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Draft  | Story  | 11/10/2022

2023 MLB Draft: Gut Feel Guys

Tyler Henninger      Isaiah Burrows      Brian Sakowski     
Photo: Cooper Pratt (Perfect Game)

From this point forward through the off-season, our plan is to push out draft content weekly, on Thursdays, starting today with our Gut Feel Guys feature. The PG Draft team was tasked picking out several players each who, according to our gut feels, have good chances at outperforming their current placement on the draft board and rising up it as we head towards next summer.

Mitch Jebb, SS, Michigan State
Current Draft Board Rank: 58

Jebb has been a personal favorite since his prep days, where he continually flashed high-level speed, contact, and overall athletic traits. He’s done a good job of honing those raw tools at MSU, and has become one of the better pitch selectors of the class, with a knack for not swinging at balls and rarely striking out. His athleticism fits in the middle of the diamond somewhere even if it’s not at short, and he’s a terror on the base paths. The contact skills, willingness to walk and that twitch/speed all profile as a guy who will go higher than this ranking if he continues to add some pop this spring.

Alex Mooney, SS, Duke
Current Draft Board Rank: 62

When projecting out draft position and ranking these players as such, there’s seemingly innumerable characteristics that are weighted, though we don’t necessarily have every bit of character/makeup info on players. With Mooney we do have that, and it’s easy to bet on a player when you’re 100% sure on his makeup being plus. Mooney’s profile has shifted slightly since his prep days, adding more and more offensive impact to his game while continuing to develop as an infielder, and is poised for a big spring at Duke. I’m betting on the makeup and general “want” to continue giving rise to his toolset, and believe he’ll be drafted ahead of his present rank.

Cameron Tilly, RHP, Castle HS (Ind.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 125

Tilly was absolutely electric in spurts on the circuit this summer, showing plus arm speed with velocity reaching the mid-90’s at times as well as good complementary traits in his ability to spin the breaker and kill spin on a split-change. He moves well and has room to fill on his frame, giving him pretty significant projection even if the present stuff is impressive. Prep arms in the northern states can get behind the 8 ball early in the spring due to weather at times, but scouts generally have the ability to separate signal from noise and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Tilly really take off in the spring and end up being drafted higher than this. 

Cal Fisher, SS, Deerfield HS (Wisc.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 165

There’s always a handful of prep bats who rise up the draft board in the spring in a big way, and I’m comfortable betting on Fisher to be one of those in 2023. He’s one of the more consistent hit tool players in the Midwest and is coming off of a big fall, consistently finding authoritative barrel and using the whole field while also possessing that sort of grinder mentality/play style that scouts love. He’s a solid defender who can profile at a number of spots, but the offensive game is the calling card here and I’m expecting to hear his name early and often once baseball starts being played in Wisconsin. -BS

Carson Dorsey, LHP, Gulf Coast State (JC)
Current Draft Board Rank: 178

Dorsey has been heavily on my radar for almost a year now and was outstanding in PCB last year at the Panama City Beach College Baseball Classic, where PG was the first to really get excited about him. He’s a long and lean lefty with a clean operation and easy movements, already adding velocity to his fastball this fall (he was more 87-91 a year ago and is now more 89-93) and continuing to develop his off-speed stuff. The ingredients are here to be the top prospect in JUCO, and I’m bullish on Dorsey ending up a top-5 rounder next summer. -BS

Tyler Chadwick, RHP, Miami (OH)
Current Draft Board Rank: 194

Chadwick has been a known name for some time, dating back to his prep years as a physical but unrefined arm strength guy. His developmental trajectory since being at Iowa Western last year is exciting, and the returns this fall were very loud, with high-octane stuff and a four-pitch mix finally rounding into form. He has the capability to be absolutely shut down in the MAC this spring, and with continued improvements as well as overall consistency, I’m betting he ends up quite a few spots higher than this when we rank our final board next summer.

-Brian Sakowski

Jack Moss, 1B, Texas A&M
Current Draft Board Rank: 93

It will be hard for scouts to shy away from Moss, who possesses an advanced hit tool that only continues to get better. The Aggie slugger has shown the ability to produce against top SEC arms, slashing .380/.437/.520 in his first season in College Station. The first baseman utilizes a simple swing with advanced barrel accuracy, resulting in fairly easy power that plays to all fields and projects well for more down the line. There are some defensive limitations, but the offensive upside should help Moss continue to climb up draft boards.

Gavin Grahovac, OF/C, Villa Park (Calif.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 76

Grahovac is one of the better athletes in the entire prep class and shows an intriguing offensive profile to go along with it. The Texas A&M commit has the bat speed and strength to drive balls to all fields. Defensively, Grahovac has shown the ability to play in the outfield, on the dirt, and behind the plate. He likely ends up in the outfield where quality speed should provide value. The multitude of ways that Grahovac can impact a game should draw interest from clubs. 

TJ Nichols, RHP, Arizona
Current Draft Board Rank: 77
When his stuff is clicking, Nichols possesses some of the loudest stuff in the Pac-12. The Wildcats ace can approach the 100 mph mark with the fastball and shows feel for a sharp, tilting slider that can miss bats when commanded. The numbers have not reflected the potential of Nichols, but the right-hander could make some noise with a quality spring campaign. 

Trent Caraway, 3B/OF, JSerra Catholic (Calif.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 92

The offensive ability of Caraway cannot be denied. The Oregon State commit produces hard hit contact regularly and has shown a consistent hit tool throughout this prep career. There is plenty of strength present that should start turning into more in-game power regularly. The arm plays at third base and Caraway should have the athleticism to handle himself there. It would not be a surprise if a team jumps on Caraway earlier. 

Roman Martin, SS, Servite (Calif.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 37

Martin did not necessarily have the year he was hoping for, but the UCLA commit possesses a mix of tools and projectability that is hard not to be intrigued by. Advanced athleticism and footwork allows for quality defense up the middle with arm strength that plays from deep in the hole. There is projectability at the plate with some juice present. If it all clicks, Martin has the upside of a potential first round pick. 

Walker Martin, SS, Eaton (Colo.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 53

Not a ton of draft prospects come out of the state of Colorado, but Martin may be one of the more exciting ones in recent history. The Arkansas commit possesses advanced bat speed that results in impressive exit velocity numbers. The power has shown up against quality arms already and will only continue to get better. Martin has shown enough athleticism to provide value on the dirt defensively. He will be an intriguing name to watch that should continue to climb up boards come spring time. 

-Tyler Henninger

Cooper Pratt, SS, Magnolia Heights (Miss.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 45

Pratt may not be the most under-the-radar name, but there may be a real chance he’s one of the first prep infielders off the board in the first two rounds. There are big tools and physical projection on both sides that I believe should put him right in the discussion with some of the top preps in the class. He projects as an above-average defender with crisp actions and soft hands that at the very least can handle the left side of the dirt, if not shortstop long term. He put together a loud showing with the stick this year with plus bat speed and loud contact to all fields. Pratt checks a ton of boxes in a draft profile and may fit the mold of a Cutter Coffey from last year.

Ryder Helfrick, C/INF, Clayton Valley (Calif.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 117

I will be the first to say I’m bullish on Helfrick’s overall skill set. His athleticism and showing with the stick have really stood out. There are big tools at a premium position behind the dish, and he’s only improved his receiving with above-average strength that shows in game. It’s rare to see a catcher move so well with a consistent hit tool and serious jump off the barrel that coils well. There’s moving parts in his load, but it’s simply loud when squared and he seems to hit each look. There’s risk with a prep catcher in a deeper class than previous years. But he’s athletic enough to stick up the middle if catching isn’t a long term fit, and it’s hard to pass on such a versatile athlete with loud tools. Count me in.

Cole Carrigg, INF/C, San Diego State
Current Draft Board Rank: 48

Carrigg is no stranger to high-level performance, as his showing in the Cape Cod League was awfully impressive. It’s a pretty solid profile with tools across the board. Switch hitter with real fast hands and a fluid stroke that projects as a pretty above-average hit tool. He’s a versatile defender at 6-foot-3 that can play nearly anywhere on the dirt and looked comfortable handling second base as a rangy defender, though he can get behind the dish and hold his own behind there. His blend of speed and athleticism also shows on the basepaths, stealing 19 bags last season. It’s a solid floor with good amounts of upside in the stick. My gut says Carrigg will be a pretty safe pick in the first three rounds come next July.

Brandon Winokur, SS/OF, Edison (Calif.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 72

California is a deep region for prep talent this year, and there may not be a more intriguing product than Brandon Winokur. He has all the makings to be a very early selection following a loud performance during the summer circuit. It’s big physical tools across the board that jump off the page at times. The athleticism and physicality really stand out with upside at the plate. A loose right-handed swing that leverages well and the power shows in game and really projects. Winokur has put his stamp on several PG tournaments this year, and the tool set is loud with serious upside.

Kade Morris, RHP, Nevada
Current Draft Board Rank: 96

Morris has garnered some well-deserved buzz but may be a bit of an under-the-radar name on the surface of draft circles. That can all change after this college season. It’s a potent fastball/slider combination that missed a good amount of bats last season. The two-seam and four-seam vary some shape and life up to 96-97 mph with the makings of a plus slider with late sweep and bite. The curveball is more of a fringe third offering but has promise combined with an athletic frame and a loose, whippy lower slot. It has the makings to be a special profile if the stuff all comes together, and it would be no surprise to see Morris as one of the top college arms in the class when it’s all said and done.

Cole Schoenwetter, RHP, San Marcos (Calif.)
Current Draft Board Rank: 63

Schoenwetter popped late last summer and hasn’t stopped climbing to close the year. It’s a real three-pitch mix with a ton to like in a long, lean 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. The fastball is up to 96 mph and lives 92-94 with life and solid command to all quadrants. The curveball is a secondary that really stands out and borders on plus with tight depth and downer 12-6 shape. His changeup is coming around as a firmer low-80s  third offering and shows feel for it. There’s a good amount of upside left in the frame and the stuff has really taken off. He can be a familiar name by next draft cycle.

-Isaiah Burrows