10 Players To Watch During Sunday’s MLB Draft

Paul Skenes of LSU pitches during the fifth inning against the Wake Forest at Charles Schwab Field on June 22, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. Skenes is the top prospect heading into the 2023 MLB Draft. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network

The 2023 MLB draft will take place July 9 in Seattle, Washington at 7 p.m ET. This draft has 10 players that stand out, with three of them coming from the two teams that faced off in the championship of the College World Series. Louisiana State beat Florida in the third game of the final series 18-4 on June 26 to win the NCAA Championship. LSU’s Paul Skenes, a pitcher, and Dylan Crews, an outfielder are the top two prospects in this draft class. Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford is the third-ranked draft prospect.

Paul Skenes of the LSU Tigers greets fans after winning the NCAA College World Series baseball finals against the Florida Gators at Charles Schwab Field on June 26, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

1. Paul Skenes, RHP – Louisiana State — LSU junior right-handed starter Paul Skenes, 21 propelled himself to the top ranking with a monster performance that saw him win the Most Outstanding Player award at the College World Series. The righty is 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, and has a fastball that’s off the charts with a grade of 80 on MLB Pipeline’s scouting report. This was highlighted against Tennessee in a 6-3 win on June 17 in the College World Series.

Skenes maxed out at 102 mph and threw 46 fastballs that were 100 mph or greater, this is more than the MLB record of 39 which was set by Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene. Skenes was electric, striking out 12 batters and giving up two runs in 7.2 Innings against Tennessee. Skenes also won the National Pitcher of the Year and led Division I in strikeouts (209), strikeouts per nine (15.9), and WHIP (0.75)

Skenes pitched 122.2 innings with an ERA of 1.69 on the season. Skenes could be a two-way player at first base, and was the only player in the nation to have at least 10 home runs and 10 wins in 2022 at Air Force. He focused on pitching after transferring to LSU for the 2023 season.

Dylan Crews of the LSU Tigers runs to first base after hitting a single during the 11th inning against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Charles Schwab Field on June 22, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. LSU Tigers defeated Wake Forest Demon Deacons to advance to the NCAA College World Series Finals. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

2. Dylan Crews, OF – Louisiana State — LSU Junior outfielder Dylan Crews, 21, is right behind his teammate Skenes in the draft rankings. Crews won the Golden Spikes Award and was the best hitter on LSU’s championship team this season. The junior bats right-handed and is 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds. Crews burst onto the scene as a freshman, hitting 18 home runs and leading the Southeastern Conference in total bases with 163 in 2021. This performance won him the National Freshman of the Year award.

Crews continued to get better each season, hitting 22 home runs with an OPS of 1.153 in 2022. He was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and was a First Team All-American in 2022. This season, Crews had 18 home runs, 70 RBI, six stolen bases and a batting average of .426 with an OPS of 1.280. Crews won the Golden Spikes Award and the American Baseball Coaches Association Gold Glove for his outstanding defense in center field. He was also named the SEC Male Athlete of the Year and the SEC Player of the Year.

Wyatt Langford of the Florida Gators flips his bat after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals against the LSU Tigers at Charles Schwab Field on June 25, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

3. Wyatt Langford, OF – Florida — Florida junior outfielder Wyatt Langford, 21, was a late bloomer after only getting four at-bats his freshman year in 2021. A righty that broke out in his sophomore season in 2022, Langford hit 26 home runs with an OPS of 1.166. He was a First Team All-American and Second Team All-SEC in 2022. This season, Langford hit 21 home runs and had an OPS of 1.282. He also drove in 57 runs, hit for a .373 batting average and had an on-base percentage of .498.

Langford’s power was on full display during the College World Series. He hit two of the longest home runs in the history of Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb. The stadium opened in 2011, and Langford hit a 456-foot home run against Virginia pitcher Jake Berry in a 6-5 win on June 16. Langford followed that up with a 449-foot home run against LSU pitcher Blake Money in a 22-4 win on June 25. Langford also set a career-high with five hits in that game.

Langford was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, and he was First Team All-SEC in 2023.

4. Walker Jenkins, OF – South Brunswick High School (N.C.) — Outfielder Walker Jenkins, 18 graduated from South Brunswick High School in North Carolina. The left-handed hitting Jenkins is the top-rated player in the state, and won North Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year award in 2022 and 2023. Jenkins is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, and is the highest-rated high school player to come out of North Carolina since former MLB outfielder Josh Hamilton was selected first overall in the 1999 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jenkins committed to the University of North Carolina and will have to decide if he will go to school following the draft. He broke out in his junior season in 2022, hitting 10 home runs with a batting average of .527 in 93 at-bats. Jenkins was selected to play in the High School All-American Game at Dodger Stadium in 2022.

Jenkins followed it up by hitting for a batting average of .480 in his senior season.

5. Max Clark, OF – Franklin Community High School (Ind.) — Outfielder Max Clark, 18, graduated from Franklin Community High School in Indiana. Clark is a left-handed hitter who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds. The top-rated player in Indiana, he won the National Gatorade Player of the Year and hit six home runs, drove in 33 runs, and had an astounding batting average of .646 this past season. Clark has committed to playing at Vanderbilt and will have to decide if he wants to go pro on draft day.

Clarke has also played on Team USA, helping them win the U-18 World Cup in 2022. Clarke won the Indiana Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in both 2021 and 2022. Clarke is the best player to come out of Indiana since right-handed pitcher Bryan Bullington was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002.

Clark has elite speed, stealing 88 bases in three seasons at Franklin Community High School. He also pitched and was clocked at 97 mph.

Rhett Lowder of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the fourth inning during the ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on May 25, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

6. Rhett Lowder, RHP – Wake Forest University — Wake Forest right-handed pitcher Rhett Lowder, 21, is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. He had a rough transition to college baseball, posting an ERA of 6.12 in his freshman year in 2021. Lowder quickly rebounded and put together two stellar seasons for Wake Forest. In his sophomore season in 2022, Lowder went 11-3 with an ERA of 3.08 with 105 strikeouts in 99.1 innings, winning the ACC Pitcher of the Year award, and was a unanimous All-America selection. He was also named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Lowder maxes out at 97 mph with his fastball, and his best pitch is his changeup, which he throws in the mid 80s.

In 2023, he took another step forward in his junior season, leading the nation in wins with 15. He pitched 120.1 innings with an ERA of 1.87 and 143 strikeouts. He won the ACC Pitcher of the Year again and was First Team All-American and a finalist for the National Pitcher of the Year.

Kyle Teel of the Virginia Cavaliers catches during warm ups before the eighth inning against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on May 25, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

7. Kyle Teel, C – University of Virginia — Virginia catcher Kyle Teel, 21, is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds and a lefty batter who throws with his right hand. A New Jersey native, Teel was a Top 100 prospect coming out of Mahwah High School before he withdrew his name from the draft.

Teel started his career at Virginia in 2021 splitting time between catcher, right field and designated hitter. He was third-team all-ACC as a DH, hitting nine home runs and driving in 41 runs in 209 at bats.

In 2022, he started all 58 games at catcher and had six home runs, 45 RBI, and an OPS of .841. After 2022, he was selected to play on USA’s Collegiate National Team. In 2023, he hit 13 home runs with an OPS of 1.130 and was voted the ACC Player of the Year. He was also a first-team All-ACC.  

His father, Garett Teel, was drafted in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1998 draft and was a catcher and third baseman.

8. Noble Meyer, RHP – Jesuit High School (Oregon) — Right-handed pitcher Noble Meyer, 18, graduated from Jesuit High School in Oregon.  Meyer is 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, and follows in the footsteps of Philadelphia Phillies 2020 first-round pick Mick Abel, a fellow alum of Jesuit High School.

Meyer has hit triple digits with his fastball and consistently clocks around 97-98 mph. He also has a two-seam fastball and slider that hits the mid 80s. He committed to Oregon University and will have to decide once he’s drafted if he will go pro.

Meyer struck out 128 batters in 63 innings this season and had an ERA of 0.33. He also hit five home runs and drove in 27 runs with a batting average of .373.

Meyer played in the National High School Invitational where he pitched a complete game shutout and was also named the Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year.

Chase Dollander of the Tennessee Volunteers pitches against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second inning at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on March 24, 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

9. Chase Dollander, RHP – Tennessee — Tennessee Right-handed pitcher Chase Dollander, 21, entered the draft out of Greenbrier High School in Georgia, but he wasn’t picked, so he enrolled at Georgia Southern in 2021 and posted an ERA of 4.04 in 11 starts. In his debut, he struck out eight batters in 5.2 innings and gave up two runs against Tennessee.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound righty transferred to Tennessee for the 2022 season, where he went 10-0 in 16 starts, pitching 79 innings, striking out 108 batters and posting an ERA of 2.39. He was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year and was first team All-SEC that season.

Dollander tops out at 99 mph, and his best secondary pitch is his slider, backed up by a curveball. In his junior season in 2023, he pitched 89 innings with 120 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.75.

10. Jacob Wilson, SS – Grand Canyon University — Grand Canyon Shortstop Jacob Wilson, 21, is 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. Wilson is a righty, and he got off to a fast start as a third baseman in his freshman year in 2021 with an OPS of .816. He was named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball that season.

In 2022, he switched to shortstop, and his power at the plate surged. He hit 12 home runs, had an OPS of 1.004, and drove in 65 runs and had an on-base percentage of .418. He qualified for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team that summer and lead them in most offensive categories.

Wilson enjoyed his best season as a junior in 2023 with an OPS of 1.096. The most impressive part of his season was that he struck out just five times in 217 plate appearances. He also won the WAC Defensive Player of the Year.

His father Jack Wilson was a ninth round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1998 MLB Draft and played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball with Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Atlanta. The elder Wilson also coached his son as an assistant at Grand Canyon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[gtranslate]
Translate »