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2023 MLB Mock Draft Version 2.0

We’re two months out from the 2023 draft so it’s time for our second iteration of the 2023 mock draft.

At this stage in the calendar, there seems to be a consensus group of five players leading the 2023 class, and a huge mess of split-camp and polarizing players that could fall into many different landing spots depending on late-season performance and organizational philosophy. 

If you don’t have access to Dylan Crews, Paul Skenes, Walker Jenkins, Wyatt Langford, or Max Clark—good luck! 

With the college regular season winding down, how players finish the season and perform in the postseason will be critical to their draft stock.

Throughout this mock you’ll see a number of players who have a wide range of potential outcomes. I’ve flagged the most prominent of those players in the write ups, but it’s probably worth emphasizing that outside of the first handful of players, everyone’s range of outcomes is always a bit wider than what we actually think it is.

That’s a long way of saying no one expected Kumar Rocker to be the No. 3 overall pick in 2022 even on draft day. So take that and compound it with the fact that we still have plenty of time for things to change and coalesce—if they ever do.

As one high-ranking scout said recently: 

“We like that top five. It starts getting a little hairy in the 6-12 range. We are looking for some guys to jump up there and grab the reins. I would say the teams picking 6-29 are all kind of trying to figure out what’s going on and who to go back and see.

“One team’s flavor could be very different from another … There are a lot of split camps and org philosophies. You have a bit of everything. Don’t be surprised to see this mock draft look like total shambles.

The emphasis is mine. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Let’s dive in:


1. Pirates — Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State

The 2023 draft is feeling like one where the top four or five teams shouldn’t mess around too much and simply take one of the elite talents they have available. Crews has done everything expected of him throughout his LSU career and then some, and while he’s no longer flirting with a .500 season, he has either gotten a hit or a walk in all 48 games this season. He’s hitting .457/.607/.790 with 13 home runs, 13 doubles and has a career-low 11.2% strikeout rate and career-high 22.8% walk rate. Crews offers both safety and all-star upside. That’s what you want in a No. 1 overall pick.

2. Nationals — Paul Skenes, RHP, Louisiana State

Let’s make draft history with a 1-2 LSU punch to get things started. Given the offensive environment in college baseball there’s a fairly easy case to be made that the separation from Skenes and the next best pitcher is more significant than the separation from Crews and whoever you think is the next best hitter. The only thing that’s prevented Skenes from throwing six-plus innings this season is the weather, and even in a shortened three-inning game against South Carolina in early April he still managed eight strikeouts. Outside of that game, Skenes is averaging 6.1 innings with 12 strikeouts per game. He’s thrown 72.2 innings and still somehow has a strikeout rate over 50%, and the gap between him and the No. 2 pitcher in the country in strikeouts is 32. 

3. Tigers — Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS, Southport, N.C.

Jenkins has wowed scouts all spring and put himself in a position to be the first high school player selected. He’s been hitting for average and power, he has shown better run times and he is also showing that the center field defense is a real possibility. It’s a stellar tool set across the board with one of the prettiest swings in the class and he’s gotten significant heat among all the top teams in the draft. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him go higher than No. 3.

4. Rangers — Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida

In a universe where Crews was drafted out of high school, Langford would be a fairly compelling 1-1 candidate. Despite how impressive Crews has been this spring I think it’s worth reiterating that Langford is fairly similar in terms of tool set, athleticism and production. Langford is hitting .399/.538/.784 with 12 home runs and 15 doubles and even his 21.1% walk rate and 13.1% strikeout rate is similar to what Crews has done—in the same conference. The drop off in perceived talent at this spot is slim to nonexistent compared to the first three picks so it seems like a solid year to be picking No. 4. And perhaps a college timeline would be better for the Rangers in this spot as well.

5. Twins — Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Ind.) Community HS

Clark continues to be solidly mixed into the top tier of players in the 2023 class, though his name does seem to be more toward the back of this group than the front of it. It’s easier to be critical of Clark’s lack of impact than all four of the players off the board in front of him, but he has a well-rounded tool set and is also the easiest center field projection of the top-tier outfielders.

6. A’s — Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon

In some ways Wilson has a similar profile to Clark, but out of the college demographic. There are some questions about overall impact and upside, but there’s also a feeling of safety here thanks to his sure-handed defensive ability at shortstop and pure bat-to-ball skills that are hard to top in this draft class. Sure, he’s only hit five home runs, but he’s slashing .427/.475/.682 with 17 doubles and his usual microscopic 2.8% strikeout rate. That’s just five strikeouts in 179 plate appearances. His overall miss rate is just 7% and his in-zone miss rate is even more remarkable at only 2%—or four in-zone whiffs the entire season.

7. Reds — Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee

There’s no doubt Dollander has slipped this spring. He simply hasn’t been the same pitcher in 2023 that he was in 2022. The stuff isn’t as crisp. The command isn’t as precise. His walk rate has doubled from 4.2% to 8.5%. The slider isn’t getting as many whiffs and the fastball shape looks a bit worse than a year ago. Whether Dollander is able to finish strong and cement himself among the top tier of players in the next few weeks is one of the bigger question marks in the draft class. Scouting departments will be poring over all of Dollander’s film and data in the next few months to see if his performance is something that will just be a quick and minor fix in pro ball to get him back on track or something more concerning—I’m betting on the former, which makes the Reds the beneficiary here with the seventh overall pick. 

8. Royals — Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest

Lowder has trended in the opposite direction of Dollander this spring by simply going out and posting each week. In the non-Skenes human universe of pitchers he’s been as consistent as you can get. He’s thrown at least five innings in 11 of his 12 starts and has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts—with four runs allowed against Duke and three runs allowed against North Carolina State. He’s out-performed his peripherals at a homer-friendly home park—perhaps thanks to a 55% groundball rate—and the always strong strike thrower is looking at a career-low walk rate of 5.4% to go with a career-best 30.3% strikeout rate. There’s not a lot of projection you have to do on Lowder to see him as a solid big league starter.

9. Rockies — Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi

Gonzalez is consistently lumped with Jacob Wilson as one of the first prospects who comes up once you get out of the top tier of five (or six, if you want to include Dollander) players. Gonzalez has been a tremendously consistent offensive player his entire career, and his 2023 season is looking more like his breakout freshman season than his 2022 season where he got off to a bit of a slow start. He’s hitting .330/.447/.581 with nine home runs and 18 doubles and he has a chance to finish his career with more walks than strikeouts in each season. It’s a lefthanded-hitting shortstop profile with zone control, on-base skills and raw power—though the swing is admittedly funky and there’s a chance he moves off shortstop in pro ball.

10. Marlins — Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS, Portland, Ore.

Mick Abel pure stuff with Andrew Painter touch and feel? That’s the dream outcome for Meyer, who has established himself as the top righthanded pitching prospect in the high school class and consistently looked like a top-10 talent this spring. Whether or not he goes among the top 10 picks is still a question, as the industry typically fades this demographic as we get close to the draft, but he has better feel to land his stuff than Abel at the same time, and while Painter developed a dastardly slider in pro ball, Meyer’s wipeout slider now is better than Painter’s at the same time. This pairing of elite arm talent with an organization that has done a great job developing arms is exciting.

11. Angels — Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt

We get to one of the first of many polarizing profiles in the middle of the first round in Bradfield. Two years ago Bradfield’s skill set might have been viewed more critically, but the game has changed thanks to some progressive rules changes and Bradfield has the 80-grade speed to absolutely abuse them. He’s a true burner who has swiped 124 bags at a 92% success rate. It’s easy to forgive his shortcomings in the raw power department when his singles will become doubles in short order after he gets on base—as well as the fact that he’s a locked and loaded plus-plus center fielder who will earn 80 grades for his work with the glove.

12. D-backs — Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida

Why would a guy with a 5.07 ERA be selected with the 12th overall pick you ask? Well, because he has filthy stuff, that’s why. Sure, Waldrep has continued to miss the zone with his entire arsenal at a concerning rate (he currently has a career-high 13.7% walk rate) but the dude misses bats. He’s third in the country with 102 strikeouts and he’s eighth with a 35.1% strikeout rate. You could give him four plus pitches while being conservative, while also noting his lightning-quick arm speed. Shane McClanahan also didn’t throw strikes in college … until he did in pro ball. Now he’s one of the best pitchers in the big leagues. Arizona doesn’t have the same track record of fixing control that Tampa Bay does, but the upside here is exciting.

13. Cubs — Kyle Teel, C, Virginia

The clear-cut best college catcher in the class has been on a rampage all season. He’s hitting .423/.482/.665 with nine home runs and 20 doubles and he has lowered his strikeout rate to 9.2%—though he was never a huge strikeout guy in the first place. It’s an excellent foundation of athleticism with plus arm strength who should benefit from professional catching development. The swing won’t be for everyone, as it’s full of violence and effort, and his approach might need to be toned down in pro ball, but Teel should be the beneficiary of a down catching class and he’s played his way into the middle of the first round.

14. Red Sox — Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

How about a hometown selection here for the Red Sox instead of another trip out West for a prep shortstop? White has garnered a lot of attention in recent weeks as high-level scouts have run through the Northeast to check in on a number of talented arms, and White is getting real attention among the top 10 as well. He has more control questions than Meyer, but he also has the benefit of throwing a mid-90s fastball from the left side, with a real changeup and a breaking ball that is making progress this spring.

15. White Sox — Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami

Morales is one of the most polarizing players in the class. Some teams love his athleticism and raw power and will point to the fact that he’s performed each year with Miami. So far this spring he’s hitting .390/.460/.651 with 11 home runs and 12 doubles. Teams more pessimistic are likely lower on his defensive play at third base and also wonder about both his swing decisions and how the length of his levers will impact his bat-to-ball skills in pro ball—his easy power does come with some swing and miss. Perhaps the White Sox are a team that can tolerate that risk for the potential upside it comes with. At the moment this feels like the higher end of outcomes for Morales.

16. Giants — Tommy Troy, 2B, Stanford

Troy is the polar opposite of Morales in some ways. He doesn’t have insane raw power or physicality that jumps out immediately, but he’s a solid player who does everything well and might get to an above-average hit tool. He runs well, plays solid defense at a few positions and is proving his hitting chops this spring. He’s slashing .377/.464/.665 with a career-low 13.4% strikeout rate.

17. Orioles — Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS, Dover, Fla.

The polarizing profiles aren’t limited to the college demographic. Nimmala gets reviews anywhere from the top half of the first round to the early second. Risk tolerance and how much a team values his extreme youth will play decisive roles in his landing spot in July. Baltimore has done an excellent job with hitting development, and could be a nice pairing with Nimmala—who has lightning hands and a quick turn from the right side, but still has some refinements that might need to be made.

18. Brewers — Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland

Shaw started the season slow but has been on a rampage in recent weeks. In Big Ten play, he is hitting .438/.543/.904 with 10 home runs, 14 walks and 12 strikeouts. His overall season line is also the best of his career, with a .363/.480/.755 line that features 20 home runs and 18 doubles. He’s most likely not a shortstop in pro ball, but if he’s playing second base and hitting for this sort of power no one is going to care too much. He’s got speed as well and has gone 15-for-16 in stolen base attempts this spring. This feels like one of the lowest potential outcomes for Shaw at this point—he could easily be off the board much closer to the No. 10 overall pick.

19. Rays — Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS

It sounds like scouts have been encouraged with Mitchell each time they’ve gone into Texas to see him. He has a lot of power from the left side, has a cannon arm and is sounding like a player who goes off the board among the top 20 picks. This is as much an attempt to get him off the board in that range than any specific tie to the Rays.

20. Blue Jays — Kevin McGonigle, SS, Monsignor Bonner HS, Drexel Hill, Pa.

McGonigle could make a lot of sense for Toronto and he especially fits in this spot after seeing Cole Young go to the Mariners with the 21st overall pick a year ago. The two share a lot in common and while McGonigle might have to move off shortstop and might not have massive power, he’s one of the best pure hitters in the class.

21. Cardinals — Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.

Houck has an excellent combination of tools, athleticism, physicality and hitting ability. He is bigger and stronger than McGonigle, if not the same sort of pure hitter, and he might be a better pure hitter than Nimmala without the same raw bat speed. He’s another player with a wide range of potential outcomes at this point, with some buzz in the early teens and other teams who might pass on him in the 20s.

22. Mariners — Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest

Add Wilken to the list of confounding players in the 2023 class. In terms of performance, he’s done everything you want. He’s among the nation’s leaders in home runs with 21 and should surpass his previous season high of 23 in short order. He has lowered his strikeout rate a bit, while nearly doubling his walk rate, from 11.6% in 2022 to 21.2% in 2023 and he’s also hitting well over .300—which was previously his biggest criticism. Wilken is hitting .339/.500/.786 through 47 games, but some scouts wonder how his swing will play at the next level and think he’ll need to move to first base. Like Morales, he has a split camp of backers and critics throughout the industry.

23. Guardians — Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic

This pick would be reminiscent of the Chase DeLauter selection a year ago, as Schanuel is a small school hitter with an exceptional track record of performance, bat-to-ball skills and raw power. He’s not the same athlete as DeLauter was, and his tools aren’t quite as loud, but he’s also leading the country with a 1.512 OPS with terrific plate discipline numbers. He has a 22.4% walk rate and 6% strikeout rate. Model-heavy teams should be all over this one. 

24. Braves — Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian Academy HS, Kissimmee, Fla.

Soto is getting a lot of buzz in the second half of the first round. It’s tempting to move a high school righthander of his talent into the supplemental round, where a lot of players like this will fall for overslot deals, but it feels like some teams like Soto enough that he might not make it there. He’s a great athlete, he’s young for the class and will be 17 on draft day, he has a chance for plus stuff across the board and he has a two-way background. Atlanta’s player development group has excelled with this player profile. The Braves were also as prep pitching heavy as any club in the 2022 draft.

25. Padres — George Lombard Jr., SS, Gulliver Prep HS, Miami

Another up-arrow prospect who’s been getting a ton of buzz in the back of the first round is Lombard Jr., who has been hitting well in South Florida. He’s got good size and physicality at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he is an above-average runner with a strong arm and he also comes with big league bloodlines. He could be a tough sign out of Vanderbilt, but it seems like he’s playing his way into the range where he would sign.

26. Yankees — Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian

Taylor currently ranks as the No. 10 prospect on our draft board, but he’s been scuffling and despite strong on-base skills and one of the better eyes in the class, teams want to see him hit more than .275—especially as a corner profile. Impact was a bit of a question mark with Taylor entering the season as a corner profile, and he has hit a career-best 15 home runs this spring, but he’ll need a strong finish to the season to get back into consideration for the top half of the first round. 

27. Phillies — Bryce Eldridge, RHP/1B, Madison HS, Vienna, Va.

Eldridge has dealt with an ankle injury this spring and has been DHing in recent games, but he’s still drawing big scouting crowds. Now that Skenes is a pitcher only, he’s the best two-way player in the class and teams are split on whether they prefer him as a pitcher or a hitter. It’s easy to put Spencer Jones comparisons on Eldridge given how both players looked at this point in their careers.

28. Astros — Ralphy Velazquez, C/1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS

If three catchers wind up going in the first round this year it’ll probably be thanks to Velazquez and his bat. He has more risk to move off the position than either Teel or Mitchell, but the industry loves both his hitting ability and raw power. There’s a chance for plus hitting ability and plus power potential here, so the overall profile reminds me a bit of A’s first-rounder Tyler Soderstrom, who went No. 26 overall in the 2020 draft.

29. Mariners — Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla.

Miller is a conundrum for teams because he’s dealt with an injury for much of the spring. Most scouts I’ve spoken with view him as a first round talent, but a lack of in-game looks could create some hesitation, and perhaps in that scenario a team with multiple picks like the Mariners would be able to float him down the board for an overslot selection? That’s just me thinking creatively more than any direct Mariners connection with Miller here, who has one of the better hit/power combinations in the prep class.

Other players considered for the first round:

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