1. Dylan Crews, OF, LSU
Crews has been the top guy on our 2023 board pretty much since he pulled his name out of the 2020 draft, and he’s done nothing but prove his stardom in his three years at LSU. One of the best amateur hitters of the last decade, Crews combines preternatural zone awareness skills with highly advanced barrel accuracy to form a well-rounded hit tool, consistently hitting the ball hard to all fields on pitch types all over the strike zone. His raw power grades as plus, though he will need to get the ball in the air a bit more at the professional level to fully realize that power potential. He’s a solid average runner whose instincts should add value on the base paths, and while he’s a 50-55 defender in center field right now, it’s possible he shifts to left field in the medium-long term. He profiles as an ideal big league leadoff hitter who should get on base a ton and limit strikeouts, with the upside of a .300 hitter with 25+ home runs at his peak. Perennial All Star is the final word on our amateur evaluation of Crews.
2. Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida
Langford isn’t far behind Crews as far as lining the top of this class up, and actually has louder tools in some respects than Crews. Langford is a step or two faster in terms of sprint speed, and while their exit velocities/raw power are similar, Langford is presently more adept at getting the ball in the air, which is why the collegiate home run production tips in Langford’s favor. Langford controls the zone quite well and brings a beautiful righthanded swing to the table, showing the ability to get barrel to velocity in on his hands as well as show big power to dead center and the opposite field. He covers the plate with power, and should be adept at working walks in the big leagues as well. He, like Crews, will likely be sent out as a center fielder, but most believe he’s likely to end up an above-average to plus defender in an outfield corner (he’s spent most of his time at Florida in left field). Grading it out, he earns a half-grade more than Crews in game power, but a half grade less than Crews in terms of hit tool.
3. Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU
Everyone knows the background here, as Skenes was a high-end two-way talent at Air Force prior to transferring to LSU and becoming the best collegiate pitching prospect since Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, depending on your view. He’s massive, with a durable big league starter build already, and his ability to hold his stuff deep into starts stands way, way out. He regularly sits in the 98-101 mph range with his fastball, showing average command of the pitch and dominating with it in all parts of the strike zone. The slider is a 70-grade pitch, thrown firmly with big sweep and sharpness, projecting to be a serious bat-misser at the highest level right away. He could have likely dominated college baseball with those two pitches alone, but also developed a changeup that routinely showed plus, thrown very firmly in the 88-92 mph range for the most part. This is a power pitcher starter kit with the trait sliders all the way up, and while he’s likely not going to be an ace in the big leagues this year or next, the ace upside exists and is his upside outcome long-term. Expect to see Skenes in the big leagues sooner than later, with all star games and Cy Young votes coming as soon as 2025.
4. Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS (N.C.)
Jenkins has been a known commodity in the prep ranks for awhile now, and has checked every box and answered every question along the way. He’s physical and athletic, standing 6-3/210 and grading out as an above-average runner presently while shining in athletic testing evaluations, especially for a player of his size. It’s a beautiful lefthanded stroke with plus-plus bat speed and plus-plus raw power, creating excellent loft to the stroke and doing damage to all fields. There’s a chance he’s more of a solid-average hit tool than plus, but that should be more than enough to get to 30+ home runs given his approach and that power. The athleticism should allow him to play center field out of the gate, though most expect him to move to right field long term, where his plus arm will play well, and he will add defensive value regardless. The long term upside here is a solid corner defender who hits .280ish with 30+ home runs, giving him All-Star upside.
5. Max Clark, OF, Franklin Community High School (Ind.)
Clark has just as much claim to the top prep spot in this class as Jenkins, and similarly has done nothing but perform and answer any questions anyone has had about him along the way. A dynamic athlete who plays with his hair on fire, Clark offers several pluses on the card, including speed, arm, and defensive projection in center field. A lefthanded hitter, Clark has always shown strong hit tool traits and the ability to hit the ball hard, though a small swing change this spring led to greater loft and subsequently greater power projection than anyone had thought. He projects as an above-average to plus hit tool with solid average power, profiling well as a lead-off hitter at the big league level, where his speed and instincts should also play to the tune of 20+ stolen bases annually as well. Clark has a shot at 1:1 depending on what Pittsburgh decides to do, but either way is unlikely to make it out of the top 4-5 picks.
6. Kyle Teel, C, Virginia
Teel represents a good example of the new wave of catchers in baseball, a more lithe and athletic backstop than the more traditional physical, bulky type. He’s highly athletic, with good explosivity in his lower half, allowing him to move laterally at a high level, a hardline prerequisite for catching/blocking the high-octane stuff every single big league arm throws in today’s game. He projects as an above-average defender behind the plate long-term, with a plus arm aiding in that projection, and should be a run game deterrent at the highest level. Offensively, Teel swings it from the left side and is more hit tool/approach driven than power driven, and scouts are seemingly torn on how much power they project him to have with wood. He knows the zone well and should walk at a high clip while limiting strikeouts and making a good amount of contact to all fields, though the expected power output is likely closer to 40 than 50 when grading it out. He’s a well-rounded player who should impact the game in a number of ways.
7. Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
Lowder entered the spring as a likely first rounder and did nothing but shoot up boards as he dominated all spring for one of college baseball’s best teams. Lowder is a solidly-built righty with an excellent combination of stuff and feel, with projections of a No. 2 starter frequent in his evaluations. He generally works in the 92-95 mph range on his fastball and has touched higher, featuring above-average sink and working to elicit weak contact, often early in counts. He can command the fastball to the edges and on the whole is a strike-thrower of the highest order. His best pitch is his changeup, a plus weapon thrown with conviction and excellent fading action that mimics his fastball release and projects as a bat-misser long term. One of the main question marks entering the spring was about his ability to spin the baseball, but he answered those as he developed an above-average slider with good vertical bite that some see as another plus pitch long term. His pitchability should allow him to move quickly, and he’s unlikely to make it out of the top 10 picks.
8. Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS (Fla.)
Nimmala has some of the more enticing pure upside in the class, as a young-for-the-grade shortstop with athleticism and huge power upside. In fact, in my years of scouting, it’s hard for me to think about a player who showed more tension-free bat speed and power than Nimmala shows/showed at 170 pounds, making it really exciting to think about how much juice he’s going to have at 190+ pounds. He has the range, feet, hands and arm for shortstop and should stay there long term as a solid-to-better defender, while offering plus power upside at the same time. He’s still a bit unrefined in terms of his pitch selection and zone awareness at times, but has shown the ability to direct his barrel with authority to pitch types and locations all over the strike zone. The upside here is substantial, even if the hit tool falls shy of solid-average, though 50 hit is what I have on my final card.
9. Chase Davis, OF, Arizona
Davis’ slotting on this board represents our biggest outlier from other outlets in the top 10, as I haven’t seen him any higher than the late teens elsewhere. He’s always been a good, physical athlete with huge power from the left side of the plate, and his approach skills and overall hit tool quality have taken massive steps forward during his time at Arizona, with 2023 specifically showing large gains. Quoting Geoff Pontes from Baseball America here, but in the age of Trackman there have only been three college players to achieve a 90th percentile exit velocity of 108 mph or better with more walks than strikeouts, and Chase Davis is one of those three along with Dylan Crews and Nick Kurtz (2024). With now solid-average hit tool projection to go with plus power projection and solid defensive value in right field, we see Davis as a potential above-average regular at the highest level.
10. Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee
Dollander entered the spring as SP1 amongst the college class before Paul Skenes turned into Justin Verlander, and while Dollander’s shine maybe isn’t quite as bright as it was a year ago, he’s still a top talent in this class with high-end rotational upside at the Major League level. It’s power stuff from an athletic guy, with huge arm speed, working mid-upper 90’s on his fastball with explosive carry. His slider is usually his best secondary offering, a firm pitch that peaks in the low-90’s with late, sharp bite that looks more like a cutter at times. He also possesses a solid-average curveball with more traditional shape, and a changeup that will flash high-end but settles more into the above-average range. His strike-throwing is solid but the command is a bit backwards compared to 2022, so teams will have to decide if that’s a trend or fixable, but either way he represents high-caliber upside near the front of a big league rotation.
11. Brayden Taylor, 3B, TCU
Taylor is a well-rounded player with a very strong performance track record during his time at TCU, including setting the TCU single-season home run mark this year with 23. He has plus bat speed from the left side of the plate to go along with plus raw power, showing the ability to get to velocity on the inner third as well as to drive balls the other way when pitched off the plate away. His overall offensive projection is likely that of an “11” bat, which is to mean adding the hit and power tools together to reach the number 11. Some see 5 hit + 6 power, others see 55 hit/55 power, but either way, he projects to be a middle-order bat that hits for power and gets on base at a solid clip. He’s a solid defender at third base who should stay there long term, though some feel he has the versatility to play elsewhere should the need arise. His ceiling in this class seems to be pick 6 to Oakland, and likely doesn’t last beyond the early teens regardless of what happens on draft night.
12. Tommy Troy, 2B, Stanford
Troy does a lot of things well, but the strength of the profile here is undoubtedly his plus hit tool projection, one of the best hit tools in the draft class to be sure. His exit velocity spread speaks to more power than his frame would indicate, and given his abilities to make barreled contact all over the strike zone, projecting Troy out as a plus hit/solid-average power second baseman isn’t that difficult. He’s a good athlete who has played a few different defensive spots in his career, though most feel his future home will be at second base, though he’s played short and third at various stops along the way, and we’ve ever heard some scouts question if he could play center field. Troy can hit and should hit his way up the ladder to the big leagues, and play there for a long time.
13. Aidan Miller, 3B, JW Mitchell HS (Fla.)
Miller entered the spring as a potential top-10 pick, and while an injury lost him much of his senior spring, he’s proven to be healthy in workouts and his power is all the way back. A righthanded hitter, Miller has plus bat speed and near plus-plus raw power, with good lift to his stroke and a combination of strength and bat speed that not many other prep hitters in this class can match. A plus arm highlights his defensive skillset, which projects to at least average at third base, and on the whole the profile suggests a power-hitting third baseman who hits in the middle of the order and brings at least some defensive value to the table. Miller is in play all over the board including in the top 10, and if he starts to slide on draft night, expect him to get paid like a top-half of the first round guy in an overpay situation down the board.
14. Colt Emerson, SS, John Glenn HS (Ohio)
The best prep prospect out of Ohio in awhile, Emerson has consistently shined on the summer circuit dating back to his early prep days, where his sweet lefthanded swing and preternatural feel for the barrel have always stood out. The hit tool continued to shine last summer and into the spring, making hard contact consistently and showing good power to the opposite field gap with consistency as well, something not many prep hitters can do at 17 years old. The projection here is for a plus hit tool with solid-average raw power, and while he’s a good defender at shortstop now and will be sent out as such, most feel he’s likely more of a fit at second or third base long term. With as polished a hit tool as a 17 year old can have, Emerson has shot up boards all spring and is now poised to potentially be a top-15 pick.
15. Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Ole Miss
As steady as they come in this class, Gonzalez may not offer extremely high-end upside, but is seemingly as very strong bet to end up a long-term everyday player in the big leagues. He has plus raw power from the left side of the plate, and projects to be a solid-average hitter with above-average to plus power production at the big league level. A solid defender at shortstop, Gonzalez’s defensive instincts and pre-pitch awareness shine along with his short area quickness, giving him a chance to play the position long term, though some feel he’ll be a better fit at third base given his above-average arm and the lesser range requirements of the hot corner. Expect Gonzalez to come off the board in the top 15 picks for sure, with Oakland at pick 6 his likely ceiling.
16. Matt Shaw, IF, Maryland
Shaw is one of college baseball’s most accomplished hitters in this class, and that’s inclusive of his time on the Cape, where he also performed at a high level and with a wood bat. He features plus bat speed with above-average raw power, highlighted by his especially impressive opposite field power, and projects to be an above-average hitter with above-average power. A shortstop by trade, most see Shaw as more of a fit as an offensive-minded second baseman, though he’s played some third base and the outfield in the past as well. He’s a plus runner who will add value on the base paths, and brings a well-rounded overall profile with the performance to back up the tools to the table.
17. Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
Waldrep has yo-yo’d a bit on draft boards this spring following his transfer from Southern Miss to Florida, though he’s never dropped out of the first round, and his final several starts brought that stock back up. It’s a power arm, with a fastball that is regularly into the upper-90’s, and he brings the best splitter in the class to the table as well, a 70-grade offering with bat-missing dive. He’s shown an above-average slider and average curveball as well. There’s effort in the delivery and the command is fringy right now, so there is some risk here, but the high-octane stuff and performance in the SEC likely means a mid-first round slot.
18. Enrique Bradfield Jr., CF, Vanderbilt
Bradfield has long been a PG favorite dating back to his prep days, always showcasing truly elite, game-breaking speed with elite instincts on the bases and range in center field. Those traits are still present, as Bradfield is an 80 runner and potentially 70 defender in center field, and he’s done a good job of adding strength to his frame and subsequently adding more impact to his contact. He’s unlikely to ever be a big power threat, but with solid-average hit tool projection with some punch, and that speed/defense, he has the makings of an above-average leadoff hitter and everyday regular at the big league level.
19. Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Mass.)
White has long been the top lefty in this class, dating back to his 14U days on the summer circuit. He’s continued to develop and has blossomed as a power-armed, big lefty with good stuff and command projection. He was routinely into the mid-90’s this spring with his fastball, showing improvement both in his slider consistency as well as overall changeup quality, and at his best will flash three plus pitches with good strikes. As with any prep arm, the command and consistency will need to continue developing, but this is great clay with which to work for a player development system.
20. Nolan Schanuel, 1B/OF, Florida Atlantic
Schanuel has one of the best hit tools in this class, if not THE best hit tool in this class, and earns rave reviews for his plate discipline, zone awareness, and ability to hit the ball on the barrel to all fields. He’s done a good job of adding loft to his stroke for the sake of home run power, and while the batted ball data doesn’t speak to a power monster, the projection says a plus hit/solid average power offensive profile at the highest level. He’s played mostly first base, though some feel he’s athletic enough to handle an outfield corner. Either way, the bat is the carrying tool here, and the hope is that he continues to tap into more power once he gets into a pro system.
21. Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS (Ore.)
Meyer is all about high-octane stuff and high-end arm speed on a projectable frame with a seemingly limitless velocity ceiling. He’s already into the upper-90’s with some regularity, though his fastball release and axis metrics are cause for some concern. Beyond the heater, he spins a pair of plus breaking balls in both a hard slider and bigger curveball, and there’s good feel for a changeup as well. His command will need to continue developing, as is true with every prep pitcher, but the ingredients here are unmistakably high-end.
22. Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton HS (Tex.)
The best prep catcher in the class, Mitchell is so talented that he’s forcing organizations to buck the trend of staying away from the risky demographic of prep catchers. Very athletic behind the plate, Mitchell’s defensive tools stand out in the big way in the way he blocks, receives, handles pitchers, and throws. It’s a plus arm that should end up being a deterrent for would-be base stealers, and he brings big raw power from the left side of the plate with a solid approach as well. Mitchell also has a backup option as a righthanded pitcher, where he’s been into the mid-90’s with his fastball and shown an above-average breaking ball in the past.
23. Walker Martin, SS, Eaton HS (Colo.)
Martin is older for the grade, which hurts him with model teams, but beyond that the native Coloradan has huge lefthanded power with a whippy stroke and good bat-to-ball skills. He’s a very good athlete, especially for his size, scoring extremely well in athletic testing situations. The upside here is that of a 30+ home run guy who plays on the left side of the infield, even if that’s third base eventually. Martin, should he go to school instead of signing, would be eligible again as a sophomore in 2025.
24. Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Wilson has some of the best pure bat-to-ball skills in the class, rarely striking out throughout his college career and showing a consistently-improving approach in terms of laying off borderline pitches and taking walks. The hit tool earns plus (or better) grades from evaluators, though how much power he’s going to have is a question, with middling batted ball data and concerns about how much juice he’ll have with wood. A shortstop by trade, Wilson has the hands, arm and clock to play short, though his range is average and could regress as he continues maturing.
25. Sammy Stafura, SS, Walter Panas HS (N.Y.)
A toolsy, athletic prep shortstop whose trajectory has been pointed straight up dating back to last summer, Stafura offers significant upside on the strength of his athleticism and tools. The projection for plus raw power from the right side of the plate is present, and Stafura also possess a plus arm from the left side of the diamond, where more and more have come around to him projecting at shortstop long term. The upside exists of a power-over-hit big league shortstop, and he’s expected to be off the board before the first round is up.
26. Kevin McGonigle, SS, Monsignor Bonner HS (Pa.)
McGonigle possesses one of the best hit tools of the prep class and has for a couple years now, using a compact and direct stroke to make hard contact on pitches all over the strike zone and to all fields. It’s plus hit projection, though the overall power upside is a discussion that evokes a split camp, with most seeing his power output somewhere around 45-50 long term. He’s improved his strength and, subsequently, that power over time, and he’s done a good job of getting more athletic at shortstop as well. The most common projection here is a hit-over-power second baseman, and teams who value contact ability most are the most likely suitors for him.
27. Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest
Wilken has some of the best pure power in the class, and has done nothing but continue to improve both his approach and his swing decisions during his time at Wake. There’s some swing-and-miss here, but Wilken has a good understanding of the strike zone as well as his ideal attack zones, showing the ability to hammer mistakes as well as get to velocity while laying off borderline pitches on the edges. He has a plus arm at third base with good infield hands, and even with his size/physicality, there’s a good shot of him playing third base long term.
28. Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, James Madison HS (Va.)
Eldridge is a very unique two-way player with huge size (6-7/225) and legitimate two-way potential. He’s viewed more as a bat right now, with massive raw power from the left side of the plate, a more compact stroke than his length would indicate, and good feel to hit. Should the offense not work out, he has a good backup plan as a righthanded arm, where he’s been into the mid-90’s with flashes of a plus slider and good operational mechanics, especially for a guy of his stature.
29. Dillon Head, CF, Homewood Flossmoor HS (Ill.)
Head is an explosive athlete, inclusive of his overall twitch, his foot speed and his bat speed. He’s a plus-plus runner with good instincts on the bases and range in center field, and he’s done a nice job adding impact to his contact profile as he’s gotten stronger while maintaining that speed. It’s plus defensive projection in center field with above-average hit tool projection, and his biggest fans–us amongst them–believe there’s a good shot he gets to solid average power along with it.
30. George Lombard Jr., SS, Gulliver Prep (Fla.)
Lombard has a pro-ready body and overall physicality to go along with good athleticism and tools, including plus raw power from the right side as well as plus arm strength across the infield. He’s a good defender at shortstop now and may be able to stay there, though as he continues to mature he may slide to third base. The swing path gets uphill at times as he tries to lift the ball pull-side, though most see his general feel to hit as strong and should eventually reach a solid-average level to go along with above-average (or better) game power.