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See Also: 2023 MLB Draft Database
Draft Theme: Hitters Who Will Win ABS Challenges.
If and when the ABS challenge system comes to the big leagues, the Guardians should be well suited. The team clearly prioritizes players who understand the strike zone, make good swing decisions and post consistently low strikeout rates and high walk rates. High school or college, every single hitter the Guardians drafted among the top 10 rounds has something in his scouting report about how well he manages the zone, or how much contact he makes—and most have both.
Most Interesting Day 2 Pick: SS Alex Mooney, 7th round
Mooney was a high-energy prep shortstop who ranked as the No. 65 prospect in the 2021 draft class, but wound up making it to campus as the third-highest ranked player to do so. Mooney had sky-high expectations as a true freshman, but stumbled out of the gate as a freshman as Duke’s everyday shortstop before a solid stint in the Cape Cod League. Mooney took a step forward offensively in 2023, lowering his strikeout rate, hitting for more average and hitting for a bit more power. Through 60 games, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound shortstop hit .320/.438/.512 with eight home runs, 19 doubles, a 13.8% strikeout rate and 11.7% walk rate. Mooney has solid tools across the board but nothing that will jump off the page. He’s a line drive, contact hitter first who has shown some feel for the barrel at times, but managed just an 82.7 mph average exit velocity in 2023, with a 99.5 mph 90th percentile mark. Most of his home runs this spring went to the pull side and he still has a tendency to swing-and-miss vs. secondaries, though he did perform well against fastballs overall and 92-plus mph velocity, with a .364/.480/.615 slash line. Mooney is a solid runner and good athlete who has a chance to stick at shortstop, but could play a number of positions. He’s a great baserunner who has gone 33-for-38 (86.7%) in stolen base attempts in his career.
Most Interesting Day 3 Pick: LHP Ryan Marohn, 20th round
Marohn pitched in the upper 80s and touched 91 mph in 2022, but he ticked that fastball velocity up a bit early in the 2023 season and will sit in the low 90s early in short stints before getting back into the upper 80s after a few innings. While he lacks velocity currently, he has impressive feel to pitch, with good tempo and an extended three-quarter arm slot that he repeats well. In addition to filling up the zone with his running fastball, Marohn has shown good feel to spot a slurvy breaking ball in the 79-82 mph range and uses an 84 mph changeup for whiffs in the zone and below it. He’s a North Carolina State commit who looks like an immediate contributor if he makes it to campus.