OMAHA, Neb. – The 2023 MLB draft is less than a month away, and some of the top players in this year’s class are playing in the College World Series.
Below are 2023 prospects that stood out to me while covering the College World Series this year.
Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Dylan Crews is a special player. It’s easy to see why scouts rave about his skill set, potential and what he can bring to a MLB organization. Besides having five tools, Crews has a calm and confident demeanor with a team-first mindset.
At the plate, Crews showed a quick right-handed swing with the ability to drive the ball with authority when he connected. He blasted a home run to right field against Tennessee. Crews has a knack for driving the ball the opposite way, with 14 of his 18 home runs this season going to center or right field.
Defensively, Crews has made notable strides in center field. In the College World Series, he covered a ton of ground in center field due to his athleticism, displaying great jumps and crisp routes. He also showed solid arm strength.
“He’s the best player in college baseball, and he’s on our team,” LSU designated hitter Cade Beloso said. “He does what he does. He’s one of the most complete players I’ve ever seen. I watch MLB baseball every day. That speaks measures to him. He always comes through in big moments. He’s like our catalyst for the offense. He gets things rolling and just gives the rest of us confidence.”
Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
It’s easy to see why scouts really like Brayden Taylor. The left-handed hitting third baseman has a smooth swing built for hitting line drives to all parts of the field. He also showed patience and a strong eye at the plate, including against Florida star lefty pitcher Jac Caglianone when he worked a full count and then had an RBI hit into center field.
Taylor also has pop in his bat. In an elimination game against Florida, Taylor nearly delivered the game-tying run, lacing a ball to deep center field. It appeared to have a chance to go over the fence off the bat. But with the wind blowing in, it allowed Florida’s Michael Robertson to make an unbelievable catch at the wall to seal the victory. Taylor crushed it, and in most ballparks, it had the distance to be a home run.
Defensively, Taylor showed athleticism, range and a strong arm. He has the skill set to be a respectable defensive player in pro ball.
Tre’ Morgan, 1B, LSU
Morgan was the Tigers’ top hitter in the games I covered at the College World Series. He showed quality plate discipline and squared up numerous pitches with his smooth left-handed swing. He doesn’t hit for a lot of power but drives the ball into the gaps and consistently puts together quality at-bats.
Defensively, Morgan played first base in Omaha, where he has played most of the season while occasionally getting a start in left field. Morgan has the tools to be a Gold Glove defensive first baseman in pro ball.
Morgan has plenty of range at first due to his athleticism. He can stretch to catch throws to first base that aren’t on line. He also shows solid arm strength and instincts at the position.
“He’s just one of those guys when you need him the most, you get the most,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said. “He’s one of those guys you could throw on a big league diamond right now, full stadium, and he’ll go out there and give you three or four quality at-bats. That’s what he’s doing for us, obviously playing exceptional first base. But the NCAA Tournament, he’s been spectacular.”
Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
Wyatt Langford is one of the top players in the 2023 MLB draft class. He is a five-tool player who has put together an extremely productive year.
On Wednesday against TCU, the right-handed hitter was selective at the plate and showed a great eye. He didn’t try to pull the ball and showed a swing made for hitting line drives. He has quality and simple hitting mechanics. Looking at his frame and build, Langford looks like a guy who will hit for plenty of power in pro ball.
Langford also displayed his athleticism. He stretched a single into a double on a soft hit into right-center field.
Josh Rivera, SS, Florida
Scouts project Josh Rivera as a potential early-round pick in the 2023 MLB draft. He looked impressive in their game against TCU on Wednesday.
The right-handed hitter showed quick hands and barrelled up a hanging breaking pitch to launch a two-run home run to left-center field as the wind blew in at Charles Schwab Field, a well-known pitchers’ park.
Defensively, Rivera showed athleticism and quality arm strength at shortstop. He made a beautiful play against TCU, making a long and accurate throw on a relay play to nab the baserunner at home plate.
Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
Brock Wilken didn’t have a loud performance in the Wake Forest games I covered at the College World Series. But he did show flashes of his ability on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Wilken had one hit, five strikeouts and two walks in the two games I saw him play. Wilken has notable size, and it’s easy to see why he was one of the top power hitters in college baseball this season. His plate discipline needs to improve for him to live up to his status as a potential first-round pick.
Wilken isn’t the most athletic, but he moves well enough to cover some ground at third base. He also boasts above-average arm strength. He probably can handle third base in pro ball but otherwise profiles well at first base.
Wilken made an impressive play against LSU on Monday when he moved to his right to field the ball and threw it home as his momentum carried him away from the bag. It was a close play at home, but Wilken’s accurate throw allowed the catcher to tag Morgan out.
“A lot of hard work from Brock,” Wake Forest coach Tom Walter said. “He’s changed his athleticism in his time that he’s been here and has gone from a 7.3 runner to 6.7 runner. He worked on his throwing arm and footwork.”
Do you enjoy reading Baseball Prospect Journal’s draft content? Support our work and become a Patron!
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.