The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick in the July 2023 MLB draft. Our draft preview looked at the top prospects for the pick.
At this stage, the draft is very much up in the air. Every Monday, we’ll recap notable performances from around the prep and college ranks, with video to give you an early look at who could be available to the Pirates.
The top of this draft class right now is LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, who had a big weekend. He went 2-for-4 with two singles, two runs and an RBI on Friday night against Kansas State. LSU played Iowa on Saturday. Crews went 2-for-3 with two singles, two RBIs and two walks. Against Sam Houston on Sunday, he went 5-for-6, with three doubles, four runs and four RBIs. He is 13-for-23 with six walks so far this year.
Here’s video of his first home run this season:
Dylan Crews. That's it.@__dc4__ | SECN+ pic.twitter.com/JaCTo7rtUB
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) February 19, 2023
LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes is a top ten draft prospect. The #1 pick might be a stretch, but not if he keeps having games like Friday. He went six innings on two hits, one earned run, two walks and 11 strikeouts.
Here’s a quick video with some added info:
Paul Skenes (@LSUbaseball) throwing absolute smoke early on, sitting firmly 98-99 T100. CH has been the go-to early at 90-92. Flashed couple SL’s at 87 w/ some sweep. #PGDraft @vcervinoPG @B_Sakowski_PG pic.twitter.com/3BU86fCnjq
— PG College Baseball (@PGCollegeBall) February 24, 2023
Chase Dollander is considered to be the top pitcher in the class right now. The University of Tennessee pitcher went 5.2 innings on Sunday, allowing two runs on five hits, one walk and 12 strikeouts versus Dayton.
Here’s video from his debut last weekend:
Chase Dollander, the top pitching prospect in the 2023 Draft class, struck out 7 over 4 2/3 in his season debut for @Vol_Baseball. pic.twitter.com/wtzP9kn4Kv
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 18, 2023
Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford has a chance to go #1. His team played Cincinnati over the weekend. He went 1-for-2 on Friday, with a double, two runs, two RBIs and two walks. He was 3-for-4 on Saturday, with a double, homer, walk, three runs and two RBIs. He went 0-for-1 with two walks and a HBP on Sunday.
Here’s the homer:
Florida OF Wyatt Langford hits a ball out of The Swamp. He's been a steady force early on this season. Four doubles, a triple and two homers with ten RBI in his first seven games. pic.twitter.com/UuOFx54Kd7
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) February 25, 2023
Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University has a long shot at being the #1, but he’s still a top ten prospect now AND he’s the son of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson. So, he’s going to be followed here for two reasons. His team had a tough schedule, playing Ohio State and Gonzaga two times each this weekend.
Wilson went 1-for-3 with a double on Thursday. He went 1-for-3 with a three-run homer, a walk and a sacrifice fly on Friday. He was 4-for-6, with a double and five RBIs on Saturday in game one of a doubleheader. He went 1-for-2 in the second game.
Here are two of his big hits:
Jacob Wilson doing Jacob Wilson things. 3-3 on the day with 2 doubles and 4 RBIs. Just an absolute barrel magnet pic.twitter.com/vy2wYEmDLL
— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) February 25, 2023
💣 𝐓𝐇𝐑𝐄𝐄-𝐑𝐔𝐍 𝐉𝐀𝐂𝐎𝐁 𝐖𝐈𝐋𝐒𝐎𝐍 𝐁𝐎𝐌𝐁 💣@jacobwilsonn22 caps off an 11-run inning with a rocket to left! pic.twitter.com/v1ILDxBT4w
— Grand Canyon Baseball (@GCU_Baseball) February 25, 2023
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.
Ahhh college baseball season. The happiest time of year
Hayes with some launch angle…Is he healthy?
(Even as a UT alum/Knoxville native…I am hoping for Crews.)
Hard to hit a pitch in that location on the ground even if you’re trying.
Ah come on…give that poor dog a bone
hahaha, right on Jim.
I’m following the game on gameday, so i haven’t seen the video yet, but saw there was an inside the park HR by the Phillies on a fly ball to LF. Check the box score to see who the LF is…. Cal Mitchell
That is kinda uncalled for if you do not know what happened.
Watched the play thru Phillies Gameday – should’ve been an error on Mitchell
jammed his shoulder against a pole in the wall
Dave Littlefield sighting at LECOM. Or Freddy Krueger maybe. Not sure.
I wonder if he still works for the Tigers?
I’d prefer he work for the Cards.
I don’t dislike the Cards. He can go to the Cubs and Brewers any day.
Cloning seems a good solution.
I’ll be honest, although I totally can not do this, I wish I could just ignore all rankings, mock drafts, highlights until about 2 weeks are left in the college season. It is way too much of a roller coaster for me until Crews, Dollander, et al face their conference season (and come out healthy) and see where they really stand.
But to repeat.. no way I can do that.. I’ll be tracking weekly!
Also, of note, Brock Wilken from Wake Forest, who IIRC was the #2 prospect on Fangraphs before they just did the updated rankings & has dropped down in the rankings, has hit 6 HR’s in 9 games & is tied for the NCAA lead so far.
obviously this isn’t the most meaningful observation ever, but Skenes just looks so much more sturdy and imposing than Dollander to me.
At least as far as fangraphs is concerned, it appears that Dollander has the hair better FB and breaker, while Skenes has the hair better changeup and command.
given that skenes sounds like he can hit a bit too, i think i prefer skenes at the moment, but we’ll see.
Dollander does appear to be slight, with narrow shoulders, but he wears #11 and that always throws me off.
I read somewhere he’s around 6′ and other places he’s listed 6’2. I think size can be overrated but 6′ feels a bit small for hopefully a future ace
we can even use that imposing-ness difference as an argument FOR dollander. the weight that he doenst currently have is weight he could add.
they probably take Wilson at a large discount and then try to add more talent though-out the draft. hope not but it is the Pirates.
like this strategy
This — drafting Wilson — seems unlikely. Crews Langford and Clark have 1-1 components to their games, and meet a team need. Moreover, Cherrington’s drafts have featured position players as first round picks. I expect the trend to continue. Descriptins of Wilson make him sound like like Kevin Newman.
If they draft Dylan Crews, and he ends up playing with O’Neil Cruz, do the Pirates somehow incorporate Tom Cruise into the mix?
Maybe they could do a video of Crews, Cruz, and Cruise singing and dancing to “Old Time Rock N Roll” wearing nothing but a Pirates jersey and Pirates socks?
I’m pretty sure Pirates need to hire me to work in their PR department. Hey Travis, if you’re reading this, have your people call my people. We might be able to work something out.
My first thought as a Pirate fan, they could never afford Cruise. Sad that’s where my thoughts always take me.
Make it Penelope Cruz and we’ll think about it.
She’s welcome to slide into home wearing the suggested uniform!
No. Hard no.
I believe you may have…LOST THAT LOVING FEELING! 😎
Wearing nothing but a Pirates jersey and Pirates socks is where I lost that loving feeling!
The tighty whities went w/out saying.
What if Tom Cruise purchased the team and said money did not matter to him? I think we then might have a plan!
The Pittsburgh Scientologists? I’d become a Guardians fan!
Mason Martin is in the ballpark. Remember him?
Dylan Crews’d through the weekend
Skenes . . . damn.
You know if the Bucs pick him, it’s JVB 2.0, right?
Yep. And Crews will be Hermansen 2.0 and Dollander will be Bullington 2.0. Because . . . Pirates.
Come on, Wilbur! We have to have the hidden vigorish built up!
If we’d just get a normal regression to the mean, our next three draft picks would turn into Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Honus Wagner.
Yeah, they’d definitely move Skenes to first. Jest aside, he looks…better than Dollander so far. Still, give me either Crews or Langford.
Crews was on fire. His doubles vs Sam Houston were missiles off the wall. To me, Skenes looks more impressive than Dollander so far. I’d also say Jacob Gonzalez from Ole Miss should be in the convo & on the radar. He’s been decent so far, with a .370/.500/.667 line. Langford would be the last one I’d want.
I’ll be adding more players throughout the year. Gonzalez was a little low on one ranking I saw, and his report I read afterwards didn’t sound like a potential top pick, but others like him better.