The teams with the top six picks in the 2023 MLB Draft are set to be determined on Tuesday, with a lottery deciding the draft order for the first time in MLB history.
There’s certainly a lot at stake with getting the top pick. Next year’s draft class features a trio of outstanding collegiate players who already have separated themselves from the pack and made early cases to go at the top of the draft.
Of course, a lot can change between December and July. There are always players who emerge with strong springs or others who disappoint in their final chances to make a case to go early, and that certainly could happen again in 2023.
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But with the draft being announced, The Sporting News is taking a look at 10 players who should draw plenty of interest in being selected early in the first round. Take a look:
MLB Draft prospects 2023
1. Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Last year, LSU’s Jacob Berry was selected sixth overall by the Marlins. His former teammate might go even higher. Dylan Crews had an outstanding freshman campaign, when he slashed .362/.453/.663 with 18 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He managed to one-up that in 2022, when he improved his slash to .349/.463/.691 with 22 home runs and five steals, all while walking 42 times to only 56 strikeouts in 62 games. The right-handed slugger has been praised as having a well-rounded approach, with power, contact ability and a good eye at the plate. LSU has had only one first overall pick, Ben McDonald to the Orioles in 1989. Crews could be the second.
MORE: Looking back at 2022 MLB Draft picks
2. Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss
One of the leaders on the 2022 national champion Rebels, Jacob Gonzalez had a bit of a down year after breaking out as a freshman. His first year in Oxford, Gonzalez posted a .355/.443/.561 slash with 12 home runs, 38 walks and 34 strikeouts. The numbers took a slight dip in 2022 for Gonzalez, but were still impressive at .273/.405/.558 with 50 walks and 32 strikeouts. Those offensive numbers still point to one of the stronger bats at the shortstop position in the class, which typically leads to players going high in the draft, especially with his ability to defend well at a premium position. A big junior year could easily propel him to the top.
3. Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
If anyone is going to challenge Crews as the top overall bat in the 2023 MLB Draft, it might be Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford. After limited usage in 2021, Langford burst onto the scene in 2022 in a loaded Florida lineup, bashing 26 home runs and swiping seven bags while posting a slash line of .355/.447/.719. Langford is also a unique defender with his ability to play all three outfield positions, fill in on the infield or even behind the dish at catcher. The big question will be if teams view him as being stuck in left field, which would put more pressure on his bat. Fortunately for Langford, the bat will be enough to keep teams interested in him early.
4. Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
The Volunteers’ pitching staff was on another level in 2022, pitching to a collective 2.51 ERA and helping guide Tennessee to a 57-9 finish. No one on the team was better than sophomore Chase Dollander. The hard-throwing right-hander compiled a 2.39 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) with 108 strikeouts in 79 innings, all while walking only 13 and holding batters to a .175 average. Dollander can hit the upper 90s with his fastball and boasts a well-rounded repertoire that features a filthy slider and a solid changeup and curveball. He has ace potential, and should be the first pitcher off the board, barring a major down year in Knoxville.
5. Max Clark, OF, Franklin High (Franklin, Ind.)
The first high schooler on the list, Max Clark still might have as much upside as anyone in the draft. Clark has been praised for his line-drive approach and his improving power that could lead to more home runs as he continues to develop. He has been described by evaluators as a five-tool outfielder with the ability to stick in center with a powerful arm, speed and an advanced approach at the plate.
6. Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt
The top prospects in MLB draft classes are typically those that have the ability to put the ball over the wall. So what’s a player with nine home runs in 129 collegiate games doing so high? Well, Enrique Bradfield can do just about everything else. He’s the fastest player in the class, having swiped 93 bags in his collegiate career, including an impressive 46 steals without being caught in 2022. He accompanies that with a .326/.433/.456 slash line that improved in 2022 with a bit more power as a sophomore. Add to that his impressive defense that will keep him as a top-tier defender in center, and it’s easy to see why Bradfield is going to get some early attention.
7. Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Good luck trying to strike out Jacob Wilson. The Grand Canyon shortstop fanned only seven times, good for 2.5 percent of the time, in 2022. That contact-oriented approach helped him post a .358/.418/.585 slash line as a sophomore with 12 home runs. Wilson had been a third baseman in 2021, but provided Grand Canyon with solid defense at short in 2022 after transitioning to the position. His ability to control the zone and play sound defense on the left side of the infield should lead him to an early selection in the 2023 MLB Draft.
8. Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick High (Southport, N.C.)
Clark stands out as the top high schooler in the draft for now, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Walker Jenkins climb up to that level with a healthy senior year. He has dealt with injuries throughout his prep career, but when on the field, he has shown elite power along with a solid approach at the plate. Jenkins can play all three outfield spots and has solid speed that help give him a standout overall profile.
9. Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
Brayden Taylor impressed as a freshman at TCU. He posted a .324/.445/.572 slash with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He also walked 49 times to 46 strikeouts. What did he do for an encore? Essentially the exact same season. A .314/.454/.576 slash with 13 home runs and 10 steals. And once again, he walked (55) more than he struck out (40). Taylor is a well-rounded player who offers teams a high floor and should be a high pick in 2022.
10. Jack Hurley, OF, Virginia Tech
Gavin Cross was taken ninth overall by the Royals in 2022 after a standout career at Virginia Tech, but he was out-performed in his final year by teammate Jack Hurley. The sophomore outfielder posted an impressive slash line of .375/.452/.664 with 14 home runs and 10 stolen bases, while walking 32 times to just 51 strikeouts. Hurley has a powerful swing from the left side and boasts true five-tool potential. A big junior season has the potential to vault him even higher up draft boards.