MLB Draft: Mock Draft 6.0 — Paul Skenes, Dylan Crews & Under-Slots

July 9, 2023

Welcome to draft day. At time of publish we are eight hours from the first pick being announced in Seattle, WA. And with that, things have never been so unclear.

With such a deep and talented crop on the high school side this year, teams are undoubtedly working to move money around in the first round in the hopes of pulling a talented teenager or two down to their second or third pick. It’s not often teams have the opportunity to land a prep with first-round upside in the second round, so flexing one’s bonus pool this year is arguably more important than ever. It’s possible as high as pick no. 3 we see a money-moving deal. Every team thereafter has something to gain by cutting a deal with an under-slot talent to spread the wealth in later rounds.There’s likely to be a run on college performers in the middle of the first round. But how those picks line up could dictate what unexpected talent remains on the board entering round two.


  1. Paul Skenes, RHP — LSU

    At time of publish, I don’t think the Pirates know what they’re going to do, nor do any of the players in play at this spot have a clue. Pittsburgh will probably make it’s “priority call” about 15 minutes before the pick and ensure the bonus demands are what they imagine.

    From this chair, the two at the top of this class are simply too talented to pass on. Langford fits somewhere adjacent to that bucket too, and would make some sense if he could be had for something in the $8m to $8.5m range. Clark ultimately would represent the most savings, and while he’s an extraordinarily talented player, the draft just doesn’t see guys like Crews and Skenes at the top of most drafts. For that reason, I think Pittsburgh bucks the under-slot notions and selects Skenes on a deal for roughly $9.3 million.

2. Dylan Crews, OF — LSU

There’s almost no circumstance where Crews falls past the second pick. Behind closed doors, there have been rumors Crews fancies the idea of playing in Washington. So much so that the Boras camp has purportedly thrown gaudy signing bonus demands at the Pirates to land Crews. That said, the Pirates hold the cards and almost all the leverage.

The Nationals have scouted South Brunswick outfielder Walker Jenkins extensively, and have had brass out to see LSU righty Paul Skenes and Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford on almost every occasion down the stretch. That said, those efforts are likely for naught if Crews is on the board at No. 2.

The Nationals are squarely in wait-and-see mode, but if Crews is gone here, Skenes, Langford or Jenkins all make a lot of sense.

3. Wyatt Langford, OF — Florida

The Tigers were out to see Virginia catcher Kyle Teel in droves on a number of occasions, even as recently as the Super Regionals. That said, it seems as though those efforts are more of a backup plan as Tigers’ front office members are purportedly “nervous” that Langford won’t get to them at 3.

General Manager Scott Harris is embarking on his first MLB Draft for the organization and it would only make sense for him to follow his analytic roots and take a hitter here. In the unlikely scenario Crews is still on the board here, his “tumble” stops in Detroit. Still, the betting line in Vegas should lean Langford and/or Teel.

4. Walker Jenkins, OF — South Brunswick

Outside of an unforeseen player being available at this pick, all of the smoke for the better part of two months has been how enamored the Rangers are with Jenkins. He’s an 80-grade human being, and could be one of the rare high school bats that moves quickly through a system.

Rangers’ brass really like Teel, and he’s certainly an option with this pick and could represent a slight under-slot deal with the idea of spending heavy with their next pick in the fourth round (exactly what they did in 2022 with Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter.) But he’s unlikely to provide the type of savings necessary to really make a splash in a later round.

The team also likes Clark, but it seems as though the majority of decision-makers in Texas prefer “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

5. Jacob Gonzalez, SS — Ole Miss

The Twins are in such a unique position with the fifth overall pick. They have the fourth-most money to spend in this draft, and they’re sitting behind a team in the Rangers who do not have a second- or third-round pick. Texas has the 16th-biggest bonus pool. The Twins can essentially buy down whatever player they want to this spot. In this scenario, we have them following a draft model and taking Gonzalez with an under-slot deal, positioning them well to over-spend on later picks.

The Twins sat in on the final few weeks of Wake Forest games with multiple scouts on-hand each week. Specifically on Rhett Lowder‘s starts. It’s possible they were there to see Brock Wilken on a number of occasions and could target him at 34 in Compensatory Round A, but it was an awful lot of heat for a pick later down the board and it was almost exclusively for when Lowder took the ball.

It feels like Gonzalez or Lowder are the pick here, but it would hardly be a surprise if the Twins bought Jenkins down to 5 with the total bonus pool discrepancy between Minnesota and Texas.

6. Brayden Taylor, 3B — TCU

The entire narrative with this pick seems to be college performer and under-slot. Taylor probably affords the team some saving and grades out well in models.

They’re rather quiet around draft time, though secondary sources have provided upwards of eight different names as potential fits. Jacob Wilson has been mentioned as an under-slot option here too, but those rumors are a bit dated to this point. Opposing front office executives have pointed toward Teel as an option here for a while now. He’s a big make-up guy and will stay up the middle of the field. But Oakland is flush with options behind the plate for the future.

Clark still being on the board at this spot muddies the waters a bit, though there’s been no indication Oakland is in the market for Clark to this point. But again, they’re quiet.

7. Max Clark, OF — Franklin Community

If Walker Jenkins goes 4, it becomes tricky finding a landing spot for Clark. The Reds have jumped at the opportunity to land up-the-middle high school talent of late, and while I don’t think it’s a slam dunk they’d select him, Clark would fit that mold. Cincinnati does seem to hope Lowder falls in their lap however, so that shouldn’t be discounted either.

The Twins, Athletics and Reds all represent potential pivot points in this draft where under-slot deal could create chaos in picks thereafter. Dollander may afford the Reds a bit of a deal as he won’t fall much further than this. Noble Meyer has been mentioned here and could ultimately end up being the pick if he gives Cincinnati a deal.

8. Kyle Teel, C — Virginia

The Royals absolutely love Teel and have spent an inordinate amount of time taking in his games toward the end of the year. There’s always a chance he’s not available here with potential landing spots in Detroit, Minnesota, Oakland, and Cincinnati. That said, there’s been a good bit of smoke surrounding a potential Enrique Bradfield Jr. under-slot deal here and his profile would fit the confines of Kauffman beautifully.

Back in April, Kansas City did spend a great deal of time sitting in on Jesuit right Noble Meyer, and while not much has come out of that in talking with some different scouts in the area that track, the under-slot appeal of the top high school arm in this class is obviously a route the Royals have gone before. Should Teel make it to 8, there’s obviously a fit. Colin Houck has been brought up here a lot too as an under-slot option.

9. Rhett Lowder, RHP — Wake Forest

It seems as though the Rockies are waiting and hoping that one of Lowder or Dollander fall into their lap at 9, but word out of that camp is they’re also preparing for the scenario that OF Max Clark is available here if the arms and under-slots go on a run off the board. That’s unlikely here. Lowder may be available on a significant under-slot deal.

The latest rumor over the past 24 hours is Colorado is on Miami 3B Yohandy Morales on an under-slot deal here should both of the arms they prefer be off the board. Rumors of Enrique Bradfield Jr. at this spot were also flush this week.

10. Jacob Wilson, SS — Grand Canyon

Miami is another spot in this draft pundits believe a potential under-slot deal could make sense. The team likes Shaw an awful lot, and he fits the type of high-floor college bat that the team in 2022. But Wilson being available here may surprise the organization and his ultra-high floor and shortstop profile may edge out the model-friendly third baseman.

Meyer has been working through a number of different under-slot options in the 6-12 range and we think he could land here (or in Kansas City). Miami seems to be targeting high-character guys of late and Wilson and Shaw might be two of the highest baseball character guy of all the college bats. Shaw particularly received “immaculate” combine interviews feedback.

The sleeper here is probably prep shortstop Sammy Stafura who purportedly had a fantastic private workout for the Fish and could be a popular money-saver here.

11. Chase Dollander, RHP — Tennessee

The idea the Angels are still looking to get fast-moving college performers here continues to ring loud in industry circles. Shaw, Wilson and Bradfield Jr. seem to be the most common names outside of Dollander, and the Angels need pitching. This is also probably the floor for Lowder.

Waldrep could be in play and could provide savings with the pick.

12. Colin Houck, SS — Parkview

The Diamondbacks have purportedly circled pitching, specifically college pitching, as their greatest priority in this draft, and the case can be made that Waldrep being on the board here makes sense. They’ve also been tied to up-the-middle preps, and Houck might not only afford the most upside at this pick, but some savings as well.

If the very loose rumors of a Dollander “slide” have any legs, this could be a floor as folks in the know have suggested Arizona really likes the Tennessee righty. Dollander’s landing spot is a tough one.

13. Hurston Waldrep, RHP — Florida

Pitching continues to be the rumor here, and Waldrep is really the only other sensible arm left. Maybe Meyer. Carter Hawkins has had a ton of success in the past drafting for stuff, and Waldrep or Dollander (if available) could move quickly at the next level.

The Arjun Nimmala link here continues to be strong, and he’s a real candidate to go 13. That said, of late, pitching has dominated the back-alley conversations on this end. Dollander is a very good arm and he’s got to go at some point…

14. Matt Shaw, 2B — Maryland

The overarching opinion is the Red Sox will grab one of the impressive college bats at this spot, but we think there’s a real shot they go heavy under-slot in this position. Still, ultimately, Shaw possesses too much talent to remain on the board past this spot.

Others in the industry have suggested this is without question the floor for Wilson, the talented hitter out of Grand Canyon University. Wilson has seen his stock slip a bit of late due to overall concerns of impact in his offensive profile. He and Arizona outfielder Chase Davis are strong under-slot targets for the Red Sox.

15. Yohandy Morales, 3B — Miami

This is an awfully difficult pick to pin down. The White Sox appear to like Taylor and Miami Morales a great deal. Bradfield Jr. might make sense here as well.

In recent years, the Sox have gone for high-profile preps with their first round picks. And that tact has worked with the emergence of a player like Colson Montgomery. Eaton SS Walker Martin, a similar player in size and stature, is a considerable option here too. Watch out for Davis in this spot too. There’s a whole host of teams in the 14-20 range that like him as a money-saver.

16. Walker Martin, SS — Eaton

With this being General Manager Pete Putila‘s first stab at the MLB Draft with the Giants, my gut tells me he’s going to go hard for athleticism and up-the-middle traits. Martin checks both of those boxes and can find success at the big league level going a number of different routes with power being the carrying tool.

Knowing what we know about the Giants, their competitive philosophy, and their budget, Putila and his team can afford to take risks and shoot for organization stars.

Troy and Shaw make a lot of sense here too, though.

17. Bryce Eldridge, OF/RHP — James Madison HS

The Orioles seem to be in that perfect spot in the draft where a number of super-talented bats could fall into their lap. But this is the first time Baltimore has drafted this deep in quite some time, and in this scenario, they’re grabbing pure upside.

A couple other names to watch here. Nimmala’s slide in this mock is worth monitoring. The Orioles are said to really value his skillset and having the chance to land him at 17 would be quite the development. From this chair, provided either of them are available, it feels like a two-horse race between Eldridge and Nimmala.

Here’s the ultimate sleeper projection: Baltimore likes Michigan State infielder Mitch Jebb a whole lot. Watch for him to potentially come off the board to afford the team an over-slot luxury in the second round should both of the two prep standouts be gone.

18. Tommy Troy, 2B — Stanford

The Brewers seem to be looking at the college bats in this class and are more than happy waiting to see what ends up available at 18. Shaw or Troy are purportedly priorities and both, ironically, are on the board.

It’s unlikely Miller falls much farther than this and Milwaukee may have to consider his big bat with him unexpectedly still available.

19. Aidan Miller, 3B — JW Mitchell

The Rays have had a ton of high school talent in for private workouts over the past month and that seems to be the direction they’re going. Miller purportedly impressed the team, though Houck, as well as John Glenn SS Colt Emerson and Homewood Flossmoor OF Dillon Head both looked excellent too.

It’s almost unfathomable that Meyer is still on the board at this stage, and he would certainly fit the Rays draft model too.

20. Chase Davis, OF — Arizona

The Blue Jays have been out in droves to see Davis play, and they’re model-friendly approach to drafting certainly supports the notion they’d be intrigued by the slugging corner outfielder.

Toronto has spent a ton of time getting to know Shaw too, and he’s certainly in play if he’s on the board. Should the Jays go the route of a high school hitter, Homewood Flossmoor outfielder Dillon Head seems to get the most run here.

21. Arjun Nimmala, SS — Strawberry Crest

The Red Birds always seem to lay in wait, snatching up whatever high upside player lands in their laps around this range year in and year out. Pitching is something they haven’t been afraid of. Nimmala falling to the 21st pick seems more and more likely at this stage.

Per usual, not a lot of attaching specific names here. The Cardinals prefer to let things play out.

22. Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF — Vanderbilt

Seattle is focusing on bats, bats and more bats in the early stages of the 2023 draft and appear poised to get creative with some of their draft ammo starting with the 22nd pick. Bradfield Jr. represents a high value at this spot.

It seems if any one of Taylor, Shaw, Troy or Bradfield Jr. are available here, the Mariners would likely jump at that opportunity. Shaw, in this scenario, just so happens to be the one still on the board. Possibly Wilson too, though his camp is more split it seems.

Should the glut of college bats be unavailable here, guys like Emerson, Head, Martin, as well as Jonny Farmelo and George Lombard Jr. are all well-liked.

23. Colt Emerson, SS — John Glenn

Emerson fits all over this draft, He could go as high as 12 or as low as 30. He had a fantastic workout in front of Guardians brass and purportedly left quite an impression on the organization, so watch out for that fit too.

The Guardians have had a ton of success over the years with pitching in the draft and Kent State LHP Joe Whitman is quite clearly the top lefty in this class with burgeoning stuff. He could be a money-saver here. College bats like Schanuel and Wilken are mentioned here as well.

24. Sammy Stafura, SS — Walter Panas

There’s been a decent bit of heat in on Head this spring and reports are the Braves have been front and center. That said, Stafura had a strong workout in front of Braves scouting execs and the overwhelming consensus seems to be that this is the range he’ll come off the board.

The Braves are smack-dab in the middle of what appears to be a rather lengthy competitive window. They can reach for the highest ceiling possible here.

Of course, if the team wants to continue to seek the 6-foot righty that throws a fastball with enormous carry and possesses a potential devastating slider, LSU righty Ty Floyd is right down their alley. However, Dana Brown and Brian Bridges, two of the scouting leaders who helped welcome some of Atlanta’s best arms in the past, are no longer with the organization.

25. Dillon Head, OF — Homewood Flossmoor

Ah yes, a tradition as old as time. Spring is here and Padres General Manager AJ Preller is being seen at every small town ballpark across the country. The man puts in more miles than any other general manager in the game. He relishes this time of year going back to his roots. It’s almost exclusively prep-heavy chatter here with Head getting most of the headlines and Martin gaining some steam behind the scenes.

San Diego really likes Wolters, and they’ve shown extended interest in Stafura and Santa Margarita shortstop Trent Caraway of late as well.

26. Nolan Schanuel, 1B/OF — Florida Atlantic

The Yankees, as has been the case a lot in recent drafts, are all over left-handed power and high school bluechips with up-the-middle traits. Schanuel is polished and could conceivably be New York’s full-time first baseman as early as late 2025, and could even handle right-field responsibilities when called upon.

Stafura has had private workouts for no less than a third of the league and seems to be a name that is destined to force his way into the first round. The Yankees like him a lot too. He fits in a number of different places, though New York likes him as a local boy with the potential for four “plus” tools.

The Yankees like Dillon Head a lot here too, but he too is not available.

27. Charlee Soto, RHP — Reborn Christian

This feels way too low for Soto, but in a draft full of college and high school hitters, the high school righty could fall. And Philadelphia would love it. Is this unlikely? Sure. But it’s the way the draft bores out in this scenario.

Stafura is well liked here too, and the Phillies have shown interest in Virginia Tech outfielder Jack Hurley at this spot as well. This is also a spot that might make sense for Phillips Academy LHP Thomas White if the dollars make sense. If for some reason Morales gets here, he makes sense too.

28. Mitch Jebb, SS — Michigan State

The Astros seem to be circling the wagons on the infield market as it appears to be an area of need. With Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman getting older, and not a whole lot of reinforcements on the horizon, this is a good year to address it. Jebb would represent an under-slot option here and a model darling along the lines of their first round pick in 2022, Drew Gilbert.

If Martin somehow falls into this range, this is where his slide ends. The same can be said for Troy and Shaw. Other publications have suggested Floyd is a well-liked in Houston.

29. Jonny Farmelo, OF — Westfield

The second of Seattle’s three first-round picks, Farmelo is a high-upside athlete who could end up sticking in centerfield to go along with his 70-grade raw power. It’s a rare toolset. Seattle has done a ton of homework on Farmelo from all angles, and appears to have circled him as a real fit.

Farmelo, of all the high school upside plays here, is expected to be the most expensive and could require an over-slot number at 29. Lombard Jr. is purportedly high on their wish list too, and could be an option at 30, though this scenario really only plays out with a college bat going their way at 22. Seattle is also purportedly taking a hard look at high school pitching with guys like Soto, and hard-throwing Bishop Hendricken lefty Alex Clemmey being considered too.

30. Alex Clemmey, LHP — Bishop Hendricken

A haul of Bradfield Jr., Farmelo and Clemmey would be quite the story for Seattle. That’s a whole lot of upside. It remains to be seen if they could afford both Farmelo and Clemmey here.

Lombard Jr. is in play here as well, as is Patchogue-Medford RHP Josh Knoth. He also fits the aforementioned model traits Seattle has targeted in recent years. He also throws a 3000+ rpm breaking ball already. Seattle may look to add an arm in the first round and both fit their model.

31. Tai Peete, SS — Trinity Christian

The Rays have had an enormous number of high school shortstops in for private workouts in the last month and seem keen on taking the tact of adding athletes in this class. Having landed Miller at 19, Peete fills the void for that sandwich athlete that turns into a top prospect over time.

Doral Academy Charter shortstop Adrian Santana is purportedly an organizational favorite too, and would fit the same archetype.

32. Blake Mitchell, C — Sinton

The Mets are said to be hoping that Morales falls to their pick here at 32, but that may be a pipe dream with some of the team above this overly valuing power and bat speed on the college side.

The Mets and their deep pockets can afford to take some risks in the draft. If Morales isn’t available here, don’t be surprised if the Mets take a high-upside swing like Mitchell or IMG lefty Cam Johnson who impressed at the combine.

33. Trent Caraway, SS — JSerra Catholic

The Brewers like what they’ve seen thus far from Caraway, including in a private workout held for the team. He was arguably the most impactful bat in what was largely a down year on the California prep scene, but Caraway has had 70-grade raw power grades slapped on his profile by some.

Milwaukee could elect to go for another college bat like Mike Boeve or Max Anderson here. And Virginia Tech outfielder Jack Hurley as showed well for the team in a workout.

34. Noble Meyer, RHP — Jesuit

The Twins saved a bunch of money at 5 in this scenario and they could use those savings to land a high-octane high arm here. It’s a tough year to be a high school righty in this class considering all the bats and “safety” found in the first round.

The selection of Gonzalez really sets up the Twins next two picks and they could get awfully creative. A guy like Kevin McGonigle could make a ton of sense too.

35. Adrian Santana, SS — Doral Academy Charter

Having selected Shaw in the first round, the Marlins reach for a bit more pure upside at pick no. 35 with shortstop Santana. After a bombshell workout, Miami absolutely loves the local prepster and they’ll be praying he gets to 35. This is about the range Christian Brothers College (HS) SS Nazzan Zanetello fits too.

This is generally where the Marlins like to flex their pitching development chops a bit and grab a high school arm they can really transform. Should that be the case, local boy Soto has to be at the top of mind. It stands to reason the team saved a bit of money on Shaw (not much) and could swing for the fences on a guy like White here as well.

36. Brock Wilken, 3B — Wake Forest

Wilken has a ton of upside as a 6-foot-4-inch patient, slugging thumper. It’s a toss-up as to whether he’d stay at third base, but the Dodgers models like him and the Dodgers are said to like the profile as well.

37. Mac Horvath, 3B/RF — North Carolina

Horvath might be one of the most complete college hitters in the entire country that nobody is talking about. Eligible for the second time, he’s a good bet to go reasonably early in this draft and save the team who selects him some money for their next pick or two. His contact rates against spin and velocity are both among the elite. He can handle absolutely anything. His positional value only ups his draft stock He projects a solid regular who could boast an above-average hit tool with above average game power when all is said and done.

It remains to be seen how Scott Harris is going to attack this draft, but our bet would be he leans on analytics harder than his predecessors. And saving a few hundred-thousand dollars here would afford Detroit to get splashy at pick 45.

38. Juaron Watts-Brown, RHP — Oklahoma State

Watts-Brown has suitors from the back of the first round through the end of the second round. The Reds are said to be all over this one, though Miami, Cleveland and Seattle are seen as likely landing spots too should he get into round two.

Other players the Reds have spent considerable time on include Atascocita outfielder Kendall George, Patchogue-Medford RHP Josh Knoth and Round Rock RHP Travis Sykora.

39. Nazzan Zanetello, SS — Christian Brothers College

The Oakland Athletics own the final pick of the first round and with the money they saved in landing selecting Taylor at 6, they’re able to pull Zanetello down to 39 and pay him in the neighborhood of $3 million.

Other players on closer to at-slot deals make sense at this spot including Caraway and Santana, but for this exercise, we’re moving money around. Zanetello joins a young core of position players including Tyler Soderstrom, Henry Bolte and Taylor as the future of the Oakland Athletics.

Joe Doyle
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