The Pittsburgh Pirates will be making the first overall selection in the 2023 MLB draft in 31 days. Time for changes at the top are running out as the college season nears the end. This draft class has a clear top five prospects, giving the Pirates multiple options for their pick.
Baseball America released their third mock draft on Thursday morning. Their pick for the Pirates has never changed, but they have some interesting notes about what could be going on with the pick.
BA has the Pirates going for LSU outfielder Dylan Crews. He has been ranked #1 by nearly every mock draft and prospect ranking from major sources since the start of the season.
Crews pulled away from the pack early this season with an incredible start, but then he hit a wall with three weeks left in the regular season and plenty of big games on the schedule. By the end of the season, he was passed in OPS by Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, who was the only other guy who took a #1 spot anywhere during this entire mock draft/prospect ranking season.
BA has a note that there are scouts who believe Langford isn’t far behind Crews, plus he out-hit him in the same conference. There were scouts (according to reports) who actually liked Langford better coming into the season.
As of right now, when you include the postseason play, Langford has a one point edge in OPS. He’s doing it with more power, while Crews is getting on base more. Langford has 45 extra-base hits in 204 at-bats, while Crews has 32 in 220 at-bats.
Their walk and strikeout rates are very similar, with Crews having a slight edge in both categories (more in the walks). They both ran the bases about the same, though Crews had more chances to steal and fewer attempts. Neither committed an error this year. Langford has four assists, while Crews hasn’t thrown out a runner all year.
Overall you’re basically talking about identical value seasons.
BA has another interesting note here concerning the two prep outfielders we have followed closely all year. They said there could be cases made for Max Clark or Walker Jenkins going first overall.
I have heard that too, so that’s not the really interesting part. It’s that they don’t mention LSU pitcher Paul Skenes as a potential pick for the Pirates, while saying Jenkins and Clark are possible.
As I have mentioned, the Pirates will be good if they don’t stray from these top five players. You can find multiple sources that say they all have #1 overall talent in most draft classes. There are some years where no players have fit that description, going #1 only because they were the best that year.
My personal preference in that situation would be to go with the higher floors of college players and the safety of a position player over a pitcher. As guys throw harder and less often, they have become more injury prone. That isn’t to say Skenes will fall into that large group, but he would have to be a clear #1 for me to take him in that spot.+ posts
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.