Top Draft Prospects list expands to 250, and there's a new No. 1

June 28th, 2023

It’s time for our last Draft prospect list update!

We’re less than two weeks away from the start of the 2023 MLB Draft and we’ve expanded the MLB Pipeline Draft board to a Top 250. We’ve also made some changes throughout in terms of order based on performance and the latest information we’re getting from the scouting industry.

And that starts at the very top of the list. We’ve moved LSU right-hander Paul Skenes into the top spot ahead of his teammate, outfielder Dylan Crews. Honestly, there isn’t much separating the two Tigers and we probably could have them share the top spot and then skip to No. 3. But in this final update, we decided Skenes’ dominance, and the fact that he continues to be compared with the best college pitching prospects ever, deserved the nod.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the names that are in the Top 5. The quintet of Crews, Skenes, Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford and high school outfielders Walker Jenkins and Max Clark continue to be fairly set in stone. Back at the end of May, when we launched our Top 200, we revealed the results of an executive poll, asking national scouts, scouting directors and general managers to rank the top five and the industry voted in the order listed above, with Crews narrowly ahead of Skenes.

Top 5:
1. Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
2. Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
3. Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
4. Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick (N.C.) HS
5. Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Ind.) HS
Complete list »

That was not the only question we posed, starting with a query about the aforementioned LSU ace.

Paul Skenes is the best pitching prospect since …

Stephen Strasburg: 10
Gerrit Cole: 9
Mark Prior: 3

Others receiving votes: Ben McDonald, Casey Mize, Aaron Nola, Kumar Rocker and Carlos Rodón

That’s pretty select company, right? Strasburg and Cole were the No. 1 picks in the Draft in 2009 and 2011, respectively, and Strasburg is often considered the best Draft pitching prospect ever. Scouts are paid to nitpick, so there were a couple of cautionary tales, including one respondent saying, “In terms of Draft hype, probably Strasburg. But I’m not completely sold he turns into an ace,” and another answering, “Not sure, but it’s more recent than you think.”

The rest of the survey focused on the players beyond the top 5, a field many an evaluator has equated to the Wild West. Here are the results of the survey that was conducted right around when college conference tournaments were wrapping up.

After the top five, who do you think is the best prospect in the 2023 Draft class?

Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.): 6
Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon: 6
Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee: 4
Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS (Fla.): 4
Kyle Teel, C, Virginia: 4
Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest: 2
Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Mass.): 2

One does have to wonder that were this question posed again after his strong postseason performances if Lowder would have gotten a bit more support. One respondent did add, while casting a vote for Meyer that “the class is so good, the high school righty might slide a bit.”

The best high school arm in this class is ...

Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.): 24
Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Mass.): 7

Not a shocking result here and Meyer’s name has come a lot in top 10 talks as we’ve done our mock drafts, but there was a fair amount of support for the prep lefty from New England.

The best catcher in this class is ...

Kyle Teel, Virginia: 23
Blake Mitchell, Sinton HS (Texas): 8

This isn’t surprising, given the support Teel got in the question about who is the next best prospect after the top five, and we’ve been hearing his name heavy in the 6-10 range of the first round. One evaluator felt like there wasn’t much competition in this group and that Teel was the clear choice while some else offered that it wasn’t “by as much as public rankings think,” with Mitchell a close second.

The best shortstop in this class is ...

Jacob Wilson, Grand Canyon: 15
Jacob Gonzalez, Mississippi: 6
Arjun Nimmala, Strawberry Crest HS (Fla.): 4
Adrian Santana, Doral Academy (Fla.): 3
Maui Ahuna, Tennessee: 2

Those who voted for Ahuna did so by virtue of his defense only, though one of the Ahuna voters said Santana was a close second. One Santana supporter gave him the narrow nod, adding, “There are loads of fun infielders, but this one is definitely a shortstop.” But this might have been the best response: “A great question, we will spend a ton of time on that.”

The best college LHP in this class is ...

Hunter Owen, Vanderbilt: 19
Quinn Mathews, Stanford: 3
Sean Sullivan, Wake Forest: 2
Joe Whitman, Kent State: 2

We asked this question specifically because it’s a weak class for this group of players, with many of them going down with injuries. That includes the guy who got the most support in Owen. Mathews would likely get more votes now after his College World Series run and Whitman has some helium now. Many responses had some version of head-scratching going on, with one scout summing it up: “Good question. They’re all hurt.”

What would you grade this overall Draft class on the 20-80 scale?

40: 1
45: 1
50: 7
55: 4
60: 14
65: 2
70: 2

In general, people are bullish about this Draft class, with the average overall grade coming out to 56.9, easily above-average. One of the evaluators who gave it a 70 said it was “perhaps the deepest overall talent pool in this millennium.” Some who gave it a plus grade (60) gave all the credit to the hitters: “Most of that grade being in the position player depth; bad year for college arms at the top.” And one respondent who gave the class a 55 broke it down like this: “It’s a strong high school hitter draft, solid high school pitching group, depth over quality with the college hitters, college pitching is leaving a big hole in this Draft.”