Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Paul Skenes is Dominating on the Mound

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. This is our third weekly recap of the weekend action for the top college draft prospects.

Dylan Crews was our first draft prospect profile last Saturday. The LSU outfielder went 2-for-4 with two singles and two runs scored against Samford on Friday. He went 3-for-3 with a homer, three runs and two RBIs on Saturday. He was 1-for-1 on Sunday, with a homer, three walks, two runs and two RBIs. Crews is hitting .510/.648/.922 in 16 games.

Here’s the Sunday homer

Here’s the Saturday homer

LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes is a top ten draft prospect, who is off to a tremendous start. He continued that strong pitching on Friday against Samford, going six innings on one run, two hits, one walk and 12 strikeouts. He is 4-0, 0.75 in 24 innings, with 48 strikeouts, an 0.50 WHIP and a .099 BAA.

Chase Dollander is considered to be the top pitcher in the class right now. We took a closer look at him over the weekend. The University of Tennessee right-hander went up against Morehead State on Friday, going 5.2 innings, with two runs on three hits, three walks and 11 strikeouts. He is 3-1, 2.45 in 22 innings, with 41 strikeouts, a 1.00 WHIP and a .213 BAA.

Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford has a chance to go #1. He was recently rated as the top draft prospect by The Athletic, with his athleticism being the thing that pushed him ahead of Crews for Keith Law. He went 0-for-3 with a run scored against Siena. He left early after getting hit with a foul ball off of his own bat. He did not play the rest of the weekend. He’s hitting .431/.557/.931 in 16 games.

Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University has a long shot at being the #1, but he’s still a top ten prospect now. The son of former Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson had a series against New Mexico State this weekend. He went 3-for-4 with a triple, run scored and an RBI on Friday. He was 3-for-3, with a double, two runs and an RBI on Saturday. Wilson went 4-for-5 with a triple, two runs and two RBIs. He has a .439/.452/.702 slash line in 15 games.

Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez from Ole Miss is another early name to watch. He played against Purdue this weekend. He went 0-for-3 on Friday, but managed to score three runs, while reaching on a walk, HBP and an error. He went 1-for-4 with a single, run and a walk on Saturday. He was 1-for-3 with a single and two walks on Sunday. Gonzalez is hitting .383/.538/.550 in 16 games.

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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Kinda off topic but tangentially related…I think its funny to think that with Davis, Termarr and whoever this upcoming first overall draft pick is going to be that as things stand now the team’s most exciting player in MLB (Cruz) was acquired for a half season of Tony Watson and arguably the top prospect (Endy) was the Mets’ inclusion to the Musgrove trade so they could receive Joey Lucchesi. Having the top pick is great and I’m excited to see whoever they pick play ball but there’s a decent chance that in three or four years the guys we’re all excited about are acquired in a seemingly nondescript trade at the time it was made or a low figure international signing.


Langford is out for “weeks” after having surgery the other day. Mostly every reporter on Twitter erased their tweets describing the injury mainly b/c Langford being a college kid and not a professional. You can probably still find the injury but it’s unfortunate.

I didn’t see anything wrong with reporting the injury but I also get not too.

But seeing as they only play about 60 games I would imagine that takes him out of contention for #1 overall. It’s unfortunate and he’ll still be a top 5 prospect but I’’m sure he drops some or others are able to pass him as a draft prospect.


Because of what I’ve read about his athleticism and exit velocities, I was rooting for Langford to earn being the top pick. But perhaps this will create an opportunity to draft him at 1-1 while saving a couple of million to use later. The difference in pool amounts between the top pick and the 5th pick, for example, is about $2.4MM.

OTOH, I’m getting a Cole vibe with Skenes and Cole was probably the best first round pick we’ve made since Cutch or even since Bonds.


Crews will sign under slot too. Not Hank Davis under slot but I will bet, 400K-800K under. Enough to still do damage with the Pirates pool and add acouple senior signs like always too.

Adley, Mize both signed under slot in that range as well. Same with Holiday last year and Prep kids have all the leverage, are notoriously tough signs and most always at or above slot.

Torkelson has been the only one in the past 5-6 years that went right at slot amount at #1 overall.

Not taking Crews will be a bigger mistake than take Byan Bullington #1 overall over Bj Upton or Zach Grienke in 2002. Make my words.

Crews is Bryce Harper. He’s the only pick.

And I love Skenes and Langford. If I could watch one college baseball team it would be Florida. Believe me, I’m a Langford fan.

Don’t overthink this. Crews is and has been the best college baseball player since Adley. And imo, he’s better. It’s an easy pick. And again, big Langford fan. He’s not in the same realm of Crews right now and Crews potential though. It’s a big gap!! It’s a big gap now and they will be even farther apart by season end.

Last edited 6 days ago by pittsburghbob69
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m looking forward to conference play. Seeing Skenes having to go a little more to his secondary pitches, as well as Crews facing higher grade offspeed/breaking pitches.


Definitely video games numbers so far, but those guys are my personal top 2 right now and seeing them carry it into SEC play will be much more impressive


Langford ruptured his testes & is expected to miss at least a month


Uh, cup check?


I can say that the last time I’ve worn a cup was the 90’s, but have played hundreds, maybe thousands of games without incident, but this report has me scared to death


That’ll leave a mark.


For real? Mitch Haniger style? Or is this a B McFerren style source?


Unfortunately for Langford, for real. HBP in the uhhh groin. Had surgery and out indefinitely,.


Just saw groin. Guess they didn’t go into specifics of the injury. Don’t want to know them anyway. Hope it heals well. I remember slipping off my bike pedal and hitting the bar of the bike frame once. Scarred me. And that was probably 35 years ago.


I did that. Still hurts.


i wish the pirates could simply take the LSU guys as a package deal


Would be a fun wrinkle if they were allowed to trade draft picks. Not saying we would trade 1-1 or pick up 1-2 even, but like the year harper went it probably would have had significant value


Wonder if they could if they promised them both #1 overall bonuses. Then cut cost on everyone else after the second pick. Not even sure it that would be possible but why not try.


Not possible. Bonus pool isn’t big enough for two #1s.


Dang. Old mlb always keeping the Bucs down. If having Nutting wasn’t enough.

b mcferren

all these Crews homeruns are going oppo


Opposing pitchers pitch Crews away and he’ll hit those to RF.

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