The MLB Draft starts tonight at 7 PM EST, with the Pittsburgh Pirates having the first overall pick. While you wait for the pick this evening, check out this massive reporting feature, where I asked Pirates major leaguers if they remember their own draft days.
The Pirates will add a new player to the system a little after 7 PM tonight, and they won’t stop until after the 20th round on Tuesday. We don’t know yet who they will take in the first round, but we do know it will come from the following group of players: LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes, Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, and high school outfielders Max Clark and Walker Jenkins.
We also held a Roundtable series, with our views on Dylan Crews, Paul Skenes, and the rest of the first overall candidates. It wrapped up with me asking who everyone would pick. My pick is still Paul Skenes, but the Pirates can’t really go wrong in getting a future MLB talent with this group. It’s all about how much risk they’re comfortable with in the first round, versus spreading that risk throughout the middle rounds.
We’ll keep mock drafts updated below as they’re posted leading up to the draft.
MLB Pipeline Posts Two Mock Drafts for the Price of One
Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis both posted mock drafts on MLB Pipeline this morning. They said this is their final mock draft leading up to the festivities tonight, but we will see if there is any late movement.
Both of them went with Wyatt Langford for the pick.
Callis said he prefers Paul Skenes as the pick personally, but he thinks the Pirates are down to Crews and Langford, with Langford signing much cheaper. To the point that it’s not just a straight up comparison of the two players, it’s Crews vs Langford AND what those savings can be put towards.
Mayo says Pirates want a bat, so they would also go Langford if the bonus difference is big enough. He also said Langford would win out over Max Clark due to being closer to the majors, even though Clark is supposedly very eager to sign and might be even cheaper (odd word choice by me for an $8M bonus) than Langford.
Update from BA…sort of
Baseball America has a new mock draft, though it’s the same exact writeup for the Pirates, will updates starting with the third overall pick. It’s still Langford for them, nothing new to add here from their original link
Pirates Offering Below Slot Deals
Kyle Glaser of Baseball America reports that the Pirates are shopping a below-slot offer to everyone not named Dylan Crews.
The Pirates are shopping a below-slot number to four players for the No. 1 pick, according to multiple industry officials: Wyatt Langford, Paul Skenes, Max Clark and Walker Jenkins.
There’s a lot of belief Langford will be the pick, but Jenkins is rising as a possibility.
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) July 9, 2023
Keep in mind that every player named in that tweet and their advisors will most likely see this tweet. The signs today continue to point toward Langford, in an approach that would look very similar to Henry Davis in 2021 — draft the safe college bat in the first round and load up on over-slot guys with the biggest bonus pool and extra savings.
ESPN Changes Things Up
Kiley McDaniel posted his final update and he now has the Pirates going for Wyatt Langford. No one is certain of the pick at this point, but some picks are appearing safer than others now, though I have heard all five names today as possibilities.
McDaniel has Skenes, Crews, Clark, Jacob Gonzalez and then Jenkins in the top six. Gonzalez was part of our draft coverage, but that would still be a reach putting him over Jenkins, one that would be done for both money and proximity to the majors.