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.
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 eighth weekly recap of the weekend action for the top college draft prospects.
If you missed it from this weekend, we had a look at two new mock drafts here and here. We also took a look at the strengths and weaknesses of this draft class. As a reminder, the Pirates have the highest draft bonus pool this year.
Dylan Crews was our first draft prospect profile. The LSU outfielder went 2-for-5 with a single and a double in a 10-0 win over Southeastern on Tuesday. He had a very quiet night against Auburn on Friday, going 1-for-4 with a single. Saturday wasn’t any better, with an 0-for-4 night, while drawing one walk. He wrapped up his worst weekend (by far) with a 1-for-4 night. He went 2-for-12, with two singles and a walk.
Despite the weekend, he’s hitting .463/.609/.800 through 47 games. His OPS dropped 75 points over the weekend.
LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes is a top five draft prospect, with many sources now ranking him second. He was our fourth prospect profile. He hit a little rough patch of three starts that weren’t up to par for him, before getting on track last week against Alabama. He stayed on track against Auburn on Friday, going 7.1 scoreless on six hits, one walk and 15 strikeouts.
He is now 9-1, 1.73 in 72.2 innings, with a .165 BAA and a 139:13 SO/BB ratio.
Have fun watching 14 strikeout pitches
14 of Paul Skenes' 15 strikeouts vs. Auburn. pic.twitter.com/FOsjPMcrX1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 6, 2023
Chase Dollander is considered to be a top two pitcher in the class right now, along with Skenes. We took a closer look at him in our second prospect profile. The University of Tennessee right-hander went up against Georgia on Saturday. He allowed three runs on eight hits, two walks and six strikeouts in six innings.
He now has a 5-5, 4.26 record, 88 strikeouts and a .240 BAA in 63.1 innings.
Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford has a chance to go #1. He was our sixth draft prospect profile. He has been rated near the top all year, with some giving him the tools advantage over Crews. Langford went 2-for-3 on Tuesday against Florida State, with a homer, two walks and a stolen base.
He played Texas A&M over the weekend, starting with a 2-for-3 night on Friday, with a double, walk and a stolen base. He was 0-for-3 on Saturday, as Florida got spanked 15-2 in seven innings with their ace on the mound. Langford went 1-for-3 with a homer and a walk on Sunday.
He’s now hitting .399/.538/.784 over 42 games, with 30 extra-base hits and 42 walks.
Here’s the Sunday homer. A memorial service will be held for this baseball
⛈️ BRING. THE. THUNDER. ⛈️#GoGators // 📺 https://t.co/eOD7BP4csm pic.twitter.com/bKLv7wmWDm
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) May 7, 2023
Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University has a long shot at being the #1, but he’s still a top ten prospect. The son of former Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson went up against Arizona on Tuesday, when he went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs. He left the game early due to getting injured on a headfirst slide into first base. He played just one game of a Saturday doubleheader and left in the fourth inning after going 2-for-2 with two doubles. He did not play on Sunday.
Wilson is hitting .427/.475/.682 in 41 games, with five strikeouts in 179 plate appearances.
Here’s a defensive play from Tuesday
Jacob WILSON making a great play at shortstop? You don’t say 🤔 https://t.co/xWXpd9ByZz
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) May 4, 2023
Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez from Ole Miss has been ranked recently somewhere between five and ten for everyone in this draft class. He hasn’t hit enough to move up the draft charts, but he isn’t dropping either. He played Little Rock on Tuesday, where he went 2-for-4, with two singles and a walk.
He had a weekend series against Missouri, which started with a 2-for-5 night on Thursday, including a home run. He went 2-for-5 on Friday, collecting a double. He finished things off by going 2-for-4 on Saturday, with a double, walk and five RBIs. He’s now hitting .330/.447/.581 in 48 games, with 18 doubles, nine homers and 34 walks.
Here’s the Thursday homer
The Real Deal
💣 @JakeGonzalez717 pic.twitter.com/OL0NcRf2el
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 5, 2023
Here’s the Friday double
One pitch, two bases. @JakeGonzalez717 smacks the game's first offering for extra bases. pic.twitter.com/2TIxBG2Yjo
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 5, 2023
Walker Jenkins was our third player profile article. His stats are going to be hard to come by, but I’ll add updates where I can. He has been walked a ton this year, so the video highlights are few and far between. He played his final regular season home game on Thursday. He had a stand-up triple in the game, but no other details.
Max Clark has been added to our watch recently. The Indiana outfielder was profiled here in our fifth article for the series. His season started on April 1st, so there’s still not much to go on yet that isn’t in his recent profile. As with Jenkins, stats will be added when possible. Clark went 2-for-3 on Friday, which boosted him to a .638 average. He also had a walk and two steals. He had a 2.039 OPS going into the game.
Here’s one of his Friday hits
Max Clark wasting no time making his presence known. Ringing single to right with one out in the top of the first. pic.twitter.com/ZWAoiiT1Bg
— Jim Gordillo (@JimGordillo) May 5, 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.
Don’t get cute. Draft Crews and be done with it.
I can find nothing in this article that justifies its title except Crews didn’t have a good week. Crews remains clearly the best bat and overall position player. I’d be okay with Skenes but still worry about taking a pitcher number one given the history of doing so and the risk of injury associated with young pitchers.
There are several good players at the top of this draft and no one can possibly know which one will turn out to be the best in the long run. From what I’ve seen and nearly everything I’ve read from people who should know, Crews is a special player and passing on him would be a major mistake.
Crews worries me in that to many of his HR’s are opposite field & not all that deep. Makes me wonder if his power isn’t significantly aluminum bat aided.
I don’t think he’s getting a lot in and over the plate. I suspect that a lot of his HR’s are on the outer half of the plate and he is hitting them where they are pitched.
They need some impact bats. They don’t have any. Reynolds is borderline, but hes not a total stufd. Cruz….. who knows. Crews all the way.
Desperate times lead to desperate measures, with a roster change coming…
Only our beloved Pirates would see Chris Owings as the way to shake up the roster.
Well, maybe he will actually compete game in and game out…
Even if Langford catches Crews on the slash line, Langford is a Corner OF only, while Crews has looked like he can handle CF adequately, though it might be in the Brian Reynolds mold where a team can get a couple years out of Crews in CF, then as he ages move him to a corner.
As long as the pick is Crews or Skenes, I’m on board.
11 of the 14 K’s by Skenes were non-fastballs. The kid gets it! Set up the hitter with the 99 and then turn out the lights. I’m all in on Skenes #1 pick. He should be with the MLB team for a cup of coffee in Sept and then in ’24 after Super Two date.
After watching Ro struggle putting hitters away yesterday (and he’s not our only pitcher with that issue), watching that video of Skenes pushes me even closer to hoping he’s our pick. And as one of the announcers said, his 98 looks so easy and then he has the off-speed stuff?!? That fourth K just had me shaking my head.
And yes, on the timeline, he looks like he could get MLB hitters out now so by the end of ’24 seems realistic.
That changeup might be his best pitch!
This morning my feeling is that we can’t go wrong between crews and skenes
Skenes got that dawg in him!
But where does his xDAWG or DAWG+ stand?
On the 20-DAWG scale, his future value is DD.
Plus plus dawg
Anyone know if there is a way to filter college stats for in-conference play? Would be interested to the see the SEC guys in conference vs out of conference splits
I had found this the other day…
This is perfect, thank you!
I was surprised that Langford wasn’t among the leaders in SLG, but he did hit 3 of his 12 HRs against 11th-ranked Miami in early March so it’s not like his overall SLG is from putting up big numbers against weak nonconference opponents.
John, stupid question: can 1-1’s demand to go over slot? If so, I assume it is theoretically good for there to be multiple viable 1-1’s for negotiation purposes. Even if the Pirates are locked in on Crews, I assume fewer legit 1-1 contenders would give him enormous leverage. Any education here is appreciated
John knows a lot more details than I do, but in general a draftee can demand anything they want as a bonus so yes, a player could demand over-slot even at 1-1.
I’m sure the Pirates will have an estimate of what a player wants from at least each of the top 3 and if the demands are far enough apart, then that would impact who they’d draft. We need to hope that all three, or at least 2 of the 3 keep putting up big numbers so that no single player gets too much leverage. (Though with the low likelihood of getting an impact player from later picks, going over slot at 1-1 shouldn’t be too much of a concern.)