With the summer showcase circuit all but over for the high schoolers hoping to be early Draft picks in 2023, it’s time to take a look at how the class stacks up as of now.
Many of the players listed below are continuing to show off their skills with Team USA, which serves as a bit of an exclamation point for a typically busy summer for players and scouts. After conferring with several scouts who evaluated these players at multiple events, here’s a top 20, knowing full well this list will change a whole lot once the spring season gets going next year.
1. Max Clark, OF, Franklin HS (Ind.)
While he hasn’t had the most productive summer at the bat, Clark remains the clear-cut top prep player in the country, one who has all five tools at his disposal. He’s now about to play for Team USA in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup that begins in Bradenton, Fla. on Friday.
2. Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS (N.C.)
Jenkins’ summer was upended by a hamate injury, and he tried to rush back for Team USA trials, leading to a less than optimal performance. Scouts expect to see his plus bat and innate knack for finding the barrel on display once healthy in the spring.
3. Blake Mitchell, C/RHP, Sinton HS (Texas)
Mitchell is an intriguing two-way player who is currently playing for Team USA. Scouts tend to prefer him behind the plate, where he has the chance to be an offensive force at a premium position. The plus arm that fires 95 mph fastballs from the mound works back there, too.
4. Travis Sykora, RHP, Round Rock HS (Texas)
The top arm in the class, Sykora is a 6-foot-5 right-hander with stuff to match his size. He can throw his fastball in the 95-98 mph range while showing the ability to miss bats with his upper-80s slider and solid splitter.
5. Aidan Miller, 3B, JW Mitchell HS (Fla.)
Miller, also a Team USA member, was all the talk in Los Angeles during the All-Star break, winning MVP honors in the High School All-American Game and then winning the high school home run derby to boot. He’s cemented himself as one of the best high school bats in the class.
6. Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Mass.)
White hadn’t been seen much before this summer, and he picked his spots but showed enough in the PDP League and East Coast Pro Showcase to make him one of the top prep arms in the class. The 6-foot-5 southpaw featured a fastball that was up to 96-97 mph, a high-spin breaking ball in the upper-70s that misses bats and showed glimpses of what could be a very good low-80s changeup.
7. Kevin McGonigle, SS/2B, Monsignor Bonner HS (Pa.)
A member of the USA Baseball 18U team, McGonigle just hits. Everywhere he goes, he shows off a professional approach and extremely impressive bat-to-ball skills, including during PDP League play and the High School All-American Game. He’s a solid left-handed-hitting middle infielder who might end up at second base, where he could take after his favorite player, Chase Utley.
8. Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
Hailing from the same high school as former first-rounder and current Phillies pitching prospect Mick Abel, Meyer is another lanky 6-foot-5 right-hander with tons of projection and really good stuff. He’s already added velocity to his fastball, touching as high as 98 mph, and he combines that with a mid-80s slider that misses a ton of bats.
9. Dylan Cupp, SS, Cedartown HS (Ga.)
Another Team USA participant, Cupp is the best bet at the top of the 2023 class to stick at shortstop long-term, with excellent range, good hands and more than enough arm to stick at the premium spot. A solid runner, he has outstanding contact skills with the chance to grow into more pop.
10. Dillon Head, OF, Homewood-Flossmoor Community HS (Ill.)
There’s bat speed and the knack for contact to spare with Head. He’s shown the ability to register some high exit velocities, and he has the speed to make an impact on the basepaths and in the outfield.
11. Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian HS (Fla.)
Soto checks off a lot of boxes, from his 6-foot-5 athletic frame to his stuff to the fact he’ll still be 17 at next year’s Draft. His fastball is already 94-98 mph with glimpses of excellent command. He’ll flash a plus slider and a very good splitter he calls a changeup.
12. Eric Bitonti, INF, Aquinas HS (Calif.)
Bitonti is a 6-foot-4 left-handed-hitting infielder who showed the ability to impact the baseball all summer, with a good approach at the plate and plenty of power to come. He probably moves to third in the future, but has moved very well for his size at shortstop.
13. Roch Cholowsky, SS, Hamilton HS (Ariz.)
The son of Reds scout Dan Cholowsky, Roch is a multi-sport athlete who could have the chance to play football at UCLA should he want to go that route. He wasn’t seen much over the summer because he was preparing for football season, but he’s super athletic, looks the part at shortstop and can swing the bat.
14. Cameron Johnson, LHP, Bishop McNamara HS (Md.)
Johnson is a big left-hander with a high-spin fastball that can sit in the mid-90s and is tough to pick up. He complements it with a nasty upper-70s slider that has missed a ridiculous amount of bats all summer, and he’ll show the makings of a solid changeup. He’ll be pitching for Team USA.
15. Adam Hachman, LHP, Timberland HS (Mo.)
Hachman joins Johnson as a premium southpaw on the USA Baseball staff, one who lit up radar guns at the East Coast Professional Showcase. There were reports of him flirting with triple digits, mixing in a solid low-80s breaking ball and a harder changeup.
16. Bryce Eldridge, RHP/1B, James Madison HS (Wash.)
After missing the spring (as a pitcher) due to a hamstring issue, Eldridge has been very impressive on both sides of the ball this summer. He definitely has raw pop at the plate, but scouts might like him better on the mound, where he’s been up to 96 mph with his fastball and has shown off a very effective low-80s slider.
17. Zander Mueth, RHP, Belleville East HS (Ill.)
While he didn’t throw as well as expected in PDP League action, Mueth was better later in the summer at East Coast Pro. The athletic right-hander has a sinking fastball he throws up to 95 mph and a low-80s slider that misses bats, all coming from a lower arm slot that makes him tough to pick up.
18. George Lombard, SS, Gulliver Schools HS (Fla.)
His dad played parts of six seasons in the big leagues, and George Jr. has some pretty impressive tools, too. He’s a terrific athlete who runs well and has shown the ability to drive the ball, with more power to come. He has the footwork and range to play short, but he could outgrow the position, with a move to second a possibility.
19. Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS (Fla.)
Guys who can definitely stay up the middle will always draw interest. And Nimmala has every chance to stick at short, with good range and enough arm. Add in a swing that scouts like with definite power potential and he’s the type who could move up rankings in the spring.
20. Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS (Ga.)
Houck may have done more to improve his stock at events like East Coast Pro and the Area Code Games as any prepster in the class. He’s super-athletic, serving as Parkview’s quarterback as well, with some serious baseball tools of note. He’s 6-foot-3 with power he showed off at both events, albeit with a little swing-and-miss. He might have to move to third, but the bat could play.
Others of note (listed alphabetically): Antonio Anderson, SS, North Atlanta HS (Ga.); Gavin Grahovac, OF, Villa Park HS (Calif.); Braden Holcomb, 3B, Foundation Academy (Fla.); Roman Martin, INF, Servite HS (Calif.); Liam Peterson, RHP, Calvary Christian HS (Fla.); Duce Robinson, OF, Pinnacle HS (Ariz.); Zion Rose, C, Brother Rice HS (Ill.); Campbell Smithwick, C, Oxford HS (Miss.)