George Wolkow, Top 10 Player For 2024, Reclassifying For 2023 MLB Draft
One of the top 10 players in the 2024 high school class will be eligible for the draft a year ahead of schedule.
George Wolkow, a third baseman and outfielder at Downers Grove (Ill.) North High who ranks as the No. 6 high school player in the country for 2024, said that he is reclassifying to the 2023 class, making the South Carolina commit eligible for next year's draft.
Wolkow, 16, will be one of the youngest players in the 2023 class, but he will have no problem standing out immediately. He's 6-foot-7, 230 pounds with big raw power from a lefthanded swing that works well for a young hitter his size. The power upside is obvious, with a chance to develop into a middle-of-the-order, 35-plus home run hitter if everything clicks. He has a strong arm as well, splitting time between third base and the outfield corners.
Wolkow said he started to think about reclassifying after the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla. in October. At a tournament with mainly 2022 players and top 2023s, Wolkow played as a 2024 and went 6-for-12 with two doubles, a triple and a walk.
"When it hit me was in Jupiter last year," Wolkow said. "I played in Jupiter with the Chicago Scouts Association team. We made it to the sweet 16. we played well as a team and I played every game between the infield and the outfield. I had a lot of fun and batted .500 in the tournament. It gave me a ton of confidence going into the offseason and a ton of motivation to be ready to get in and work."
That tournament was the endpoint on a strong 2021 for Wolkow, who made USA Baseball's 15U National Team and hit a walkoff double at Durham Athletic Park during one of the trial games.
"My biggest highlight (of the summer) would be the USA experience, the 15U trials and making the final team," he said. "That 15U trials was a week of getting better. It’s fun to make the team, but the coaching, the learning of the game that I got from there, that was crazy. A lot of people go down there thinking about making the team, but I went down looking to get better. We had an infield coach from TCU, a hitting coach from Duke. It’s really under-looked how much better you can get by being around coaches like that."
A multi-sport athlete, Wolkow spent his offseason split between baseball, basketball and the weight room.
"I wanted to use the offseason to build consistency with my swing, my defense, to evaluate my tools and how I can make them the best, to know what I need to do to get better that day," Wolkow said. "I felt like it was a big offseason to get better not just physically but mentally as well. I’m working now with a mental coach. I wanted to be able to fine tune a lot of those psychological challenges and really understand the mental side and psychological side of the game so that when adversity comes, I’ll be ready to handle it like it's any other day."
In addition to other big events that come for top players on the summer circuit, Wolkow will play this summer for the powerhouse Canes National 17U Team, with a goal to take the unique path from making the USA 15U National Team one year and the 18U National Team the next.
Wolkow is one of several prominent high school players who have reclassified in recent years. Righthander/infielder Walter Ford reclassified from the 2023 class to 2022. Third baseman Cam Collier was also in the 2023 class but reclassified for the 2022 draft by attending Chipola (Fla.) JC this year. Both are ranked among the top 30 prospects on Baseball America's 2022 draft rankings, while catcher Brady Neal is a top 100 draft prospect who reclassified from 2023 to 2022.
Cubs infielder James Triantos (a second-round pick in 2021 who signed for $2.1 million), Rays righthander Nick Bitsko (first-rounder in 2020 who signed for $3 million), Red Sox third baseman Blaze Jordan (third-rounder in 2020 who signed for $1.75 million) and Cardinals outfielder Trejyn Fletcher (second-rounder in 2019 who signed for $1.5 million) are other notable players who reclassified in recent drafts.