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2023 MLB Draft First Round Pick Rundown

The 2023 draft boasts one of the deepest talent pools in recent memory. An abbreviated five-round draft in 2020 caused many top high school prospects to go to college instead of pro ball. Those prospects and an ever-growing crop of high school talent are now draft-eligible. The 2023 draft is loaded and likely to produce countless great MLB players. The complete results of the first round can be found below.

2023 MLB Draft First-Round Recap

The Top 10

1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Paul Skenes, RHP

A pitcher was taken with the first overall pick for the first time since Casey Mize in 2018. Skenes is a physical 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-handed pitcher with an elite fastball exceeding 100 MPH. He also features an elite slider and changeup, making him the consensus best pitcher. Skenes saw his stock skyrocket after transferring to LSU in 2023, opting to focus solely on pitching after being a two-way player at Air Force. Arguably the best pitching draft prospect ever, it was only a matter of whether the Pirates wanted to take a pitcher.

2. Washington Nationals: Dylan Crews, OF

The Nationals selected Crews, Skenes’ LSU teammate, second overall. This marks the first time two teammates have been picked first and second. Crews is a right-handed outfielder who won the Golden Spikes Award in 2023 after slashing .426/.567/.713 with 18 home runs. He has elite plate discipline, drawing 71 walks and striking out 46 times. Crews has been among the best college hitters for the last three years in a college career punctuated by a national championship in 2023.

3. Detroit Tigers: Max Clark, OF

Clark is the first high-schooler to come off the board. He is a smooth-swinging outfielder with five-tool potential out of Indiana. Clark, a Vanderbilt commit, has elite speed and defense. His line-drive approach at the plate may limit his future power potential, but he makes consistent hard contact. The Tigers got high school outfielder Riley Greene in the first round in 2019, and they hope that Clark can follow a similar path as a professional.

4. Texas Rangers: Wyatt Langford, OF

Langford is an athletic outfielder with immense power. He has hit 47 home runs during his last two seasons at Florida. This also includes his standout performance at the 2023 College World Series, where he garnered all-tournament honors. After catching and playing third base in high school, Langford transitioned to the outfield in college. Scouts regard his fielding and arm as plus, and they could develop further to make Langford a true five-tool star. The Rangers get great value with Langford in the fourth spot.

5. Minnesota Twins: Walker Jenkins, OF

The Twins took the top-ranked high school prospect in the draft with Jenkins. Scouts label his bat as elite, with 60 grades for his hit tool and power. Jenkins is a two-sport swimmer athlete and won the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year in 2022 and 2023. His large 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame still has room to grow as he gets into pro ball. As he has gotten bigger and stronger, he has slowed down slightly. This leads the scouts to believe he profiles best as a corner outfielder long-term.

6. Oakland Athletics: Jacob Wilson, SS

Jacob, the son of long-time MLB shortstop Jack Wilson, has a slightly different skill set. Wilson’s bat is his calling card, as he hit .412 this season in his junior year at Grand Canyon University. Wilson also had 27 extra-base hits to just five strikeouts in 49 games this year. He is a solid defender at shortstop and also played some third base a couple of seasons ago as a freshman. He can play either at the next level.

7. Cincinnati Reds: Rhett Lowder, RHP

The Reds took right-hander Lowder, currently the two-time reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year. After struggling in his freshman season with an ERA north of six, Lowder became the ace of top-ranked Wake Forest in 2023, throwing 120 1/3 innings to a 1.87 ERA and 143 strikeouts. Lowder will look to join an impressive list of Reds homegrown pitchers from the draft, including Andrew Abbott and Nick Lodolo.

8. Kansas City Royals: Blake Mitchell, C

Mitchell, an LSU commit, can throw 97 MPH off the mound. His future, however, is behind the plate. He is an athletic defender with a powerful left-handed swing. Mitchell has played for the U.S. junior national team and has won the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year twice. He could be the successor to Salvador Perez someday in Kansas City.

9. Colorado Rockies: Chase Dollander, RHP

Dollander has an explosive fastball and slider that led to a 2.39 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 2022 at Tennessee. Dollander saw a dip in production in his junior season this year. His 4.75 ERA was drastically increased, with walks and home runs allowed. Dollander still has the tools that put him on the radar in 2022, and the Rockies are taking a chance that he can rediscover that form. Dollander may see his production increase as he enters professional baseball and faces wood bats instead of aluminium.

10. Miami Marlins: Noble Meyer, RHP

The Marlins took the first high school arm in the draft with Meyer. Standing at 6-foot-5, his fastball has touched 100 MPH. Meyer struck out 142 batters in only 69 innings this spring for Jesuit High School in Oregon. He also features a slider and a changeup and could join a Marlins team acclaimed for great pitching shortly.

Picks 11-15

11. Los Angeles Angels: Nolan Schanuel, 1B

The Angels went with a lower-ranked bat in Schanuel at pick number 11. Nevertheless, Schanuel boasts a high offensive ceiling. After struggling in the Cape Cod League 2022 with a .200 average, Schanuel broke out at Florida Atlantic University in 2023. The first baseman hit .447 before posting a Division I-leading 1.476 OPS with 19 homers. Schanuel has average speed and defense but could move to a corner outfield spot if needed. It will be Schanuel’s bat that carries him to the big leagues.

12. Arizona Diamondbacks: Tommy Troy, SS

Stanford’s Troy is a well-rounded prospect with elite bat-to-ball skills. Troy showed well with a wood bat in the Cape Cod League in 2022, posting a .917 OPS. He took his performance to the next level in 2023, hitting .394 with 17 homers. Troy can play anywhere on the infield and has excellent pitch recognition that can make him a reliable big leaguer.

13. Chicago Cubs: Matt Shaw, SS

Shaw won the 2022 Cape Cod League MVP by slashing .360/.432/.574. He followed that up with a solid junior season at Maryland. Shaw possesses power and speed, as he hit 24 homers and stole 18 bases in 2023. He looks to follow in the footsteps of Nico Hoerner, a former first-round shortstop chosen by the Cubs in 2018.

14. Boston Red Sox: Kyle Teel, C

The top-ranked catcher in the draft, Teel slid down to the fourteenth overall pick for the Red Sox. Teel has been a starter at Virginia since he joined the program in 2021 and has seen time behind the plate and in the outfield. He runs well for a catcher and has a left-handed swing, producing a .407 average in 2023. Teel is highly regarded for his athleticism behind the plate and is an excellent value for the Red Sox at slot 14.

15. Chicago White Sox: Jacob Gonzalez, SS

Gonzalez has been a solid bat at Ole Miss for the last three years, hitting 40 home runs and walking more than he struck out. Gonzalez was a vital part of the Rebels’ 2022 national championship team, blasting a go-ahead home run in the clinching game. He has good actions in the field, but below-average speed may force him to move to third or second in the future.

Picks 16-20

16. San Francisco Giants: Bryce Eldridge, TWP

Despite being just 18 years old, Eldridge is already 6-foot-7, 223 pounds, likely to fill out as he matures. What separates Eldridge is his ability to hit and pitch. On the mound, his fastball can reach the mid-90s with a slider and a changeup. At the plate, Eldridge’s left-handed swing has plenty of power. The Giants also selected a two-way player last year in Reggie Crawford, and Eldridge wants to continue doing both at the next level.

17. Baltimore Orioles: Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF

Bradfield is renowned for his elite speed-one of a few tools in the draft to be assigned an 80 grade. Bradfield has been a three-year starter at the top of the Vanderbilt lineup, posting a .311 average and .426 OBP. He stole a total of 130 bags during that time. The Orioles have recently succeeded with college hitters in Adley Rutschman, Cedric Mullins, and Austin Hays. Bradfield will look to take his place alongside them.

18. Milwaukee Brewers: Brock Wilken, 3B

The Brewers went with one of the best power bats in the draft at 18th overall. In three seasons at Wake Forest, Wilken struck 71 home runs with a 1.098 OPS. He made serious strides in 2023 in terms of plate discipline, drawing 69 walks to generate a .506 OBP. Wilken has an exceptional arm and good hands that should allow him to stick at third base in pro ball, but he could also move across the infield to first base.

19. Tampa Bay Rays: Brayden Taylor, SS

Interestingly, the Rays announced Taylor as a shortstop though he has primarily played third base at TCU. Additionally, the Rays have perennial MVP candidate Wander Franco in that position. Taylor has always felt good about the strike zone, walking 158 times to 146 strikeouts in three college seasons. He also has exceptional power, smacking 23 homers this year for the Horned Frogs. It will be interesting to see what the Rays have in mind for the well-rounded Taylor.

20. Toronto Blue Jays: Arjun Nimmala, SS

Nimmala won the Florida Gatorade Player of the Year in 2023. He features good speed and a projectable bat at just 17 years of age. The Florida State commit has power in all fields. Nimmala is also a good fielder and will likely stick at shortstop as he leaps the professional ranks. However, the Blue Jays already have Bo Bichette in that position, so he may have to move around to reach the big leagues.

Picks 21-24

21. St. Louis Cardinals: Chase Davis, OF

The Cardinals took Davis, an outfielder from the University of Arizona, with their first-round pick. Davis possesses power in all fields and a strong arm. He hit 21 home runs this spring with a .362/.489/.742 slash line. Davis considerably cut down on his strikeouts this year to become a complete hitter. Davis can play any outfield position but likely profiles best as a corner outfielder at the next level.

22. Seattle Mariners: Colt Emerson, SS

Emerson’s standout tool is his bat. He hits the ball hard frequently and has shown plus power to the pull side. Scouts believe he could have 20 home run power at the big league level someday. Emerson is listed as a shortstop but is more likely to move to third or second at the next level. He played well at third base for the U.S. junior national team.

23. Cleveland Guardians: Ralphy Velazquez, C

Velazquez, the second high school catcher taken in the first round, is a standout bat. Velazquez has abundant raw power that he has been able to tap into more recently. He has a good arm to help his case as a catcher to begin his pro career, but he can move to first base if necessary.

24. Atlanta Braves: Hurston Waldrep, RHP

The Braves have a recent history of drafting and developing great pitchers, and Waldrep will look to join them. Waldrep uses a high-90s fastball, hard slider, and elite splitter to get outs. After transferring to Florida in 2023, he dominated the SEC with 156 punchouts in 101 2/3 innings. 11 of the Braves’ last 13 first-round picks have been pitchers, including Max Fried and Kyle Wright.

Picks 25-28

25. San Diego Padres: Dillon Head, OF

Head features 80-grade speed, which also helps to make him a great defender in center field. He has a good swing from the left side of the plate but has below-average power. Head appears to have the potential of a true center fielder and top-of-the-order bat at the next level.

26. New York Yankees: George Lombard Jr., SS

The son of Tigers bench coach George Lombard Sr., the younger Lombard has a big 6-foot-3 frame that will give way to more power as he develops physically. That may also be a reason to move him off shortstop to third base as he matures. His arm is above average, which would make for a smooth transition across the infield. The Yankees hope for Lombard to blossom similarly to their 2019 first-round shortstop pick, Anthony Volpe.

27. Philadelphia Phillies: Aidan Miller, 3B

Miller is already firm for a high-schooler with power that will continue to develop. He has consistently produced against top competition. He has a good arm that should allow him to stay at third base long-term. If needed, the Arkansas commit has the offensive profile to move to first base.

28. Houston Astros: Brice Matthews, SS

The Astros made a surprising selection with the 28th pick by taking Matthews, the 57th-ranked prospect. The University of Nebraska shortstop enjoyed a breakout year for the Huskers in 2023 by recording a 20/20 season after hitting just 12 home runs between 2021 and 2022. Matthews also flashed good plate discipline with a .481 OBP. Matthews is a reliable defender at shortstop but could also slide over to second base, where he played some in college.

Photo Credit: © Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Players mentioned:

Paul Skenes, Casey Mize, Dylan Crews, Max Clark, Riley Greene, Wyatt Langford, Walker Jenkins, Jacob Wilson, Jack Wilson, Rhett Lowder, Andrew AbbottNick Lodolo, Blake Mitchell, Salvador PerezChase Dollander, Nolan Schanuel, Tommy Troy, Matt Shaw, Nico Hoerner, Kyle Teel, Jacob Gonzalez, Reggie Crawford, Enrique Bradfield Jr., Adley Rutschman, Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, Brock Wilken, Brayden Taylor, Wander Franco, Bo Bichette, Chase Davis, Hurston Waldrep, Max FriedKyle Wright, George Lombard Jr., Anthony Volpe, Aidan Miller, Brice Matthews


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