Here's how Draft experts think the first 10 picks should go

April 25th, 2023

The 2023 MLB Draft is still 75 days away, but it's never too early to take a look at how the top selections might shake out. That's what Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo discussed on the latest Pipeline Podcast, when they each made their top 10 picks based on who they think should be taken (not who they think the clubs will take).

While their top 10s started the same with a pair of LSU Tigers, there was no consensus on the next eight picks. Both had the same players in the top five, but things got very interesting in the back half.

1. Pirates
Callis: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Mayo: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU

Callis: Crews may not be as recently historic as Paul Skenes, but he's probably a 70 hitter on the 20-80 scale, with at least 60 power, and you could probably go more because he’s going to get to pretty much all he has because he’s such a good hitter and he’s running better. I don’t think he’s a slam-dunk lock center fielder, but I think he does have the potential to end up there.

2. Nationals
Callis: Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
Mayo: Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU

Mayo: He was good at Air Force, but he wasn’t this good. I think there’s going to be a little bit of a “Let’s make sure we know what’s under the hood here. Is what he’s doing this year what he’s going to do going forward? Or is there going to be some regression to the mean?” Guys that are going to go 1, 2 are going to get picked apart.

3. Tigers
Callis: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick (NC)
Mayo: Max Clark, OF, Franklin (IN)

Callis: I think if we surveyed 30 teams, Jenkins might win three-quarters of the votes, but if you were putting grades on them, they’d be neck-and-neck. I just think Jenkins is slightly ahead for a majority of the teams. I think they’re comparable hitters. I think Jenkins has significantly more power, at least a grade better, and while Clark is a better runner and athlete, Jenkins is running better this spring. Clark is definitely a center fielder, and Jenkins might be a center fielder. If he’s not a center fielder, he’ll fit the right field profile with a strong arm.

Mayo: I ended up picking Max Clark just because of the ceiling. I’ve had multiple national scouts say he’s the one guy who has the best chance to be a true, true superstar, just because the tools are so loud. Walker Jenkins is great; I’d happily take him at 3. One thing to consider is that Walker Jenkins had played a whole bunch of baseball before Max Clark because he’s in Indiana. Sometimes that plays into what scouts are saying, and I think you can’t go wrong with either.

4. Rangers
Callis: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
Mayo: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick (NC)

Callis: Do you want the guy who’s proven it at the college level? I think (Langford) is probably a left fielder when all is said and done. I think he has less defensive value, but you have a better read on his bat since he’s performed at a very high level at college.

5. Twins
Callis: Max Clark, OF, Franklin (IN)
Mayo: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida

Mayo: Langford is another guy who has taken a huge step forward and didn’t play as a freshman, so there’s not as much track record. Again, that’s nitpicking. … I really wish Florida had let Wyatt Langford play center field this year. I know they have a center fielder, but people were hoping to see what that would look like. The team that takes him, I think, could very well send him out in center and see how that plays.

6. Athletics
Callis: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Mayo: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon

Callis: (Dollander) has just been inconsistent this year. You still see the good stuff, but it seems like he has an inning where he falters and he gives up a couple runs. I don’t think the command has been as sharp. I don’t think the stuff has been quite as consistent. But you’re still talking about a guy who has multiple pitches and plus command, and he’s athletic and the delivery is good, and there’s a track record of performing in the SEC.

Mayo: With Jacob Wilson, I won’t call him the safe pick. People aren’t blown away. He’s going to be a big leaguer, and he’s going to be a big leaguer in a hurry. But is he going to be an impact guy that you’re going to take at the top? The guy just doesn’t strike out. He hits, there’s power, he’s a no-doubt shortstop.

7. Reds
Callis: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Mayo: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit (OR)

Callis: You know (Wilson) is going to hit. Exactly how much power does he have? He can play shortstop, but do you have a better shortstop at the big-league level? It’s such a high baseball IQ. His dad (Jack Wilson) played in the big leagues, so he’s going to acclimate to pro ball quickly. He’s got one of the highest floors in the draft. He might have the second-highest floor in the draft after Crews.

Mayo: I went pure upside here. When push comes to shove, the high school arms often slip down, although there’s invariably one that sneaks into the top 10, maybe two. Right now, Noble Meyer and Thomas White are considered to be the top high school arms. … Meyer has unbelievable stuff and projection and feel for pitching and understanding of the craft already that belies his years. I don’t see him as risky of a high school right-hander pick as in some years because of that combination of things.

8. Royals
Callis: Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt
Mayo: Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (MA)

Callis: It’s not like (Bradfield) is a 65 or 70 runner; he’s an 80 runner. Let’s say I’m even high on the power and he doesn’t hit double-digit home runs. I still think he’s going to hit for average, have a good OBP, be a guy who can steal 40-50 bases in a season and play Gold Glove center field.

Mayo: This spring, (White) has taken a very large step forward; the stuff is better, the command is much better. He’s a smart kid, so I think he’s figured a lot of it out. There are some people who feel that White may be the best high school pitcher, period, and he’s left-handed. So it wouldn’t even shock me if White ended up getting taken before Noble Meyer, although there might be a little more comfort level with Noble Meyer since he’s been seen against really good competition.

9. Rockies
Callis: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi
Mayo: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee

Callis: Gonzalez, from a pure tools perspective, he doesn’t run great; it’s not classic shortstop tools. There are some concerns that he’s not a shortstop at the next level, but the guy has performed for three years, he has good instincts that help him make plays at shortstop. I don’t know if he’s a shortstop, but the guy has played at a high level, controls the strike zone, was part of a national championship team at Ole Miss. If he’s not a shortstop, he’s an offensive second baseman or third baseman.

10. Marlins
Callis: Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell (FL)
Mayo: Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest (FL)

Callis: I feel like Miller gets penalized because he broke his hamate at the beginning of the season, so he hasn’t played a lot. I would submit that that really shouldn’t matter. Aidan Miller was probably the best hitter on the showcase circuit last summer. Max Clark was OK, Jenkins was hurt, but Aidan Miller was MVP of the High School All-America Game, won the Home Run Derby, he hit everywhere he went. I’m just betting on the bat there.

Mayo: (Nimmala) is a guy who plays a premium position and is going to play shortstop for a long time. That’s why I picked him over someone like Aidan Miller. He’s got a chance to have an impact with the bat, he runs well, he plays with high energy, and the fact that he is a no-doubt shortstop with great action, a good arm, and plenty of range, that’s why I decided to go in this direction.