn’t translate to the Cape Cod League after the season.
  • CJ Kayfus, 1B, Miami — Kayfus has been Miami’s everyday first baseman since his freshman season and after a solid 2021 campaign, he exploded in 2022 and hit .366/.460/.525, though scouts will undoubtedly be looking to see him tap into more than eight home runs in 2023.
  • Cameron Kim, 3B, Norco (Calif.) HS — Kim had an excellent junior season and over the 2022 showcase circuit showed excellent feel for the barrel and consistently made hard contact. He has a lean, 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and showed impressive body control, footwork and defensive actions on the left side of the infield.
  • Jack Moss, 1B, Texas A&M — Moss began his career at Arizona State, but transferred to Texas A&M in 2022, where he took a step forward and hit .380/.437/.520 with six home runs and 18 doubles. Moss hits the ball hard and generally shows strong swing decisions.
  • Tre Phelps, 1B/3B, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga. — Phelps is old for the 2023 class and was originally part of the 2022 high school class, but he has impressive hand speed and a high-energy style of play that is endearing to teammates, coaches and scouts. He played a lot of first base over the 2022 showcase circuit and is an excellent defender with athleticism, body control and terrific footwork around the bag.
  • Brandon Winokur, 3B, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif. — Winokur is a large, 6-foot-5, 210-pound corner infielder with plus power potential and plenty of leverage with long levers at the plate, but swing-and-miss tendencies that come with them. He needs to refine his defensive game to stick at third base and could move to first in the future.

2023 Class Corner Infield Grade: 55

While there’s no corner infielder of the caliber of Spencer Torkelson or Kris Bryant topping the list, the 2023 class has four current players inside the first round range, with another (Bryce Eldridge) likely on the way on our next update. Beyond that, there’s plenty of depth at the position with college hitters with solid track records of both hitting and power, and some big-upside, higher-risk prep options as well.


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