The 2023 MLB draft is getting closer. It is almost one month away. Things have changed a bit since the last mock draft in March and more will change before July.
This year’s draft features a strong group of players at the top. The tier of the top five prospects is one of the best in recent years. After that, there is depth and a lot of parity among prospects, with the position player crop stronger than the pitchers.
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 the latest mock draft for the 2023 MLB draft cycle:
1. Pirates: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Crews is the best player in the 2023 MLB draft. He has produced for three years in the toughest conference in college baseball and boasts five-tool potential. He will move through a minor-league system quickly after he is drafted.
2. Nationals: Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
This is where the draft could get interesting. Most consider Skenes or Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford as the second-best player in the draft. Those two are the likely options for the Nationals, with Skenes getting the slight edge. He has dominated hitters this season. 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.
3. Tigers: 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.
4. Rangers: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick (N.C.) HS
Jenkins has performed well this spring to gain the status as the top prep player in this year’s draft class. He’s 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.
5. Twins: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss
Prep outfielder Max Clark has top-five-pick talent, but the Twins also like college hitters here. Gonzalez has the talent, skill set and potential to go in the top five. 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.
6. Athletics: 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.
7. Reds: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Dollander entered the year as the top pitcher in this year’s class. Some scouts considered him the best pitching prospect in at least 10 years. He hasn’t necessarily lived up to the high expectations this season, as his stuff hasn’t been as sharp as last year. He’s still has a quality pitch mix and ace potential.
8. Royals: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Wilson is the son of long-term MLB shortstop Jack Wilson. The younger Wilson is a gamer. He isn’t flashy but 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. Rockies: Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
Lowder might not have the upside as some of the other top pitchers in this year’s class. Lowder profiles as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter that’s durable and reliable 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.
10. Marlins: Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt
The Marlins’ recent first-round picks have not panned out. It sounds like the Marlins will play it safer in this year’s draft, and Bradfield fits the bill. He is an up-the-middle player who can hit and play premium defense. He also is a threat on the bases due to his elite speed.
11. Angels: 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.
12. Diamondbacks: 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.
13. Cubs: Kyle Teel, C, Virginia
Teel’s name is floating around throughout the top half of the first round. He is even receiving some top-five buzz. 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.
14. Red Sox: 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.
15. White Sox: Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
Waldrep has top-10 potential but hasn’t been sharp this year. He didn’t develop in his lone season at Florida as most anticipated. There also was some questionable pitch calling that likely didn’t help with the results he experienced. He has ace potential and will likely thrive in a pro-player development system.
16. Giants: Thomas White, LHP, Phillips (Mass.) Academy
White has generated a lot of buzz this spring and is at the top of some team’s lists as the best prep arm in this year’s class. He is a high-ceiling player due to his size, above-average mid-90s fastball and quality secondary pitches.
17. Orioles: Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
Taylor was inconsistent at times this spring. But the potential is there, especially from the offensive side, where he projects as an impact left-handed bat in pro ball. He is young for a college player and still has a lot of projection left.
18. Brewers: Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford
The Brewers have sought up-the-middle college performers in recent years. The last time they drafted a high school player in the first round was Brice Turang in 2018. They could go down the prep route in July, but I wouldn’t bet on it right now.
Troy fits the Brewers’ desired profile. 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. Rays: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) HS
Meyer is in the mix as potentially the top prep arm in the draft class. He has an above-average high-90s fastball and a quality slider. He also attacks the strike zone with his pitch mix.
20. Blue Jays: 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.
21. Cardinals: 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.
22. Mariners: Nolan Schanuel, 1B/OF, Florida Atlantic
Schanuel is generating a lot of first-round interest, especially by analytically driven teams, and rightfully so. He is a complete player with an advanced feel for the strike zone that can hit for average and power and is athletic defensively. Schanuel isn’t the typical college first baseman. He played outfield in high school, and teams believe he can play well in a corner spot in pro ball.
The Mariners have a lot of options, especially with also having the 29th and 30th picks. Schanuel would likely command a slightly below-slot deal, allowing the Mariners to use the savings at their next two picks. They also would end up with a quality college performer.
23. 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. Braves: Chase Davis, OF, Arizona
Davis may have the most steam of any player mentioned in the first round of the 2023 MLB draft. He’s improved at the plate in so many areas. He has displayed an ability to hit for average and a lot of power this season. He also has really improved his plate discipline.
25. Padres: 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.
26. Yankees: Sammy Stafura, SS, Panas (N.Y.) HS
Stafura is an intriguing Northeast prep shortstop who has really enhanced his draft status this year. He consistently makes hard contact and can remain at shortstop in the future. He also is a tremendous athlete.
27. Phillies: Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
Wilken is a big-time power hitter. He crushes the baseball from the right side of the plate. He has made strides at the plate. Scouts would like to see him continue to perform better against breaking pitches and improve his contact rate in the future.
28. Astros: 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.
29. Mariners: 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. But teams like that Soto doesn’t turn 18 until Aug. 31 and rave about his untapped potential.
30. Mariners: George Lombard Jr., SS, Gulliver Prep (Fla.) HS
Lombard has a lot of interest in the 20s, as he has improved his draft stock this year. His size, well-rounded skill set and potential stand out to scouts. Lombard has MLB bloodlines and can really hit. He has all the tools and instincts to handle shortstop but might fit best at third base.
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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.