5 teams that won day 1 of the 2023 MLB Draft

July 10, 2023

To preface this, it’s important to note it’s hard to crown any “winners” from any draft until several years after the event itself. Players need to stay healthy, develop, and debut before labels should be given. That said, from this chair, a few teams really stood out for their approach and added impact on day one of the draft. This is entirely subjective.


The Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks dipped their toes into the college pool and came away with a crop of players who should not only move quickly, but each possess carrying tools that could translate into serious impact at the next level. Arizona landed Stanford 2B/SS Tommy Troy at pick no. 12. We had Troy the 9th-ranked player in the class and a potential middle-of-the-order stick with 25-homer upside. They’d follow that up by selecting NC State 3B LuJames “Gino” Groover III at pick no. 48. We had Groover ranked 48th-overall. This feels like a sensational value as Groover III should certainly hit at the next level at a high level. It remains to be seen where he’ll line up on the field, but the bat is real. Landing Clemson LHP Caden Grice at pick no. 68 was also a great get, and a player who had plenty of interest ahead of their pick. We had Grice the no. 72 player, but other teams had him going in the top 60 picks. He could end up a steal and quite possibly the top southpaw to come out of this class.


The Pittsburgh Pirates

You’d have to squint and nitpick really hard to poke holes in what the Pirates were able to do on day one of the draft. They landed arguably the best college pitcher in maybe two decades, and for a reported under-slot deal no less. LSU righty Paul Skenes could pitch in Pittsburgh in 2024, and to get that sort of dominance at a discount speaks volumes to the strength of this draft class at the top. We had Skenes the no. 2 overall player in this class, but the margins were so thin there was no wrong answer with he or fellow Tiger, Dylan Crews. At pick 42, the Pirates landed Michigan State SS Mitch Jebb, arguably one of the most underrated bats in the class. He’s got more power than his baseball card would suggest, so often stymied by Big 10 wonky field dimensions. He’s got a shot to hit for an impressive average and could tap into 12-15 homers per year. He can also play any position on the field. Jebb was the No. 45 ranked player by Future Stars entering the draft. RHP Zander Mueth at pick no. 67 is fascinating. He’s a super-high ceiling righty who could end up with huge stuff. Command concerns landed Mueth at no. 94 overall on the Future Stars Top 614 board before the draft, but he has some of the biggest potential of any arm in this class.


The Seattle Mariners

As is the case with the Pirates, it’s hard to walk away from day one of the draft having watched the Mariners pick three times in the top 30 picks and not feel good about their haul. Three prep bats with huge upside. Shortstop Colt Emerson at no. 22 is probably the highest floor player Seattle selected. Future Stars had Emerson the no. 19 overall player in the class. He’s certainly going to hit, and could end up showcasing at least average power at the next level. Outfielder Jonny Farmelo at 29 and shortstop Tai Peete at pick 30 carry more risk, but both players may present more physical and athletic upside than Emerson when all is said and done. Farmelo graded out our no. 43 overall player in the class, and Peete the no. 55 overall player in the class prior to day one. Seattle would balance out all that money spent on their first three picks by selecting William & Mary third baseman Ben Williamson in the second round. Williamson will be a money-saver, but was a consensus top upperclass talent available in this draft and was never going to make it out of the third round. His financial flexibility carried too much value to teams. Williamson ranked as the no. 222 overall player in the class.


The San Francisco Giants

The Giants and Pete Putila attacked this draft by focusing on upside and unicorn traits on the prep side. They walked away with two-way bluechip Bryce Eldridge at pick no. 16. We had Eldridge the no. 17 overall player in this class. That said, there may not be another high schooler in this class with more upside and ceiling. Their ability to pull SS Walker Martin down to pick no. 52 should be applauded. Future Stars had Martin the no. 21 overall player in this class. He’s a kid with a ton of raw power and athleticism, but was hidden a bit in Eaton, Colorado. Capping off an already impressive day by landing LHP Joe Whitman at pick 69 was the cherry on top. Whitman graded out as our no. 42 overall player in this class and should be a safe, steady mid-rotation arm if all breaks right. A solid value.


The Washington Nationals

The Nationals only landed two new players on day one, but it was some of the biggest offensive impact money could buy. Washington landed our top overall player in this class in LSU outfielder Dylan Crews with the second overall pick. This statement should speak for itself, but the Nationals’ already loaded farm system added another potential star to the ledger. The Nationals’ ability to land Miami 3B Yohandy Morales could go down as one of the better picks in this class. There may not be another player with more bat speed than Morales. Should he iron out his chase rates, Morales has a shot at becoming an all-star in due time. It’s buggy whip at the plate.

Joe Doyle
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