Here's Pipeline's first full 2023 mock draft
The new Draft Top 100 Prospects list is out, so now we should be ready to project the first round of the 2023 Draft, right?
Sure, why not.
Jim Callis has broken down the Draft class and now it’s time to see who is going to go where in the first round. With the usual caveat that much will change between now and July, this projection is based on if teams were selecting right now. And I enlisted the assistance of a scouting director, who discussed players and trends that teams (and the other scouting directors) sometimes follow when it comes time to make their top pick.
• 2023 Draft | Top 100 | Order | Draft Lottery
How much of this will hold true seven months from now? We’ll have to wait and see.
1. Pirates: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
The Pirates won the inaugural Draft lottery and have the first pick for the second time in three years as a result. In 2021, they saved some money on Henry Davis, a player they really liked, but it’s way too soon to have any sense of who that player could be this time around. So I went with the player perceived to be the best prospect in the class in Crews, a center fielder with the chance to be a plus hitter with plus power.
2. Nationals: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Sticking to the Top 100 order for now with the best arm in the class. Last year, there wasn’t a college pitcher who belonged in conversations up here, but Dollander, considered by some to be the best college pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole, could end up going 1-1.
3. Tigers: Max Clark, OF, Franklin HS (Ind.)
Clark has the best all-around set of tools in the class, with his power perhaps his lone less-than-plus tool. He’s a no-doubt center fielder with a hose for an arm and an incredible understanding of how to hit. The Vanderbilt recruit’s makeup is also off the charts.
4. Rangers: Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
The last two years picking this high, the Rangers went with college arms in Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker. Skenes, who transferred from Air Force and got scouts in Louisiana buzzing with his work in fall ball, could make it three in a row with his power repertoire.
5. Twins: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
There are some scouts who think Langford will perform his way into 1-1 consideration. The Twins have taken a college bat with their first pick in three of the last five Drafts, including taking Brooks Lee No. 8 last year.
6. A's: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS (NC)
Jenkins and Clark are friendly rivals competing for the unofficial “best high school bat” title, and Jenkins could perform his way to the top of the list. The A’s might be a little sore after dropping to No. 6 in the lottery, but they might feel better if they land Jenkins and his enormous offensive potential.
7. Reds: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi
The Reds dropped from No. 4 in terms of W-L record to No. 7 in the lottery, so getting our No. 5-ranked player might help make up for that. And I know what you’re thinking: Why would the Reds take another shortstop given the depth at that position in their system? But they love college bats and you can never have too many up-the-middle players.
8. Royals: Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
Waldrep transferred from Southern Miss and wowed Florida-area scouts with his electric stuff this fall. If he maintains that this spring, he won’t last this long. The Royals had some success last time they took a Gators starter when they nabbed Brady Singer in the first round of the 2018 Draft.
9. Rockies: Aidan Miller, 3B, JW Mitchell HS (Fla.)
Miller has a ton of power and could be a better-than-average hitter when all is said and done, while playing a very good third base. The Rockies took high school bats around this point in the first round in 2020 (Zac Veen) and 2021 (Benny Montgomery), and visions of the next Nolan Arenado could be dancing in their heads.
10. Marlins: Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt
There’s often a Marlins-Vandy connection because scouting director DJ Svihlik coached there, but this could very well be a good fit, with Bradfield’s game-changing speed on the basepaths and in center field just what the organization needs to jump start the offense.
11. Angels: Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
The Angels have gone the college route in the first round over the last four routes and took shortstop Zach Neto in 2022. Now they can add an advanced college bat at third to fill out their future left side of the infield with Taylor, who has an advanced approach and enough pop for an infield corner.
12. D-backs: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Jack’s kid could very well perform his way up this list above some of the other college bats, but the D-backs would be thrilled if he and his super-advanced bat got to No. 12. Last year, Jace Jung made it to No. 12, so why not a repeat in a Top 10-caliber bat making it to this spot?
13. Cubs: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami
The last time the Cubs went college bat in the first round they took Nico Hoerner in 2018, and he established himself as a big league regular in 2022. They also selected Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant as college hitter first-rounders, and Morales and his power bat could have that kind of impact.
14. Red Sox: Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton HS (Texas)
High school catchers might be one of the riskier groups to choose from, and the Red Sox might recall not having huge success with Blake Swihart, but Mitchell is easily the best catcher in the class and Boston has taken a high school bat in the first round in each of the past four Drafts.
15. White Sox: Will Sanders, RHP, South Carolina
While the White Sox have gone the high school route the last two years, they did take a college arm in Garrett Crochet in 2020, and this is a good part of the Draft for the next tier of college arms to come off the board.
16. Giants: Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
It’s a mini-run on college arms here, with Lowder and Sanders the top of this second tier. Lowder offers less projection than some, but his stuff now is plenty good enough. The Giants have gone the college route in five straight Drafts, taking pitchers in 2021 (Will Bednar) and 2022 (Reggie Crawford, technically a two-way player).
17. Orioles: Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland
I know what you’re thinking. Why would the Orioles do this with so much up-the-middle talent in the system? But Shaw’s offensive upside could be very enticing to an organization that has drafted college infielders Jordan Westburg and Connor Norby, not to mention the college outfielders taken in each of the last three Drafts.
18. Brewers: Maui Ahuna, SS, Tennessee
Ahuna can hit, really run and really defend at a premium position. What’s not to like? The Brewers aren’t afraid to surprise folks, but they’ve taken four college bats early in the last three Drafts.
19. Rays: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
Hailing from the same high school that produced Phillies prospect (and first-rounder) Mick Abel, Meyer is considered to be the top prep arm in the class. The Rays don’t shy away from high upside players in the first round and have taken a high school arm in the opening round twice in the last five Drafts.
20. Blue Jays: Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian HS (Fla.)
Meyer and Soto might be 1 and 1A in terms of prep arms, and Soto has a ton of projection (with some "exciting now" stuff) in his 6-foot-5 frame. Toronto took a high school arm in lefty Brandon Barriera last year.
21. Cardinals: Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Mass.)
Now it’s time to get the top prep lefty off the board. White hasn’t been seen a ton but showed enough at a couple of summer stops to excite scouts. A strong spring could easily land him in the first round, and the team that traded for Matthew Liberatore could draft the 2023 version of him (top high school southpaw in the class).
22. Mariners: Travis Honeyman, OF, Boston College
The toolsy Honeyman could follow Sal Frelick as a first-round pick coming out of Boston College. The Mariners haven’t taken a college bat in the first since 2017, but they do like hitters, having taken two high school ones the last two years after three straight college arms.
23. Guardians: Kevin McGonigle, SS/2B, Monsignor Bonner HS (Pa.)
One of the best pure hitters among the high school set, McGonigle raked all summer and could go even higher if he continues to mash. But the Guardians do like guys who know how to hit and understand the strike zone, so this could be a very good fit.
24. Braves: Tanner Witt, RHP, Texas
A bit of a wild card here as Witt is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and it’s unclear if and when he’ll pitch in 2023. But the Braves, who took a pair of high school right-handers early last year, aren’t afraid of taking a risk, and a healthy Witt could be one of the most electric arms in the class.
25. Padres: Travis Sykora, RHP, Round Rock HS (Texas)
It’s a bit of an easy mock card to play, having the Padres taking a high-risk/high-reward pick. But they’ve earned it, taking a high schooler with their first pick in six straight Drafts and selecting two prep arms with their first two picks last year. Sykora, a 6-foot-6 high schooler who throws 100 mph, almost makes too much sense here.
26. Yankees: Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS (Ga.)
Houck is a strong and physical shortstop who is also a quarterback standout at a powerhouse Parkview program that produced big leaguers like Matt Olson. The Yankees have taken a hitter with their first pick in six of the last seven Drafts, and two were high schoolers, led by top prospect Anthony Volpe.
27. Phillies: Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Madison HS (Va.)
The Phillies have gone the high school route the last three years, including back-to-back prep arms, with some success. Eldridge provides upside on both sides, and while more scouts are leaning hitting for him after his summer, the Phillies could decide to add him on the mound behind Andrew Painter and Mick Abel.
28. Astros: Kyle Teel, C, Virginia
Teel is a no-doubt catcher with some offensive attributes he’ll have to show he can use consistently in 2023. If he does, the top college backstop doesn’t last this long. The Astros have taken a college bat in the last three Drafts they had a first-round pick, including taking catcher Korey Lee in a very similar spot of the first-round in 2019.