Top 20 college prospects for '23 Draft

September 19th, 2022

Just as with the 2022 college crop, hitters dominate next year's college Draft class. Position players claim six of the top seven spots and 12 of the first 15 on our rankings of the 20 best collegians available in 2023.

The Southeastern Conference has won four of the last five College World Series and dominates this list as well with nine players, including the top four prospects: Louisiana State outfielder Dylan Crews, Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander, Mississippi shortstop Jacob Gonzalez and Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford.

1. Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State
A top prospect in high school until he took himself out of the 2020 Draft, Crews batted .349/.463/.691 as a sophomore, though his stock took a slight hit when he batted .158 with a 30 percent strikeout rate in a dozen games with the U.S. collegiate national team. He stands out most with his power and hitting ability, and he also has solid speed, a non-zero chance to stick in center field and the arm to profile in right.

2. Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
While there's some debate about the top position player in the college class, Dollander is clearly the best pitcher. In his first season at Tennessee after transferring from Georgia Southern, he captured SEC pitcher of the year honors by going 10-0 with a 2.39 ERA and a 108/13 K/BB ratio in 79 innings. He throws strikes with four pitches, the best of which are a mid-90s fastball that reaches 99 mph with carry and a mid-80s slider that touches 91.

3. Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi
Gonzalez's numbers dipped as a sophomore, though he still batted .273/.405/.558 with 18 homers and more walks than strikeouts, and he accounted for all three of Mississippi's runs in the CWS clincher to give the Rebels their first national championship. He has at least average big league power, controls the strike zone and has the athleticism and arm strength to remain at shortstop.

4. Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
After collecting just four at-bats as a freshman, Langford led the SEC with a school-record 26 homers last spring while batting .355/.447/.719. He's similar to Crews and some scouts prefer Langford because he has a better right-handed swing as well as more speed and athleticism, though he has spent most of his college career in left field.

5. Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
The son of former big leaguer Jack Wilson, Jacob led NCAA Division I in strikeout rate (3 percent) while batting .358/.418/.585 last spring, then was the best hitter on the U.S. collegiate national team. He's a fundamentally sound hitter and defender with average speed and solid strength. He offers a higher floor but less ceiling than Gonzalez.

6. Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt
Bradfield was the fastest player in the 2020 Draft as a high schooler and retains that title in 2023 after showing top-of-the-scale speed while stealing 93 bases in 99 attempts in his first two seasons at Vanderbilt, including a perfect 46-for-46 last year. A no-doubt center fielder and career .327/.433/.456 hitter, he's more on-base machine than power threat, though he did sock eight homers last spring after going deep just once as a freshman.

7. Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian
Taylor lacks a true plus tool but does a little bit of everything, controlling the strike zone, generating power without selling out for it and looking steadier at the hot corner than he does in the middle infield. He produced nearly identical numbers in his freshman and sophomore seasons, batting a combined .319/.450/.574 with 25 homers and 25 steals.

8. Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
After getting battered for a 6.12 ERA as a freshman, Lowder rebounded to go 11-3 with a 3.08 ERA and a 105/26 K/BB ratio in 99 1/3 innings, win Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher of the year and establish himself as the top arm on Team USA. His 92-94 mph fastball peaks at 97 mph, while both his mid-80s changeup and low-80s slider can be plus pitches.

9. Will Sanders, RHP, South Carolina
Scouts liked Sanders' projection when he was a Georgia high schooler, and he since has improved his fastball to 92-94 mph with a high of 96, refined a quality mid-80s changeup with fade and tightened his slider into a mid-80s weapon. He went 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA and a 91/31 K/BB ratio in 89 1/3 innings in the spring.

10. Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford
Scouts voted Troy the top prospect in the Cape Cod League after he hit .310/.386/.531 with wood bats, nearly matching his metal-bat numbers during the spring. He's a hit-over-power guy with good pitch-recognition skills, average range and similar arm strength, though he may profile better at second base than shortstop as a pro.

11. Travis Honeyman, OF, Boston College
Honeyman has some of the best all-around tools in the college crop and the potential for upward mobility as scouts get a better look at him. He was a reserve as a freshman and missed time as a sophomore and again in the Cape Cod League with leg injuries, but he also has batted .364/.470/.653 with wood bats in two years of summer ball, including 11 homers and 18 steals in 54 games. He has the ability to hit for average and power, plus speed, solid center-field skills and average arm strength.

12. Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech
Hurley put up monster numbers in a loaded Virginia Tech lineup last spring, batting .375/.452/.664 with 14 homers and 10 steals and outperforming No. 9 overall pick Gavin Cross. He makes a lot of hard contact despite a busy left-handed swing, and he also has plus speed and a shot at playing center field.

13. Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland
Shaw slammed 22 homers during the spring and then topped the Cape Cod League in hitting (.360), on-base percentage (.432), slugging (.574), OPS (1.006) and extra-base hits (17) en route to the summer circuit's MVP award. Scouts love his power and non-stop motor, but he lacks quickness and range at shortstop and likely will wind up at second or third base in pro ball.

14. Kyle Teel, C, Virginia
The best college catcher, Teel is extremely athletic for the position, possesses well above-average arm strength and could develop into a plus receiver. Whether he goes in the first round depends on his offensive production after he batted .276/.402/.439 last spring and struggled at the plate in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA.

15. Yohandry Morales, 3B, Miami
Morales has a big league body at 6-foot-4 and 209 pounds, and he fits the third-base profile with his plus power potential and arm strength. Though he batted .329/.411/.650 with 18 homers during the spring, he also struck out 60 times and comes with some swing-and-miss concerns.

16. Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida
The highest unsigned player in the 2019 Draft (seventh round, Rangers), Sproat boosted his stock by allowing just seven earned runs in his final six starts last spring while pushing his fastball to 99 mph and his slider to 91. The Mets took him in the third round without discussing financial parameters, and he turned them down to try to go higher in 2023. He also can miss bats with a low-80s curveball and mid-80s changeup, and if he can maintain the improved control and command he showed down the stretch, he could fit in the first round.

17. Tanner Witt, RHP, Texas
While the current college pitching crop is much healthier than a 2022 group that was riddled by injuries, Witt is the exception after requiring Tommy John surgery following two starts as a sophomore. He still could join his dad Kevin as a rare father-son duo of first-round picks if he regains 91-97 mph fastball with run and carry and upper-70s downer curveball when he returns in the second half of the upcoming season.

18. Paul Skenes, RHP, Louisiana State
One of college baseball's best two-way players last year at Air Force (10-3 with a 2.73 ERA and a 96/30 K/BB in 85 2/3 innings, .314/.412/.634 with 13 homers), Skenes is the best 2023 prospect in LSU's crazy-deep transfer class. He has a brighter future on the mound with a riding 93-95 mph fastball that tops out at 99, a power mid-80s slider and a firm upper-80s changeup that shows flashes of becoming a solid third offering.

19. Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
A seldom-used reliever as a Southern Mississippi freshman, Waldrep logged a 3.20 ERA with a 140/33 K/BB ratio in 90 innings as a starter last spring, ranking third in NCAA Division I in whiff rate (14.0 per nine innings) before transferring to Florida. His fastball parks at 94-96 mph and peaks at 98 mph, though it gets hit harder than his mid-80s slider and changeup, and his delivery creates some reliever risk.

20. Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
Wilken tied Wake Forest's freshman home run record with 17, then encored with 23 last spring while batting .272/.362/.602 -- albeit with 71 strikeouts. He might have the most raw power in the college class but there are questions about his ability to make consistent contact and remain at the hot corner, though he does have the requisite arm strength.

Others to watch (listed alphabetically)

Maui Ahuna, SS, Tennessee
Drew Bowser, 3B, Stanford
Ross Dunn, LHP, Arizona State
Jake Gelof, 3B, Virginia
Cade Kuehler, RHP, Campbell
Teddy McGraw, RHP, Wake Forest
Patrick Reilly, RHP, Vanderbilt
Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic