Dylan Crews, shown here for a ball against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2022 Shriners Children’s College Classic at Minute Maid Park, is a college player to watch as the MLB Draft approaches. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
The 2023 Major League Draft will kick off on Sunday, July 9 and conclude on Tuesday, July 11. Waiting ever so patiently to hear their name called are the MLB stars of the future.
The college baseball landscape is vast, with thousands of players across all levels including, but not limited to, the NAIA and NCAA Division I, II, and III. However, there are always a handful of playerswho stand out above the rest. Their talent is so profound that it could make it hard to pass up on them come draft night.
Before the MLB Draft in July, let’s take a peek at 10 of the brightest young stars in college baseball who are eligible for this year’s draft.
10. Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Dollander is a right handed starting pitcher for the University of Tennessee, and in 73.2 innings of work so far this season, the junior has struck out 107. In his most recent start against the University of South Carolina, he struck out 13 batters in 5.1 innings. He combats an upper 90s fastball with a nasty curveball. He ranks sixth in MLB.Com’s latest top 150 MLB Draft player rankings.
9. Jacob Wison, SS, Grand Canyon
Wilson entered this season as D1Baseball.com’s fourth-ranked collegiate prospect for the 2023 MLB Draft, and he has lived up to those expectations. His batting average currently sits at .425 for the season, and has walked nearly double the amount he has struck out. Wilson has stolen eight bases so far in 2023, a career high.
8. Kyle Teel, C, Virgina
Teel started all 58 games at the catcher position in 2022 for the University of Virginia, and was a Baseball America First Team Preseason All-American for the position in 2023. He had a season-high five hits on April 26 against Towson, and has hit nine home runs this season. His durability as a catcher should receive a lot of interest come draft time.
7. Paul Skenes, RHP, Louisiana State
Skenes has dominated this year on the mound for LSU. His win-loss record sits at 10-1 in 2023, and he’s struck out 164 hitters in 86.2 innings pitched. Standing six feet six inches and 247 pounds, he generates a ton of power on his fastball. Skene’s success on the hill will be key for LSU in both the SEC Tournament and NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.
6. Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
Langford may not be a speedster, only stealing 12 bags throughout his three seasons with Florida, but makes up for it with his power. He hit 26 home runs in 2022, tying Matt LaPorta’s single-season program record. He has hit 16 thus far in 2023, and holds a career batting average of .372 in college. Langford has been outstanding in the outfield, catching all 125 defensive chances he had in 2022.
5. Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
Lowder, a junior at Wake Forest, threw back-to-back seven inning shutouts earlier this month against Boston College and Florida State. He struck out a season high 12 hitters on May 18 against Virginia Tech, and has an ERA under 2.00 for the season. He was named the 2023 ACC Pitcher of the Week three times throughout the course of the season, and ACC Pitcher of the Year.
4. Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt
Bradfield is no stranger to speed, finishing second in stolen bases among all NCAA Division I players and leading the SEC in triples in 2022. He broke the Vanderbilt career stolen base record on February 26th against UCLA. Bradfield hit .317 in 244 plate appearances in 2023 for Vanderbilt, as well as making zero errors in the outfield.
3. Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland
Shaw has hit 45 home runs the last two years for Maryland, and was named Cape Cod League MVP last summer. Shaw’s slugging percentage was .747 this year for the Terps, a career high. He walked five more times than he struck out in the regular season, and stole 17 bases at the shortstop position. Whether he will remain at shortstop at the next level remains to be seen, due to his slightly below average .955 fielding percentage.
2. Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi
The Ole Miss shortstop is a career .326 hitter and limits his strikeouts at the dish. Gonzalez was named to the 2022 First Team All-SEC team in 2022, and was a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in both 2021 and 2022. He drove in an impressive seven runs batted in on February 19 against Delaware, and had a season high four hits on February 28 against Louisiana Tech.
1. Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State
The 2022 Consensus First-Team All-American has been productive all three years of his college career in the tough SEC. He has 18 home runs and 42 runs batted in for the Tigers in 2023, and had a season high five hits on February 26 against Sam Houston State University. Crew is the top rated prospect in the 2023 MLB Draft according to MLB.Com, and it’s possible he is taken first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in July.