The MLB Draft remains more than three months away, but players continue to jockey for positioning. With most high school schedules across the country in full swing this month, the intel rolling in will create movement on draft boards as clubs scout, strategize, and eventually finalize things for July’s draft.
Earlier this week, the folks at Prospect Live updated their Top 400 2023 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings. Here are some notes on this update one may find intriguing.
College to High School Ratio
Reminder: This is not a mock draft, but it is interesting nearly half the Top 30 are high school players, especially considering the top of the class is led heavily by college talent.
Among the 13 prep talents in the Top 30 are OF Max Clark from Franklin Community High School (Ind.) and South Brunswick High School (N.C) OF Walker Jenkins at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively. Arjun Nimmala, a shortstop from Strawberry Crest High School om Florida comes in at No. 11.
In PL’s Top 100, there are 38 high school players.
|DRAFT||TOP 30 HS Players|
The Dominant College Conferences … and Campbell
It’s no surprise the SEC is the top producer in the rankings among college conferences. The top four and seven of the Top 10 play at SEC schools.
The ACC placed five in the Top 30, led by right-hander Rhett Lowder at No. 12.
The Pac-12 (Troy Taylor, 2B — Stanford, No. 21) and Big 12 (Braden Taylor, 3B — TCU, No. 15) each have one player in the Top 30.
Campbell, of the Big South, boasts a Top 20 prospect in Cade Kuehler, a right-handed pitcher touching the upper-90s with his fastball.
In the last five drafts, Campbell has pushed nine players into pro ball via the draft, including first-round picks in SS Zach Neto (Angels, 2022), RHP Tom Harrington (Pirates, 2022), and RHP Seth Johnson (Rays, 2019).
Crews, Montgomery among FSS alum showing impact ability in college
Of the Top 30, 22 are bats, plus a two-way talent in James Madison High School (Va.) 1B/OF/RHP Bryce Eldridge. Among those 22, 12 are infielders, not including two projectable catchers.
There are numerous legitimate middle-infield prospects in the class of 2023, several currently project as early picks.
Depth on the Mound
Despite a lot of infielders littering the PL Top 30 in the latest rankings update, there are a lot of arms to consider in the early rounds, and it’s a fun mix of college and prep.
College righties Chase Dollander (Tennessee) and Paul Skenes (LSU) lead the way, followed by Florida ace Hurston Waldrep and Lowder.
But Jesuit High School (Ore.) right-hander Noble Meyer has first-rounder written all over him (currently No. 17 for PL), Reborn Christian Academy (Fla.) right-hander Charlee Soto (18), and Eldridge (25) headline the prep crop.
Thirteen arms rank 31-50 in this update, and 20 more 51-100. That’s 33 of the back-50 among Prospect Live’s Top 100 prospects.
Scouts & Execs Like the Class … a lot
While it’s early in the process, it’s clear to scouts and front office personnel the 2023 MLB Draft class is pretty good, among the best over the last 10-12 years.
“For me, it’s been crazy,” said an area scout covering the Atlantic region, which includes a lot of ACC talent. “There’s more I need to see because the players might be top 10 rounds, rather than seeing players almost for the sake of due diligence. I’ve been here six years and this is as good as it’s been for me.”
One scouting director opined “this is the kind of draft you remember. You use it as a baseline, like we look at ’99 and ’05, and so many before that.”
How far back do we have to go to find a better class? Time will tell in the end, but at this point in the process, classes from 2009, 2010, and 2011 stand out, as does the 2012 group.
We’re looking at somewhere around 10 years, perhaps more, to find a group as good and as deep as this year’s class looks right now.
“There are a ton of players for Day 2 and Day 3,” the scouting director added. “But this class has big impact at the top, too. That’s what you want. Impact and the kinds of depth that awakens you from a deep sleep because you can’t wait to select them after the first (round).”
Future Stars Series Alum
Several Future Stars Series alum appear in PL’s Top 400, including LSU OF Dylan Crews (1), Soto, Stanford 2B Tommy Troy (21), Wake Forest 3B Brock Wilken (23), and Parkview HS (Ga.) Colin Houck.
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