MLB Draft 2023: Scouting Reports for Top Prospects
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The 2023 MLB Draft takes place Sunday night from Seattle and the eyes of the baseball world will be on the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hold the coveted top pick in this year’s event.
Will the franchise take the best collegiate player in the country this past season in Dylan Crews or will other factors lead them to look elsewhere with the pick?
Who will select generational pitcher Paul Skenes and where might the dynamic Wyatt Langford land?
Find out more about those three stud prospects ahead of the most important evening of their careers with these scouting reports.
Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
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Dylan Crews is the top overall prospect in this year’s draft and it is not difficult to see why.
The LSU Tiger fueled the National Champions with 110 hits, scored 100 runs and added another 70 RBIs. He hit the ball as hard as ever, reflected in a college-best .715 slugging percentage.
Even when he was not putting the bat on the ball, he was benefiting his team, drawing nearly 30 more walks in 2023 than he did the previous season, which helped with a career-best 1.280 OPS.
Crews was better than he has ever been in nearly every measurable category possible this past season and, rightfully, is the favorite to land in Pittsburgh at the No. 1 pick. The Pirates currently rank 21st overall in team offense and could use as much young, consistent offense as possible.
This is why Dylan Crews is a Golden Spikes Award winner 🤯
The prospective top pick would bring that, as well as the kind of young energy the team needs. Pittsburgh took MLB by storm in the first month of this season with a better-than-expect first-place run but quickly fell back to earth and are currently nine games under .500, good enough for fourth in the much-maligned NL Central.
RJ Anderson of CBS Sports wrote, “A veteran scout told CBS Sports in the spring that Crews was the most obvious top pick since Bryce Harper in 2010. Nothing has happened since to change that outlook.”
If the top pick is based on talent and upside alone, Crews will be the first player to hear his name called by the commissioner Sunday night in Seattle.
Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
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Paul Skenes has been compared to Steven Strasburg and Gerrit Cole and if that is not enough reason to love his pro potential, his play certainly is.
Skenes is a big, athletic pitcher who looks the part and has the stuff to back it up.
In 122 innings pitched during the 2022-23 season, Skenes allowed just 23 earned runs and seven home runs. He walked just 22, struck out 209 batters, and amassed a .750 WHIP, the best of his collegiate career.
He was 12-2 as a starter, had an ERA of 2.05 and was key in LSU winning the College World Series.
The walk number is incredible and demonstrates a young pitcher that is in command of his stuff, perhaps beyond his years. That he exhibits that type of control while hitting 100-plus on his fastball is special and a big reason teams will be looking at him to bring the sort of stability and success to their rotations that Strasburg and Cole have over the years.
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“If I’m the Pirates, I don’t know how you pass on a kid that you may not see for another 20 years in the draft.”
Dan O’Dowd thinks Paul Skenes is a generational prospect 👀 pic.twitter.com/qas4GAkAwZ
There will likely be some concern about long-term health given how hard and fast Skenes has already thrown during his college career, and his fastball could be better shaped, but every indicator suggests he will spend minimal time in the minors and should be able to help a major league team sooner rather than later.
Expectations will be high, especially when the 21-year-old is being compared to modern greats, but he has certainly demonstrated an ability to live up to them to this point in his young career.
Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
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Crews may have stolen the headlines with a monster year but Florida’s Wyatt Langford may be a more productive big leaguer than his counterpart, sooner.
Langford’s 1.282 OPS was higher than Crews’ (1.280) and he struck out less than his peer. He is also faster than Crews and a better base runner. Like the presumptive top pick, he walked a ton, getting on base even when he was not hitting 21 home runs and delivering 57 RBIs.
The Gator also totaled 52 extra-base hits in 2022-23, something that will endear him to teams that are constantly looking to drive in runs without necessarily having to live and breathe on dingers.
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Wyatt Langford went from playing in 4 games his first year with @GatorsBB to becoming a top MLB Draft prospect!
His one weakness is consistent defense, where he never really established himself at any one position, but may find success in centerfield. With that said, Langford only committed a single error over the last two seasons, meaning he is not likely to make the big mistake that costs his team on that side of the ball.
Regardless of where he plays, he was never the defender that Crews was, explaining why he is likely to be taken at some point after him.
Langford could hold the edge over Crews for the No. 1 pick slot, according to Keith Law of The Athletic, in that he appears more willing to “sign at a number that will let the Pirates go over slot with later picks,” whereas the LSU export may not.
Whether he goes at one, two, or three, Langford has every tool a big-league team would look for out of an offensive weapon. Which team is lucky enough to step up and make the pick that, hopefully, changes the trajectory of their franchise, is the question?