Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Big Games for Paul Skenes, Max Clark and Wyatt Langford

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 tenth weekly recap of the weekend action for the top college draft prospects.

If you missed it from this week, we had a look at a new mock draft. We also took a look at the strengths and weaknesses of this draft class, followed by a look at the clear cut top five in 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 0-for-2 with a walk against Northwestern State in the mid-week game. His team played Mississippi State over the weekend. He went 0-for-4 with an RBI and a walk on Friday. He went 0-for-3 with two walks on Saturday. He went 3-for-4 with three singles, two walks and a stolen base on Sunday. 

Crews is now hitting .445/.600/.757 through 51 games, with 13 doubles, 13 homers, 56 walks, 11 hit-by-pitches and 28 strikeouts in 234 plate appearances.

LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes is a top five draft prospect, with almost all sources now ranking him second. He was our fourth prospect profile. He tossed a complete game against Mississippi State, in a one-sided match that ended with a ten-run rule decision in the seventh. Skenes had 13 strikeouts in the game, while allowing one run on three hits and a walk. His pitch count was a manageable 95 for the night.

He is now 10-1, 1.69 in 13 starts, with 152 strikeouts and a .162 BAA in 79.2 innings.

Here’s one strikeout that was getting passed around Twitter

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 1-for-3 on Friday against Vanderbilt, with a double, RBI, two walks and a stolen base. He went 1-for-5 with a two-run double in Saturday’s win. He went 3-for-4 with two homers and a double on Sunday.

He’s now hitting .400/.535/.813 in 45 games, with 18 doubles, 14 homers and 44 walks.

Here’s a two-run double from Saturday

Here’s Sunday’s first homer

Here’s Sunday’s second homer

Walker Jenkins was our third player profile article. His stats have been hard to come by, but I’ve been adding 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 last Thursday, but he still had some games this week. This highlight tells the story of most of his games. Two walks and then he picks up a hit when he finally sees a good pitch.

Prep outfielder Max Clark was profiled here in our fifth article for the series. He walked A LOT during his regular season, so we have seen very few actual highlights. However, we have some from this past week, including a game in which he got on base in all five trips to the plate.



The players above are the five players to follow now, as they have pulled away from the pack. I still included the other three players who we have covered all year, just in case you were following along with them. These three could make up the 6-8 picks of the draft.

Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University had a long shot at being the #1 going into the year, but he’s still a top ten prospect. The son of former Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson went up against UT Rio Grande Valley this weekend. An injury caused him to miss a few games before returning as a DH on Friday to go 2-for-5 with a steal and a run. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base on Sunday. Saturday’s game was canceled due to rain.

Wilson is hitting .428/.476/.669 in 43 games, with 26 extra-base hits and five strikeouts in 189 plate appearances.

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 Auburn in a Friday doubleheader. He went 0-for-3 with a walk in the opener, then 0-for-3 with an RBI in game two. He went 3-for-5 with three singles in the series finale on Saturday.

Gonzalez is hitting .326/.440/.563 in 51 games, with 18 doubles, nine homers and 35 walks.

Chase Dollander is considered by many to still be the second best pitcher in the class right now behind Skenes. We took a closer look at him in our second prospect profile. The University of Tennessee right-hander went up against Kentucky on Saturday. He went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, two walks and six strikeouts. Two of those runs scored in the sixth inning before he was removed with no outs.

He now has a 6-5, 4.35 record in 68.1 innings, with a .240 BAA and a 94:25 SO/BB ratio.

Here’s a bonus one because he’s related to a Pirates prospect. Maxton Martin, brother of Mason Martin, has been getting a lot of attention lately in his area. He hit a game-winning homer not long ago off of a light tower. We will see if he moves on to the prospect lists as the draft gets closer, but the scouts are checking him out. Here’s a highlight video recently shared:

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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1. Skenes
2. Langford


Hitter, hitter, hitter. Although Langford is starting to get intriguing. Nothinig against Skenes, its a tough call. I just think this team finds pitching easier than impact bats.


Based on the YEARS Skenes has had at the Air Force Academy, and this year at LSU, and the High School he came from, and the success or lack thereof the Pirates have had in developing hitters, and barring injury – it’s a no brainer. Skenes has all the physical and mental tools to be a great asset for the Pirates long term. Cannot pass on this one – passing on Leiter I agreed with because he faltered late in his pre-draft season.


I volunteer my services to be Head Cheerleader for Team Skenes.


Not quite a Cheerleader, but fellow LSU athlete Livvy Dunne could possibly fit that role slightly better!


The best hitter in college baseball at the moment might just be a young man from Mars, PA who’s playing second base for WVU right now. He was just named the national player of the week and leads the nation in hitting with a .466 average with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 15 home runs, 56 RBI, and 35 stolen bases. His BA is a full 21 points higher than Crews. He’s only a sophomore so’s a 2024 draft prospect but this kid can play.


What his name?


JJ Wetherholt


He should be a finalist for the golden spikes, especially if WV stays in the top 6 and can host a super regional.


I just cant get over Langford’s bat speed. I think he might be my choice for 1-1. YOu can not teach what he can do with that bat.


I keep reading here that “some” believe Langford’s tools are better than Crews’ but so far with a fair amount of looking I haven’t been able to locate that “some.” Typical Langford statements include that in any other year he’d probably be #1 but not this year because of Crews and/or Skenes.

And from CBS Sports: “When CBS Sports polled scouts and other front-office types during the making of our rankings, LSU outfielder Dylan Crews stood out as the industry’s preferred choice for the No. 1 pick. One veteran scout even said that Crews is the most obvious No. 1 pick entering a draft cycle since Bryce Harper.” Has he done anything during the season to change that opinion? Hardly. I’m only a fan and don’t make my living rating players, but when those who do say things like the above it probably shouldn’t be ignored.

I also like Skenes. Anyone would like to have someone like him pitching every 5 days but when weighing the value of a pitcher against that of an every day player like Crews, the scales have to tilt heavily toward the every day guy. Even if the pitcher is great and can stay healthy (another significant concern) he’ll contribute in somewhere around 30 or so games a year while the hitter will contribute to around 150 games yearly. Keller’s been great lately and pitched two gems and honestly the other starters have been pretty good but still the Pirates are 2-8 in their last 10 games because they don’t score any runs.


With a 30% success rate is considered borderline HOF for hitters, they don’t contribute in a positive way anywhere near 150 games


Big fan of this take!


Devil’s advocate response.

First, a SP who makes about 30 starts will affect the outcome of a team’s season as much as a position player who plays 150 games.

Second, as Keller has shown, an Ace takes the pressure off the offense to score as many runs to win.


I mean if we’ve learned anything at all it is how absolutely worthless these kind of “unnamed executive/scout” platitudes almost always turn out to be in reality.


It’s probably Mel Kipper🤣


I don’t envy the Bucco Braintrust on this decision. Mercy, that man from Florida can hit!


Absolutely rockets. Maybe even a bit shorter to the ball than Crews.


Good luck Ben, you have 2 months to figure out who you will need more in 18-20 months. I was all in Crews, but after watching the other FREAK

Then watching Keller and STARTED thinking 2 FREAKS

Burrows and Brubaker just like that, J Jones getting a scare ,VV not part of future but MAYBE , Hill gone, Oviedo, still unproven QP take some lumps, Bubba get banged around Solometo wild
Nicolas still in Altoona. Traded Garcia , Kennady ,Barco, Harrington and Shim years away

Never know with the OF we have BRey locked and Suwinski will just keep getting better, be nice if Mitchell, Gorski or Swags if healthy can take off


I’m trying to make Crews sound expendible

What has happened to me? Who am I?

Grab one or the other PLEASE

I will trust the system after that

i remember the double digit QS run in April (20-8) they HIT

I remember the 2nd QS in May, yesterday (2-11) NOT HITTING



Career College Stats for Crews and Langford

379 / 499 / 698 / 1196

371 / 482 / 750 / 1232

Pretty even thus far

For 2023, Crews still has a slight OPS lead (1357 vs 1348)

Too close to call?


My head says Crews – seems the safest pick. Who wouldn’t love the “Crews” (or “Cruz”) brothers on the team.

My heart wants Skenes even though there No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect. I can dream of a shut down Ace to go with our young stable of pitchers.

All in all, it’s a nice proble to have. Better be #1 than having to hope on someone falling to you.

b mcferren

now that Skenes has grown a mustache, the race between him and Crews has officially become even


He got that DAWG in him!

Durag, gold chain, and stache. Also can pitch a little.

b mcferren

hes got a lot of gomer in him though too

looks like one of the pitchers that bugs bunny faces up against

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

There something about LSU. Tommy Tanks came over from NC State, and now he has a big ‘ol Tiger tattoo and 50 chains. He’s also about to have a 100 RBI season lol in college


oh shit i didn’t even realize he transferred. this portal business is so wild.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

They pulled in A LOT of transfers for this year. Quite a few arms, yet ironically, outside of Skenes their pitching has been BRUTAL


Stache reynolds and stache skenes could be unstoppable

b mcferren

stache bubbe


Whoever in the college ranks that is in the top 5 and can make to the majors the quickest is who the Pirates should draft…

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