2023 MLB Draft Stock Watch: Lefthanded Pitcher Preview

Image credit: Wyatt Crowell (Brian Westerholt/Sports On Film)

After finishing our position-by-position preview of the hitters in the 2023 draft class, today we will start our overview of the pitching talent in the class, beginning with lefthanders. 

The age old saying that you can never have enough pitching is certainly true, and the total number of pitchers that teams select in the draft is proof of that. In the entire history of the draft, 49% of the players selected have been pitchers, which makes sense given the makeup of big league rosters. 

Lefthanders are particularly valuable, since just 10-12% of the population is lefthanded naturally. Given the commodity of being a lefthanded pitcher, teams select southpaw arms at a high rate, with just under a third of all pitchers selected throwing from the left side.

Below is an overview of the 2023 lefthanded pitching class as it stands today, with information on current top 100 prospects, other lefthanded pitchers 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 lefthanded pitchers of all time (by bWAR): 

  1. Randy Johnson, Expos (1985, 2nd round) — 101.1
  2. Tom Glavine, Braves (1984, 2nd round) — 80.7
  3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (2006, 1st round) — 75.9
  4. CC Sabathia, Indians (1998, 1st round) — 62.3
  5. Andy Pettitte, Yankees (1990, 22nd round) — 60.2
  6. Mark Buehrle, White Sox (1998, 38th round) — 59.1
  7. Cole Hamels, Phillies (2002, 1st round) — 59
  8. Frank Tanana, Angels (1971, 1st round) — 57.1
  9. David Wells, Blue Jays (1982, 2nd round) — 53.5
  10. Kenny Rogers, Rangers (1982, 39th round) — 50.5
  11. Mark Langston, Mariners (1981, 2nd round) — 50.1
  12. Jamie Moyer, Cubs (1984, 6th round) — 49.8
  13. Jimmy Key, Blue Jays (1982, 3rd round) — 48.9
  14. Ron Guidry, Yankees (1971, 3rd round) — 47.8
  15. Frank Viola, Twins (1981, 2nd round) — 47

Top drafted lefthanded pitchers of the bonus pool era (2012-now):

  1. Max Fried, Padres (2012, 1st round) — 18.1
  2. Carlos Rodon, White Sox (2014, 1st round) — 16.6
  3. Kyle Freeland, Rockies (2014, 1st round) — 16.4
  4. Alex Wood, Braves (2012, 2nd round) — 13
  5. Sean Manaea, Royals (2013, 1st round) — 11.6
  6. Josh Hader, Orioles (2012, 19th round) — 9.5
  7. John Means, Orioles (2014, 11th round) — 9.3
  8. Matthew Boyd, Blue Jays (2013, 6th round) — 9.3
  9. Marco Gonzales, Cardinals (2013, 1st round) — 9
  10. Jordan Montgomery, Yankees (2014, 4th) — 8.3 

Number of top 100-ranked lefthanded pitchers in each draft class (bonus pool era) 

  • 2012: 9
  • 2013: 18
  • 2014: 20
  • 2015: 12
  • 2016: 16
  • 2017: 11
  • 2018: 9
  • 2019: 13
  • 2020: 13
  • 2021: 14
  • 2022: 16
  • 2023: 8

2023 Top 100 Lefthanded Pitchers:

18. Thomas White, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

White has been a prominent prospect for several years after gaining notoriety as an underclassman. He has an elite pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds and a buttery smooth delivery and effortless arm action, with a fastball that gets up into the mid 90s consistently and a pair of quality breaking balls. 

45. Adam Hachman, Timberland HS, Wentzville, Mo. 

Hachman has outstanding arm speed and some of the best pure arm talent in the class, with a high-spin, riding fastball that has been up to 98 mph. His breaking ball has power potential as well and he has flashed a changeup, but his control needs to improve.

49. Grayson Hitt, Alabama 

The top southpaw in the college class, Hitt was a big riser throughout the fall of 2022 thanks to stuff that took a jump and he went from sitting in the low 90s during the spring to regularly sitting with mid-90s heat. He has a lean frame and easy arm action as well, making him a still-projectable college prospect. 

50. Wyatt Crowell, Florida State 

Crowell has been a lockdown reliever for Florida State and uses a sinking fastball to generate a ton of ground balls, while throwing a mid-80s slider that generated nearly a 50% miss rate in 2022. If he maintains that sort of stuff and shows an ability to start this spring, he should move further up boards. 

68. Alexander Clemmey, Bishop Hendricken HS, Warwick, R.I. 

Clemmey creates an uncomfortable at-bat thanks to a 6-foot-5 frame, a herky-jerky delivery with plenty of moving parts and a powerful fastball that can get up to the 96-97 mph range. His below-average control only adds to the unease for hitters, though he’ll need to sharpen it to profile safely as a starter. 

89. Jaden Woods, Georgia 

Woods is a highly athletic pitcher who moves with ease and power on the mound, and he took a step forward with both his fastball and breaking ball control during the 2022 summer. That improved control should help him transition from a reliever to a starter and he’s also flashed a solid changeup that could give him a solid three-pitch mix. 


93. Ross Dunn, Arizona State

Dunn has shown big stuff and shaky control so far in his college career, but moved from the bullpen to a starting role with Florida State during the 2022 season. He pitched with Team USA during the summer and announced his transfer to Arizona State for the 2023 season, where he will try to lower his walks and make the most of a solid fastball/slider/changeup combination. 

94. Cameron Johnson, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.

Johnson is a big and powerful, low-slot lefthander who has a lot of deception and solid stuff to go with it. His fastball sits in the 90s and has touched 96-97 mph at peak with plenty of running life, and he has flashed a sweeping breaking ball that has tons of spin and depth.

100. Matthew Dallas, Briarcrest Christian HS, Eads, Tenn.

Dallas is a projection lefthander with a tall and lanky frame at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds. He has shown good body control for his size and throws a fastball that sits around 90 mph now, with feel to spot the pitch up and down, as well as side to side, and also shows feel for a curveball and changeup. 

Other Notable Lefthanded Pitchers:

  • Magdiel Cotto, Kentucky — Cotto has huge stuff from the left side, including a fastball that regularly gets into the mid 90s, a tight-breaking slider and a tumbling changeup. He showed improved control in the Cape Cod League in 2022, but his spring performance and control are spotty.
  • Blake Dickerson, Ocean Lakes HS, Virginia Beach, Va. — Dickerson is a highly projectable lefty with a 6-foot-6 frame, a fastball that sits around 90 mph and a sharp breaking ball that could be plus in the future with more power.
  • Hunter Dietz, Calvary Christian HS, Clearwater, Fla. — Dietz should help form one of the most talented high school pitching staffs in the country at Calvary Christian High in Clearwater, Fla. this spring and pairs a massive frame with a smooth delivery and a fastball that can touch 94 mph. 
  • Wes Mendes, Tampa Jesuit HS, Fla. — Mendes has been a two-way player in high school and the athleticism he shows as an outfielder translates to the mound, where he throws a riding fastball in the low 90s that generates tons of whiffs up in the zone. 
  • Justin Leguernic, Half Hollow Hills West HS, Dix Hills, N.Y. — Leguernic’s size, handedness, slot and pitch profile gives him some shades of Nate Savino and Hunter Barco in high school, though he was inconsistent at times during the 2022 summer. At his best, Leguernic has a running fastball, slider and changeup that are difficult for hitters to barrel up. 
  • Ethan McElvain, Nolensville (Tenn.) HS — McElvain has a frame you can dream on, at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, with plenty of arm speed that comes with a bit of effort. His fastball has touched 95 and he’s flashed a two-plane breaking ball in the mid 70s, as well as a mid-80s changeup. 
  • Ryan Bruno, Stanford — Bruno has significant arm talent, which he has showcased since his high school days, but is still figuring out how to rein in his stuff. His fastball gets up to 97 with great vertical riding life and he pairs it with a mid-80s changeup that misses tons of bats. 
  • Colton Hartman, Lebanon (Ohio) HS — Hartman has a workhorse frame and now physicality that speaks to his talent as a high school football player, though the violence in his delivery could add some reliever risk. He’s been up to 94 with a mid-70s curveball that needs more sharp bite and a low-80s, fading changeup. 
  • Hunter Hollan, Arkansas — Hollan pitched with San Jacinto (Texas) JC in 2022, but transferred to Arkansas for the 2023 season and scouts were impressed with what he showed during the fall. He pitches in the mid 90s and has shown a pair of breaking balls and a mid-80s changeup that gives him a solid four-pitch mix.
  • Jake Brown, Sulpher (La.) HS — Brown is one of the most consistent pure pitchers in the 2023 class, with a smooth, easy and repeatable delivery and a solid three-pitch mix that includes a fastball, slider and changeup. There’s nothing plus here in terms of stuff, but he looks like a high-probability starter.

2023 Class Lefthanded Pitcher Grade: 30

There have been at least three lefthanded pitchers selected in the first round in each year of the bonus pool era, but currently just one lefthanded pitcher ranks inside the top 40. The eight lefthanders currently ranked among the top 100 would represent an all-time low for bonus-pool era lefthander rankings if it holds on draft day. There is plenty of size and stuff in this class, but there’s a real absence of polished starter profiles with track record compared to a typical year.


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