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An Early Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 Draft Preview

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick in the MLB Draft on July 9th, which they picked up in the first draft lottery back in December.

Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline came out with mock drafts that had the Pirates taking LSU outfielder Dylan Crews.

Needless to say, Crews is going to be a big part of our draft coverage, especially if he remains at the top overall pick for multiple sources.

Going into Friday’s action, Crews was hitting .400/.657/.700 in four games. Those are big numbers, although the LSU lineup did well it of the gate, with three of his teammates putting up a better OPS.

Right-handed pitcher Chase Dollander is one of the biggest challenges to Crews for that top spot. Pipeline noted that he had a real shot at going first overall. The University of Tennessee pitcher has been ranked second quite a few times. His season debut came last week against Arizona, when he went 4.2 innings, with two runs on three hits, a walk and seven strikeouts.

Another real challenge for first overall is Wyatt Langford, an outfielder with the University of Florida. He has played five games already going into this weekend. Langford is hitting .333/.400/.667 through 24 plate appearances.

While his chances of moving up to the first spot look slim right now, shortstop Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon certainly gets a lot of notice among Pirates fans. That’s because his father is Jack Wilson. The younger Wilson isn’t just living off of his father’s name — he’s a top ten player in this draft class right now, with some sources having him as a top five player. He hit .267/.313/.533 in his first four games, which were against some solid competition. 

Max Clark is a high school outfielder out of Indiana. He won’t be part of our early coverage because his season hasn’t started, but there are people who say he has the best all-around tools in this draft class. A search of the internet seems to indicate his season starts April 1st, so there will be a lot of interest once he begins playing.

We are going to cover these players and more in our weekly recaps, taking extended looks at anyone who has a chance for the first overall pick. Right now it’s mostly Crews being mentioned at the top, but we are still over four months away from the start of the draft, so a lot can change in that time.

As a year goes along, we will take a look at the other areas of the draft on this Saturday feature, such as the strengths and top players by position. That will be important for the later picks in the draft. Pirates have the 42nd, 67th and 73rd overall picks. Every Monday, we will have a weekly stats update on the top performers from the previous week.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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