2023 MLB Draft: BPJ Staff Draft 1.0

The 2023 MLB draft is about two months away. MLB teams are actively scouting players in preparation for the draft. At Baseball Prospect Journal, Dan Zielinski and Logan Quinton have actively covered the draft prospects in this year’s class.

The two Baseball Prospect Journal writers have conducted a staff draft for the first time. As you read the staff draft, you will notice it is college-heavy. That mostly has to do with the track record of these prospects, the strengths in this year’s class and our draft preference. 

This is not a mock draft, as we aren’t picking players based on what a team will do. Instead, we are making the picks based on our evaluations of each prospect and what we would do if we were selecting for that specific team.

Logan Quinton also breaks down three picks that stood out to him during the staff draft. Make sure to read his thoughts after the draft below.

1.PiratesDZDylan CrewsOFLSU
2.NationalsLQPaul SkenesRHPLSU
3.TigersDZWyatt LangfordOFFlorida
4.RangersLQMax ClarkOFFranklin Community (Ind.)
5.TwinsDZChase DollanderRHPTennessee
6.AthleticsLQWalker JenkinsOFSouth Brunswick (N.C.)
7.RedsDZJacob GonzalezSSOle Miss
8.RoyalsLQJacob WilsonSSGrand Canyon
9.RockiesDZColin HouckSSParkview (Ga.)
10.MarlinsLQArjun NimmalaSSStrawberry Crest (Fla.)
11.AngelsDZRhett LowderRHPWake Forest
12.DiamondbacksLQKyle TeelCVirginia
13.CubsDZHurston WaldrepRHPFlorida
14.Red SoxLQBlake MitchellCStinton (Texas)
15.White SoxDZTommy TroySSStanford
16.GiantsLQEnrique BradfieldOFVanderbilt
17.OriolesDZMatt ShawSSMaryland
18.BrewersLQBryce EldridgeRHPJames Madison (Va.)
19.RaysDZNoble MeyerRHPJesuit (Ore.)
20.Blue JaysLQYohandy Morales3BMiami
21.CardinalsDZBrayden Taylor3BTCU
22.MarinersLQGeorge Lombard Jr.SSGulliver Prep (Fla.)
23.GuardiansDZAidan Miller3BMitchell (Fla.)
24.BravesLQChase DavisOFArizona
25.PadresDZWalker MartinSSEaston (Colo.)
26.YankeesLQBrock Wilken3BWake Forest
27.PhilliesDZJack HurleyOFVirginia Tech
28.AstrosLQColton LedbetterOFMississippi State
29.MarinersDZJuaron Watts-BrownRHPOklahoma State

Picks that Stand Out

Chase Dollander

Dollander has seen a dip in production this year, but we’re not confident that correlates to a massive slip in his potential selection here. The right-hander has expanded his pitch mix this season after a 2022 campaign that featured fastball/slider almost exclusively. Dollander has gained a feel for his changeup and curveball this season. The slider has been the dominant offering in 2023.

He will be key to the Vols’ success come tournament time. The question remains if he can get the fastball back to dominant fashion, much like we saw in his sophomore season at Tennessee. The velo is there. Command and spin rate continue to be somewhat concerning. Yet, he is still a prized pick for many organizations.

The way Dollander has battled through some of his issues has been impressive. This righty can develop a truly effective four-pitch mix in pro ball. We think the curveball and changeup have the potential to be average to above average.

Dollander did show improvement going into April and posted his best outing in SEC play against Vanderbilt on April 22, tossing seven innings with nine strikeouts and three walks. He gave up one earned run in the contest. – LQ

Jacob Wilson

Gonzalez and Wilson are sure to go in the top 10. We give the edge here to Gonzalez, but really it’s pick-your-potion. As polished as the two college shortstops are, we think they go first before the prep infielders. You could argue that Wilson has more steam than the Ole Miss product. But we’ll monitor. After all, it’s rumor season. 

Wilson has just five strikeouts on the year. Yes, you read that correctly. What’s perhaps more impressive? He’s walked 18 times while posting a .425 average.

Wilson has a high floor and is a true up-the-middle guy that plays hard. His name carries the cache, and his game backs it up. – LQ

Chase Davis

We’ve got Chase Davis going to the Braves at No.24 overall. This is the best player available, and honestly, we’re unsure if he will make it to this point of Day 1. Davis may have the most steam of any player mentioned in the first round. He’s improved at the plate in so many areas. So far this season, Davis is batting .371 with 19 home runs. The outfielder also has 38 walks to 36 strikeouts compared to 48 walks and 66 strikeouts in 2022.

The question is, does Atlanta break the mold here? The Braves haven’t taken a college outfielder in the top 100 since Jesse Franklin V in 2020’s five-round draft. The team has selected two college pitchers in Jared Shuster and Ryan Cusick in two of their last three first-round selections. Shuster (2020) and Cusick (2021) were picks 25 and 24, respectively. And both were from Wake Forest. Things that make you go: hmmmm … 

Really have a feeling Atlanta wants to take care of replenishing their organization’s outfield and positional depth. Do they go prep or college? 

If the Braves go with pitching, Cade Keuhler or Sean Sullivan (Wake!) could be in the mix, along with Juaron Watts-Brown. Keep an eye on OF Dillon Head for a prep option. – LQ

Read more in-depth stories on top 2023 MLB draft prospects at Baseball Prospect Journal.

Wanting to read more draft content? Check out our 2023 MLB Draft: Mock Draft 1.0.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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