2023 MLB MOCK DRAFT 2.0; Dylan Crews On Top

The second MLB Mock Draft of 2023 and this is the draft for mid-infielders and outfielders. There isn’t a shortstop that stands out like a Marcelo Mayer or Carlos Correa, but you have Alec Bohm and Matt McLain-type prospects that could really provide a punch at the higher levels. And the best thing about them is they can play anywhere in the field. Many of the outfielders in this draft remind me of the old school Steve Finley or Grady Sizemore kind of players. Each are very toosly, and with the right development can fly through the minors. Let’s get into it!

1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
At this point there isn’t any contenders who can wear the crown. Crews was one of the leaders of the Tigers roster this past season, batting .349 with an OPS of 1.153, 22 homers and 72 RBIs in 62 games. He was also a top-tier high school prospect in 2020. Crews’ comps sit somewhere between Brady Clark, Grady Sizemore and even some Joc Pederson in his game. I’ve even heard Mike Trout, but let’s slow down on that comp. He’s the no-brainer choice to go number one.

2. Washington Nationals: Paul Skenes, RHP/1B, LSU
Skenes has really upped his draft stock with a solid 2023 campaign so far. While his fastball and slider are his most notable pitches, there’s something about his cutter that intrigues me. He can place it anywhere he wants and has a certain confidence when he throws it that I only imagine will become his finisher. He’s dynamic at the plate too, and has a pretty solid glove in the field, so whoever drafts him will have to have a plan in place how they want to use him. Most believe he’s a future mid-rotation horse, but with his 6’6″ 235 pound frame, and the way he barrels the ball, it’s hard to contain this talent to just the pen. I think the early assumptions of him were he couldn’t handle a rotation spot. Yeah, that’s bull. He’s an ace in the making if a team chooses to have him on the bump.

3. Detroit Tigers: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
While all eyes were on Jud Fabian, Sterlin Thompson and Hunter Barco, Langford was quietly becoming a star for the Florida Gators last season. He was a hitting machine, smacking .356 with 63 RBIs, and 26 dingers in 66 games. His 1.166 OPS is ridiculous. His production in the summer also revealed that this isn’t a fluke. It’s scary that he’s only getting better. So far this season he’s set himself up to become a top-five selection— no doubt.

4. Texas Rangers: Max Clark, OF, Franklin Community HS (IN)
Clark wowed this season in Indiana. He’s currently committed to Vanderbilt, and it’s no wonder why. He has the best all-around toolset in the 2023 class. Raw power, plus arm, the bat speed is there and his exit velos get scouts excited for what he could become. This isn’t Blaze Jordan 2.0. This is Max Clark 1.0.

5. Minnesota Twins: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Tennessee has always had a fine program. In the last few years, they’ve been a top-10 program. While hitters are always popping out of there, this season, all eyes have been on ace righty Chase Dollander. Some say Dollander represents the best college arm available in any draft since Stephen Strasburg. His slider sits at the top of his class and his overall big league arsenal challenges modern day development and asks the question: could he pitch in the majors right now?

6. Oakland A’s: Walter Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS (NC)
Jenkins power isn’t sneaky, it’s been there right in front of our faces. He’s a classic thumper who barrels up with a lot of bat speed to all fields. And he isn’t just power, his hit tool has a chance to go above 60 as well.

7. Cincinnati Reds: Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt
Maybe one of the fastest players in the past ten drafts, Bradfield is a burner on the field and on the bases. He maintains an 80-grade speed since his high school days and he’s not a power guy, instead, more of your classic lead off guy. But you can put him at the top or bottom of any lineup and expect results. If he improves his strength to show more power, we could be talking about a top-three guy here. I could see him going top-five, but top-10 makes a little more sense. Don’t be surprised if the Marlins have a chance to get him. They would love his talents down in south beach.

8. Kansas City Royals: Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest;
Lowder brings it. There’s a lot of Alek Manoah in his game. His two-seamer sits at 97, and his changeup is a plus-pitch. Righty or lefty bats don’t matter; he eats them all up. There’s more in the tank coming as well. He’s a college arm who could compete for the top-pitcher grabbed when July’s draft rolls around.

9. Colorado Rockies: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss
Gonzalez was a bat out of hell during his 2021 freshman campaign at Ole Miss. He started hot in 2022, but slumped down the stretch. When the Rebels entered the postseason, he lit back up. He has a mature approach to the plate, taking more walks than K’s, which is good to see for someone his age. He’s got soft hands and quick feet at shortstop, too, so I expect him to hang there. This season he’s getting on base an driving in runs at a constant pace.

10. Miami Marlins: Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech
Miami needs a top-10 outfielder in their system. When they traded JJ Bleday to the Athletics, they took away their only proven outfielder. Hurley isn’t talked about much at the moment, but he’s mashing the ball down in Blacksburg. His stock is going to rise, and it might not be as far as a top-10 as I have here, but I expect teams will start to fall in love with him closer to the draft.

11. Los Angeles Angels: Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
If you’ve followed my mock drafts, you know I’m always high on Florida pitchers. The Gators could be considered ‘Pitcher University’ with the names they’ve produced the past 20 years. Enter latest ace, Hurston Waldrep. He’s a right-handed gem with a plus-plus fastball and a mid-80s slider that has a devastating break hitters despise. His changeup could use some work but this kid has one of the highest ceilings of any player in this draft. He’s having a topsy-turvy 2023, which will hurt his stock, but I still expect him to hang around the top-20.

12. Arizona Diamondbacks: Aidan Miller, 3B, JW Mitchell HS (FL)
Incredible bat speed that has the potential for double-plus power, Miller performed so well in the summer showcase that he’s risen on every board. He’s got long arms, fluid wrist action, and great bat-to-ball mechanics. His defense is no joke either.

13. Chicago Cubs: Jacob Wilson, IF, Grand Canyon University
A more mature bat than most his age, Wilson is about has productive as they come. His approach at the plate you just don’t see from small school guys. I want to see what he does against better arms; that will be the true test for the California native.

14. Boston Red Sox: Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (MA)
White has been known for sometime in the class. He’s got a premium body that’s developed nicely for a future big leaguer. There’s a ton of deception with his short-arm three-quarters delivery that frustrates hitters when trying to pick up his stuff. He’s also got large hands, which for a southpaw, is nice to see. He projects as a future starter.

15. Chicago White Sox: Kyle Teel, C, Virginia
Is Teel one of the best catchers in the last few years? No. I compare his game to a past prospect, now with the Detroit Tigers, Dillon Dingler. He can definitely hit and his power is spotty, but the power is still there, regardless of what others say. Thing is, will his hit tools still be there at higher levels? I’m thinking they’ll plateau. Dingler has had a hard time figuring it out in double-A. Teel could run into the same thing. Still, his ceiling is high and his floor is low, so I can see a team taking him in the middle of the first based on his ceiling alone.

16. San Francisco Giants: Kevin McGonigle, IF, Monsignor Bonner HS (PA)
McGonigle should stay at second base long term. He works well with whoever is at shortstop and can also be a .300, double-digit homer run guy at the plate too. Think Matt McLain or Ian Kinsler.

17. Baltimore Orioles: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS
If there is a hidden gem in the first round it’s Meyer. His game is smooth. He looks bigger than 6’5″, and I’m sure he’s still growing. At 18-years old, his fastball can touch 98 consistently, and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to say he could hit 99 or 100 one day. I don’t want to get too excited about him, though, because it’s always hard to evaluate high schoolers accurately without talented bats to go against. If Meyer falls out of the top-20, I could see him staying true to his Oregon commitment and ride it out a couple years in college in hopes to get that top-10 money in a future draft.

18. Milwaukee Brewers: Tommy Troy, IF/OF, Stanford
Troy can play anywhere at a high rate. No one tool stands out for him, which could affect his draft stock, but if you stand back and just watch him, it’s not the lack of tools that should be focused on, it should be how he does everything right. His makeup. He’s mature at the plate. He comes up with the big hit when his team needs it. He rarely makes mistakes in the field. He’s a mix of Tommy Edman, Darin Erstad and Mark Kotsay rolled into one. While for some front offices that might be a boring pick, I look at him as a safe pick with high upside. You could put this guy in any lineup in any spot and he’ll find a way to succeed.

19. Tampa Bay Rays: Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS (FL)
Nimmala is a young player. He will only be 17-years-old on draft day. Any team drafting him will have to wait a while to see him in the bigs. Nevertheless, his tools pop on video. His smooth, fluid swing makes the ball blast off his bat at obscene exit velos.

20. Toronto Blue Jays: Cade Kuehler, RHP, Campbell
My dude has a 99 heater. Need I say more? His slider is sick, his changeup he’s used as a nice finisher at times and he’s always getting ahead of his hitters in the count. That’s important for a young arm. He’s on my list of high-risers in future mocks.

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Blake Mitchell, C/RHP, Stinton HS (TX)
Mitchell is what you picture when thinking of a classic high school star. He can do it all. He reminds me of a Bryce Harper when he was gaining notoriety early-on. He has loud tools. On the mound, he hits low-90s with his fastball and shows a slider that has some life. His main gig is as a left-handed hitting backstop who has raw power and a feel for driving the ball. It’s hard to say if he’ll stick behind the plate or on the mound, and there is even talk that he could become a future infielder.

22. Seattle Mariners: Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
Wilken reminds me of Alec Bohm; mixed with Nolan Gorman with a dash of Jace Jung. He knows how to find his pitch and take advantage of it. This past spring he hit 23 homers, and what’s scary is we haven’t even seen all of his power yet. He’s maintained a solid 2023 so far, but he needs to limit his strikeouts. A little plate discipline will go a long way with this prospect.

23. Cleveland Guardians: Brayden Taylor, IF, TCU
Taylor checks a lot of boxes. He’s not going to mash the ball over the fence a lot, but he makes constant contact and has shown flashes that he can hit to all fields. He’s also a decorated prospect, garnering honors 2021 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, 2021 1st-team D1 Baseball Freshman All-American, 2021 1st-team Perfect Game Freshman All-American, 2022 2nd-team All-Big 12, 2022 USA baseball Collegiate National team member among many more.

24. Atlanta Braves: Maui Ahuna, SS, Tennessee
He’s still too anxious at the plate with his high strikeout rates this season, but when he’s on, he’s on. There’s star potential in his game, that with the right coaching, he could become a top-10 selection. It’ll take a lot of hard work, but Ahuna has the skill set to make it happen if the mental game catches up. Still, he can barrel up the ball and takes advantage of junk pitches with ease. Any team selecting him will have to be patient.

25. San Diego Padres: Colt Emerson, SS, John Glenn (OH)
He’s a tall, lanky shortstop who reminds me a lot of last year’s draft prospect Peyton Graham out of Oklahoma. He’s got super sonic hands at the plate and in the field. A soft glove and a solid arm, both of which should keep him at shortstop long-term. He’ll need to add more muscle at the next level, much like Jackson Holliday from last year, but his strong summer performance really put him on the map.

26. New York Yankees: Tanner Witt, RHP, Texas
I’m always leery about putting pitchers who are recovering from TJ in my first round mock drafts. But I really, really like what Tanner Witt brings to the table. He’s a fun pitcher to watch. He can touch 99 with a snap dragon curveball. He came back early for Texas. In his three games he’s been lit up each time. I don’t want to drop him out of my first round, so it’ll take him being absolutely lost to do so. He’s still shaking the rust off.

27. Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Madison HS (VA)
There’s always exciting two-way players in the draft. A couple of my favorites in recent years were Brendan McKay and Spencer Jones. Eldridge profiles similar to them. He’s a towering 6’7″, 219 pounds with great bat-to-ball skills from the left side of the plate. He’s hard to pitch to because he can hit successfully all over the dish. On the mound, his fastball can reach mid-to-upper 90s and his low-80s slider is as solid as his changeup.

28. Houston Astros: Travis Honeyman, OF, Boston College
Honeyman can play all three outfield positions because he’s a plus defender. He had a very productive 2022 and raked on the Cape to improve his draft stock. If he can prove scouts wrong that his bat projects as just above average, he could soar farther up the board.

29. (Compensation 1) Seattle Mariners: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami
Miami has had some dudes the past few years. Somehow, though, Morales’ name kept showing up. He was little known because he was in the shadows of his predecessors, but not anymore. Morales had a very impressive spring. He hit 18 homers and even led Team USA with a .400 batting average. Make no mistake, the 6’4″ hot corner is for real.

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