Latest mock: 9 of top 19 picks on display at College World Series

June 16th, 2023

The College World Series begins Friday and must feature more current first-round talent than it ever has since the Draft began in 1965. The first three players and nine of the top 19 in our latest mock draft below all will play for a national championship in Omaha. Two more CWS participants have a chance to go in the first round as well.

The biggest names are Louisiana State outfielder Dylan Crews and right-hander Paul Skenes and Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, who continue to rank 1-2-3 on MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 200 and in our first-round projection. The CWS contingent also includes the best catcher available (Virginia's Kyle Teel) and the next three college pitchers who will go after Skenes (Tennessee's Chase Dollander, Wake Forest's Rhett Lowder, Florida's Hurston Waldrep).

Waldrep, Texas Christian third baseman Brayden Taylor and Stanford shortstop Tommy Troy are moving up Draft boards with standout postseason performances. It's also possible that Wake Forest third baseman Brock Wilken and Virginia third baseman Jake Gelof could push their way into the top 28 selections if they continue to rake at Charles Schwab Field.

Detailed scouting reports for all of the players mentioned below can be found with our Draft Top 200 (rankings in parentheses).

1. Pirates: Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State (No. 1)
The consensus best player available, Crews remains the favorite to go No. 1. The Pirates continue to do their due diligence on the five top-tier players (Crews, Skenes, Langford, high school outfielder Walker Jenkins and Max Clark), with Clark the best candidate to take a discount from the assigned pick value of $9,721,000 if the Bucs want to go that route.

2. Nationals: Paul Skenes, RHP, Louisiana State (No. 2)
If the Pirates do pass on Crews, the Nationals likely would do the same because they're deep in outfield prospects and light on the mound. And Skenes is the Draft's best pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, who was the best ever and helped bring Washington a World Series title.

3. Tigers: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida (No. 3)
The Tigers seem focused on college hitters and should get either Crews or Langford. There's some thought that if the two Southeastern Conference outfielders go 1-2, Detroit would bypass Skenes and the prep outfielders to take a college bat (Teel).

4. Rangers: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS, Southport, N.C. (No. 4)
The Rangers could be the second-most likely home for Skenes, though their choice probably will come down to Langford, Jenkins and Clark -- and that seems to be their pecking order.

5. Twins: Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Ind.) HS (No. 5)
Clark has better all-around tools if less power than any of the top-tier outfielders, and he figures to go either No. 1 to Pirates or no higher than No. 5. Some clubs believe the Twins would prefer a collegian to a high school outfielder, though they're also high on the best prep pitcher, Noble Meyer.

6. Athletics: Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian (No. 30)
Unless one of the top five talents drops in their lap, the A's will peruse the college market and likely opt for a hitter. Taylor may be the favorite after homering four times in seven postseason games to tie TCU's single-season record (23) and break its career mark (48), with Teel also a consideration.

7. Reds: Kyle Teel, C, Virginia (No. 10)
The Reds will consider every demographic (college versus high school, hitter versus pitcher). Teel, Dollander and Lowder could be the primary considerations, with Mississippi shortstop Jacob Gonzalez and prepsters such as Meyer and catcher Blake Mitchell also in play.

8. Royals: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS, Portland, Ore. (No. 11)
The Royals' best prospect is a high school arm they took seventh overall two years ago (Frank Mozzicato) and they're known to love Meyer. They're another team exploring every demographic and are linked to Teel, Lowder and prep hitters such as shortstop Arjun Nimmala, first baseman Bryce Eldridge, third baseman Aidan Miller and Mitchell.

9. Rockies: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee (No. 6)
The Rockies would like to come away with an arm and will consider Dollander, Lowder and Meyer. They're another potential home for Taylor and the ceiling for Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield, meaning he would come with a discount.

10. Marlins: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon (No. 7)
The Marlins have done a better job of developing pitchers than hitters, and they'll be tempted by Meyer or Dollander if available. They've also prioritized bat-to-ball skills in the last year and the best in this Draft belong to Wilson, who hit .412 with five strikeouts in 217 plate appearances. High school shortstops Colin Houck and Nimmala are two more possibilities.

11. Angels: Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Madison HS, Vienna, Va. (No. 21)
Eldridge is the Draft's best two-way prospect -- in part because LSU didn't let Skenes swing a bat this spring -- but will get drafted as a hitter. The Angels have scouted him closely and also could grab a college arm from among Dollander, Lowder and Waldrep. Don't rule out a college bat either.

12. D-backs: Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 8)
The name most closely associated with the D-backs is prep shortstop Colin Houck, but one of the top college arms might be too tempting to pass up. Arizona also is tied to several other high school infielders (Nimmala, Miller, Colt Emerson) as well as Troy.

13. Cubs: Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS, Dover, Fla. (No. 9)
The Cubs would love a shot at Lowder and could consider Waldrep, either of whom would be the fourth college pitcher they've taken in the last five first rounds. They’re mulling several prep infielders (Nimmala, Houck, Miller, Emerson, Kevin McGonigle) and could be drawn to Taylor, Maryland shortstop Matt Shaw, Gonzalez or Bradfield.

14. Red Sox: Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. (No. 14)
It looks like a high school bat for the fourth straight first round for the Red Sox, who could continue that trend with Houck, Miller, Mitchell or Emerson. Bradfield and Arizona outfielder Chase Davis, who has helium, are two college options.

15. White Sox: Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 12)
While the White Sox could use some pitching help and would pounce on Dollander or Lowder, those guys can't get to No. 15. They'll likely pivot to prep hitters such as Houck, Miller and Mitchell. Chicago made a run at Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales when he was in high school three years ago and also could be drawn to fellow college bats Wilson and Shaw.

16. Giants: Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland (No. 18)
The Giants are prioritizing bats unless Lowder or Dollander somehow drops to them. Shaw and Troy may have moved ahead of Gonzalez for many clubs, and Taylor and Bradfield also could be in San Francisco's mix. High school candidates include Houck, Miller and Eldridge.

17. Orioles: Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida (No. 20)
Waldrep has some of the nastiest stuff in the Draft and has posted his best back-to-back starts of the spring, allowing one run and striking out 25 in 15 innings in consecutive NCAA tournament victories. If he builds off that momentum in Omaha, he could surge into the top 10. Other potential fits for the Orioles include Nimmala, Miller, Eldridge, Mitchell and Florida Atlantic first baseman Nolan Schanuel.

18. Brewers: Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt (No. 16)
The Brewers appear headed toward a college bat for the fourth consecutive first round with a pool that includes Taylor, Shaw, Bradfield, Troy, Schanuel and Morales. If they go in a different direction, Miller could be the target.

19. Rays: Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford (No. 19)
Shaw and Troy could be the most realistic options for the Rays, who also could look at high school bats (Eldridge, Miller, Mitchell, outfielder Dillon Head) as well as Taylor, Waldrep and Schanuel.

20. Blue Jays: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi (No. 15)
There's at least one guy who feels way too low in every mock, and it's Gonzalez in this version. He entered the year as our fifth-ranked prospect and had a solid season, but there are concerns about his athleticism. The Blue Jays get mentioned with a slew of college bats (Taylor, Shaw, Troy, Schanuel) as well as high school pitchers Thomas White and Charlee Soto and prep hitters Head and Emerson.

21. Cardinals: Nolan Schanuel, 1B/OF, Florida Atlantic (No. 29)
Taylor, Shaw and Troy probably won't last until No. 21, so the Cardinals could turn to another college bat in Schanuel, who leads NCAA Division I in on-base percentage (.612), OPS (1.476) and walks (71) while ranking second in hitting (.444) and slugging (.864). If they want an arm, White could be the best one still on the board.

22. Mariners: Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. (No. 23)
It's hard to pin down a destination for White, who has a high ceiling as the best prep left-hander in the Draft but lacks consistent control and bombed in front of a bunch of scouts in late May. He could go near the top 10 or get an over-slot bonus in the 30s or 40s. The Mariners have the seventh-highest bonus pool ($13,170,900) despite picking 22nd and may try to float a big name with an expensive price tag down here. They selected high school hitters in the last two first rounds and have interest in Eldridge, Mitchell and Emerson.

23. Guardians: Colt Emerson, SS/3B, Glenn HS, New Concord, Ohio (No. 27)
The Guardians once looked like the floor for Waldrep or Eldridge, but now neither appears likely to get particularly close to Cleveland. Emerson, who would be the club's first home-state first-rounder since No. 2 overall choice Mark Lewis in 1988, and McGonigle are more realistic possibilities.

24. Braves: Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS (No. 13)
If the bias against high school catchers does contribute to Mitchell getting to No. 24, it will be an absolute steal for the Braves. His bat might make him a first-rounder even if he weren't a catcher, and while he's drawing interest in the top 10, he goes behind several college bats in this scenario. Atlanta also likes several prep shortstops (Emerson, McGonigle, Walker Martin, George Lombard Jr., Sammy Stafura) and Eldridge.

25. Padres: Dillon Head, OF, Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor, Ill. (No. 22)
After generating some top-10 buzz earlier this spring, Head seems to have settled back into the 20s. Other names mentioned for the Padres include White, Stafura, prep masher Ralphy Velazquez and Davis.

26. Yankees: Sammy Stafura, SS, Panas HS, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. (No. 86)
The Yankees are linked to high school shortstops, including suburban New York City product Stafura (who gives off some Anthony Volpe vibes), Lombard and McGonigle. They excel at developing pitchers, which could lead them to White or Kent State left-hander Joe Whitman, whose stock continues to soar after a sterling outing in the Cape Cod League.

27. Phillies: Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian Academy, Kissimmee, Fla. (No. 25)
Word is the Phillies may want a pitcher, in which case Soto or White would be the top candidates. They're not afraid to take a high school arm in the first round and did so in 2020 (Mick Abel) and 2021 (Andrew Painter).

28. Astros: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami (No. 17)
Morales could go higher than this, especially if one of the clubs after the Cardinals wants a college bat. Stafura and Martin are two more targets for the Astros.

And let's take a crack at the entire supplemental first round . . .

29. Mariners: Kevin McGonigle, SS/2B, Monsignor Bonner HS, Drexel Hill, Pa. (No. 26)
30. Mariners:
Ralphy Velazquez, C/1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS (No. 32)
31. Rays:
Chase Davis, OF, Arizona (No. 39)
32. Mets:
Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest (No. 24)
33. Brewers:
Jake Gelof, 3B, Virginia (No. 42)
34. Twins:
Adrian Santana, SS, Doral (Fla.) Academy (No. 34)
35. Marlins:
Joe Whitman, LHP, Kent State (No. 46)
36. Dodgers:
Jonny Farmelo, OF, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va. (No. 49)
37. Tigers:
Walker Martin, SS, Eaton (Col.) HS (No. 28)
38. Reds:
George Lombard Jr., SS/3B, Gulliver Prep, Pinecrest, Fla. (No. 38)
39. Athletics:
Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 33)