These teams scored the best '23 Draft hauls

July 12th, 2023

SEATTLE -- The Reds had poor luck in MLB's inaugural Draft Lottery last December. Despite having the fourth-worst record, they came away with the seventh overall selection in a year with five players who would be legitimate No. 1 overall pick candidates in most Drafts.

Cincinnati held out some mild hope that one of those five would drop to No. 7 on Sunday night, but that didn't happen. Instead, the Reds settled for assembling the best haul of talent among all 30 clubs, based on our first impressions.

Yes, it's way too early to know with any certainty how the 2023 Draft will play out. With the assumption that every player selected in the first 10 rounds will sign a pro contact, here are the eight clubs who appeared to do the best:

1. Reds
In a Draft short on college arms, the Reds grabbed two of the best in Wake Forest right-hander Rhett Lowder (first round) and Louisiana State righty Ty Floyd (supplemental first), who both starred at the College World Series. Then they found a way to snare two premium high school talents far later than they should have gone: shortstop Sammy Stafura (second round) and Cole Schoenwetter (fourth). Cincinnati also added a pair of polished college left-handers in Arkansas' Hunter Hollan (third) and Lipscomb's Logan Van Treeck (ninth), the Draft's best defensive catcher in Long Beach State's Connor Burns (fifth) and two productive college bats in Virginia outfielder Ethan O'Donnell (sixth) and Stanford first baseman Carter Graham (eighth).

2. Giants
The Giants strongly considered Colorado high school shortstop Walker Martin with the 16th overall pick before opting for Virginia prep two-way star Bryce Eldridge. Late buzz had Kent State's Joe Whitman, the consensus best left-hander available, going before the start of the second. Yet Martin was waiting for San Francisco in the middle of the second round and Whitman was still available with the Giants' compensation pick for the loss of free agent Carlos Rodón after the second round. Slick-fielding Tennessee shortstop Maui Ahuna (fourth round) made the Giants the lone club to grab four players from the top 50 of MLB Pipeline's Draft rankings, while other good gets included Auburn shortstop Cole Foster (third), Maryland catcher Luke Shliger (sixth), Grayson (Texas) CC right-hander Josh Bostick (eighth) and Louisville catcher Jack Payton (11th).

3. Twins
The biggest winners in the first-ever lottery, the Twins moved up from No. 13 to No. 5 and landed a No. 1 pick-caliber talent in potential five-tool high school outfielder Walker Jenkins. They followed up with four more top-three-rounds talents in electric prep right-hander Charlee Soto (supplemental first round), Arizona State offensive second baseman Luke Keaschall (second), hard-hitting high school outfielder Brandon Winokur (third) and Southern Mississippi righty Tanner Hall (fourth). The latter's changeup and control ranked among the best in the Draft. Prep righty Dylan Questad (fifth), Arizona State left-hander Ross Dunn (10th) and California righty Paulshawn Pasqualotto (12th) are three more interesting arms.

4. Tigers
The Tigers came away with two of the very best high school bats in the Draft in No. 3 overall choice Max Clark, who had the best all-around tools among the outfielders in the running for the top pick, and shortstop Kevin McGonigle (supplemental first round). They popped prepsters with four of their first five selections, also taking three-pitch left-hander Paul Wilson (third) and power-hitting third baseman Carson Rucker (fourth). Nebraska second baseman Max Anderson (second) is a proven college hitter, Middle Tennessee State right-hander Jaden Hamm (fifth) has a nifty curveball and Pepperdine's John Peck (seventh) should stick at shortstop.

5. Mariners
With three of the first 30 choices, the Mariners were poised to do a lot of damage and did so with three intriguing prepsters. Shortstop/third baseman Colt Emerson combines hitting ability and power potential, outfielder Johnny Farmelo is a speedster with a promising bat and shortstop Tai Peete had perhaps the quickest bat in the high school class as well as plus raw power, speed and arm strength. Wake Forest right-hander Teddy McGraw (third round) showed the stuff to become a first-rounder before blowing out his elbow right before the college season started. Aidan Smith (fourth) is an underrated prep outfielder who makes a lot of contact and also offers plus speed and arm strength.

6. Marlins
The Marlins somehow managed to grab the two best prep pitchers, taking right-hander Noble Meyer at No. 10 and somehow floating Thomas White -- who was also the Draft's top southpaw, college or high school -- down to No. 35. Mississippi outfielder Kemp Alderman (second round) hit the ball as hard as anyone in college baseball this spring, while Michigan State first baseman Brock Vradenburg (third) is a line-drive machine. Nebraska lefty Emmett Olson (fourth), Tennessee righty Andrew Lindsey (fifth) and Southern Mississippi southpaw Justin Storm (seventh) give Miami some college pitching depth.

7. Nationals
While the Nationals coveted right-hander Paul Skenes, most clubs would have taken fellow Louisiana State star Dylan Crews with the No. 1 choice and Washington nabbed the Draft's best offensive prospect at No. 2. Slugging Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales was a pleasant surprise at the top of the second round, while righty Travis Sykora, one of the top high school arms, represented very good value at the top of the third. Toolsy Alabama outfielder Andrew Pinckney (fourth round) and power-armed Indian River State (Fla.) JC righty Gavin Adams (11th) also bear watching.

8. Pirates
The Pirates kicked off the Draft with Skenes, who rivals Stephen Strasburg as the best mound prospect since the event began in 1965 and should arrive in the big leagues at some point next year. Getting a generational pitcher alone would make for a productive effort, and Pittsburgh complemented him with eight other signable Draft Top 250 prospects, including a pair of polished college bats in speedy Michigan State shortstop Mitch Jebb (second round) and Oregon State third baseman Garret Forrester (third) and deceptive high school right-hander Zander Mueth (supplemental second). The Bucs may deploy star West Virginia reliever Carlson Reed (fourth) as a starter, while Vanderbilt righty Patrick Reilly (fifth), Alabama left-hander Hunter Furtado (sixth), Georgia southpaw Jaden Woods (seventh) and Arizona State righty Khristian Curtis (12th) have more upside than their subpar college stats might indicate.