The 2023 MLB draft features a solid group of prospects, with the strength of the class being the college hitting. There also is a quality crop of high-end college pitchers who could go early in the 2023 MLB draft.
The three-day 2023 MLB draft begins July 9 in Seattle. MLB used a draft lottery to determine the first six picks in this year’s draft, with the Pittsburgh Pirates moving up to select first overall.
Plenty will change between now and draft day. Here is a look at my first mock draft for the 2023 MLB draft cycle:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Crews has performed extremely well in his three years at LSU. He opted out of the 2020 draft to attend LSU, where he has enhanced his draft stock. Scouts considered him an early-round pick out of high school, and now he’s the odds-on favorite to go first overall. He is a five-tool player with a chance to stick in center field long-term.
2. Washington Nationals: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Dollander had two college offers out of high school and started his career at Georgia Southern. He transferred to Tennessee after his freshman year and has taken his game to a completely different level under highly-respected pitching coach Frank Anderson. Dollander is a complete pitcher with a quality four-pitch mix headlined by his high-90s fastball. Scouts consider Dollander the best college pitching prospect in at least 10 years.
3. Detroit Tigers: Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
Skenes has been nearly unhittable so far this season after transferring from Air Force. The righty has the size (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) and an above-average fastball and slider combination scouts seek from a potential ace of a rotation.
4. Texas Rangers: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
Some scouts have Langford higher than Crews in the 2023 MLB draft. But Langford doesn’t have the track record Crews has had at the plate. Langford is a five-tool player. He might have a chance to play center field in the future but probably profiles better in right field long-term.
5. Minnesota Twins: Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Ind.) Community HS
Clark has been on scouts’ radars since his freshman year. The prep star has an advanced toolset with an above-average approach at the plate. He drives the ball effortlessly to all fields and will remain in center field in pro ball.
6. Oakland Athletics: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick (N.C.) HS
Jenkins is a left-handed hitter who hits for average and above-average power. He consistently barrels up pitches to drive the ball to all parts of the field. Defensively, some scouts believe he will move from center field to right field in pro ball.
7. Cincinnati Reds: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss
Gonzalez has the talent, skill set and potential to go in the first three picks. He is a quality hitter due to his contact skills and understanding of the strike zone. The left-handed hitter also shows an ability to hit for power. Defensively, he might have to move off shortstop in pro ball.
8. Kansas City Royals: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Wilson is the son of long-term MLB shortstop Jack Wilson. The younger Wilson has a well-balanced toolset. He has an advanced contact-oriented approach and consistently drives the ball into the games. Defensively, Wilson will remain in shortstop long-term.
9. Colorado Rockies: Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian
Taylor is an offensive-first player who makes consistent content and drives the ball into the gaps. He hits for average and power and has tallied more walks than strikeouts at TCU.
10. Miami Marlins: Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
Waldrep overwhelms hitters with his four-pitch mix. He generates plenty of strikeouts with his devastating fastball and slider combination. He has plenty of upside and will only enhance his value with a strong showing in SEC play.
11. Los Angeles Angels: Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt
Bradfield is off to a slow start this spring but has a solid track record of success. He profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter with some power potential. He has the skills to remain in center field.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks: Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS
Mitchell is an exciting two-way player, but most teams view him as a catcher first, with pitching as a fallback option. The left-handed hitter drives the ball to all fields. He is athletic, moves well behind the plate and possesses elite arm strength.
13. Chicago Cubs: Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell (Fla.) HS
Miller had surgery on a broken hamate bone this spring but he remains one of the top prep players in the draft. The right-handed hitter hits for easy above-average power. He profiles well at third base in pro ball.
14. Boston Red Sox: Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest (Fla.) HS
Nimmala is really projectable. He is an aggressive hitter who is more power-over-hit. His power potential is intriguing, especially for someone who might remain at shortstop in the future.
15. Chicago White Sox: Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
Lowder doesn’t have the upside as some of the other top pitchers in this year’s class. But he profiles as a durable and reliable starter in pro ball. He repeats his delivery well and throws a lot of strikes. He also owns one of the top changeups in this class.
16. San Francisco Giants: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) HS
Meyer is the top prep arm in the draft class right now. He has an above-average high-90s fastball and a quality slider. He also attacks the strike zone with his pitch mix.
17. Baltimore Orioles: Kevin McGonigle, SS, Monsignor Bonner (Pa.) HS
McGonigle is one of the top hitters in the prep class. He is an aggressive hitter with a quality approach and doesn’t expand the strike zone. He consistently squares up the baseball and drives the ball into the gaps.
18. Milwaukee Brewers: Tommy Troy, SS/2B, Stanford
The Brewers have sought up-the-middle college performers in recent years. Troy fits that profile exactly. He has experience playing second base and shortstop but likely profiles best as an offensive-minded second baseman. The right-handed hitter hits for average and power with impressive plate discipline. He rarely strikeouts and does a nice job of not expanding the strike zone.
19. Tampa Bay Rays: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami
Morales is a quality college performer who hits for above-average power to all fields. Defensively, Morales has the skills and arm strength to remain at third base.
20. Toronto Blue Jays: Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland
Shaw is a well-rounded player. He hits for average and power and shows solid plate discipline. He also offers some defensive versatility, but teams likely will try him at shortstop to start his pro career.
21. St. Louis Cardinals: Will Sanders, RHP, South Carolina
Sanders has made notable strides to develop into a potential first-round pick this year. He has quality size and a big-time fastball. He has quality stuff but needs to continue to refine his command.
22. Seattle Mariners: Cade Kuehler, RHP, Campbell
Kuehler has an above-average fastball that touches the high-90s. He also has notable fastball metrics due to its spin rates. His slider is an above-average breaking pitch, and his curveball also is a strikeout offering.
23. Cleveland Guardians: Colt Emerson, SS, Glenn (Ohio) HS
Emerson is a left-handed hitting shortstop that isn’t flashy but just a consistent high-producing player. He is an advanced hitter who understands the strike zone and drives the ball into the gaps. He profiles as an up-the-middle player.
24. Atlanta Braves: Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
Wilken is a big-time power hitter. He crushes the baseball from the right side of the plate. He needs to continue to perform better against breaking pitches and improve his contact rate. Scouts would like to see Wilken improve more defensively at third base.
25. San Diego Padres: Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian (Fla.) HS
Soto has quality size and a respectable fastball and slider combination. His fastball is an electric offering, consistently hitting the high-90s. He throws hard and has a starter’s build. He needs to develop a quality third pitch.
26. New York Yankees: Kyle Teel, C, Virginia
Teel is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher known for his advanced athleticism and ability to hit for average and power from the left side of the plate.
27. Philadelphia Phillies: Travis Honeyman, OF, Boston College
Honeyman is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder with an all-around toolset that allows him to impact the game in numerous ways. Scouts rave about his contact ability and power potential.
28. Houston Astros: Bryce Eldridge, RHP, Madison (Va.) HS
Eldridge is a 6-foot-7, 219-pound two-way player. Scouts are split on Eldridge’s long-term position. The left-handed hitter hits the ball hard and possesses above-average raw power. He is a respectable defender at first base. On the mound, Eldridge has a higher upside. The righty throws a mid-90s fastball with an effective slider.
29. Seattle Mariners: Colin Houck, SS, Parkview (Ga.) HS
Houck is a quality hitter who drives the ball into the gaps. Most of his power goes to his pull side in left field. He has above-average arm strength and will make a case to stay at shortstop in pro ball.
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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.