2023 MLB Draft Report: Mock Draft I

Right-handed prep pitcher Noble Meyer - Photo by Brian Murphy, MaxPreps

It’s been a few months since James Fox posted the “Way Too Early” mock draft for this class in late December. The names will be familiar if you have been following along with the weekly draft reports. If this is the first time you’ve checked in since December, there has been some shifting on the boards.

As I wrote last week in the updated Top 50 MLB Draft Prospects, the consensus is this college class has the makings of being one of the strongest in recent memory. While the previous two years have been hampered by time missed in 2020, college baseball has recovered from that missing season. We see home runs hit at an amazing clip across the country, and yet, there are very impressive college arms that will entice MLB teams to go that route early.

From a Chicago White Sox point-of-view, sitting at Pick 15 is an interesting place. I have 11 college players taken before the White Sox pick. While I don’t think any of the Top 10 college players will fall to the White Sox, it does mean one of the Top 5 prep players will. That might play right into the White Sox front office plans as they can continue taking a prep player a third straight season in the first round following Colson Montgomery and Noah Schultz.

Quick thoughts on my process for the Top 14 picks

  • Let’s not overthink this: Dylan Crews is the best prospect in this draft class. Crews is the best draft prospect I’ve seen since Adley Rutschman. Before the weekend, Crews was hitting .531/.658/.988. Yes, that’s his slugging percentage. In SEC conference play, Crews is 13-for-23 (.565 AVG) with six walks to three strikeouts. He’s scored 14 runs in six conference games. On Thursday, LSU faces Tennessee, so we’ll see Crews vs. Chase Dollander. It’ll be a terrific test for both players. 
  • To James’s point, the best player often doesn’t go number one overall because of money reasons or preference for loading up on pitchers over position players. 
  • It may not reflect from other sites’ rankings, but LSU’s RHP Paul Skenes has leaped Dollander on the starting pitcher power rankings. 
  • Even though Yohandy Morales didn’t look great when I watched, I have him going 10th overall to Miami. Simply because many teams preferred going with the “safer” route of college over prep hitters. An organization that desperately needs more impact hitters.

Mock Draft I: Picks 1 – 14

PickTeamJosh’s PickJames’s Pick
1PiratesDylan CrewsWyatt Langford
2NationalsWyatt LangfordPaul Skenes
3TigersMax ClarkDylan Crews
4RangersPaul SkenesJacob Wilson
5TwinsChase DollanderMax Clark
6AthleticsWalker JenkinsWalker Jenkins
7RedsJacob GonzalezChase Dollander
8RoyalsBrayden TaylorHurston Waldrep
9RockiesJacob WilsonJacob Gonzalez
10MarlinsYohandy MoralesEnrique Bradfield
11AngelsRhett LowderBrayden Taylor
12DiamondbacksBrock WilkenKevin McGonigle
13CubsHurston WaldrepRhett Lowder
14Red SoxAidan MillerColin Houck

Josh Nelson’s White Sox Pick
Pick 15: RHP Noble Meyer, Jesuit HS (Oregon)

Best available players by group:

  • College hitter: Vanderbilt OF Enrique Bradfield
  • College pitcher: South Carolina RHP Will Sanders
  • Prep hitter: SS Arjun Nimmala
  • Prep pitcher: RHP Noble Meyer

I debated between the right-handed pitchers Noble Meyer and Will Sanders. Then I watched Sanders against Missouri this past Friday, where he walked six batters and allowed two hits, resulting in home runs. Sanders was chased in the fourth inning after throwing 78 pitches, and his season ERA is now 5.17. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to fall on draft boards. 

Meyer posted fantastic velocity readings during showcase events (max velocity: 98 mph) and spin rates in the 3000+ RPMs. Those attributes are what the White Sox targeted in last year’s draft, selecting Schultz and Peyton Pallette with their first two picks, and I’m sticking with that trend in the first mock. 

James Fox’s White Sox Pick
Pick 15: C Kyle Teel, Virginia

Sox Machine 2023 Draft Report: Kyle Teel

The White Sox could go in any number of directions with this pick. Mike Shirley has selected a college pitcher, prep hitter, and prep pitcher in his first three drafts as Director of Scouting. The organization will note that they’re taking the best player. Kyle Teel could be the best player, and the White Sox are sorely lacking catching depth in their system. 

Teel is an athletic catcher with a plus arm and should stay at the position. The White Sox usually avoid hitters who have struggled with wood, and Teel struggled at the Cape Cod League and with Team USA. Despite the development history of White Sox catchers, Teel could get to the big leagues quickly. 

Mock Draft I: Picks 16 – 28

PickTeamJosh’s PickJames’s Pick
16GiantsTommy TroyMatt Shaw
17OriolesWill SandersBrock Wilken
18BrewersEnrique BradfieldYohandy Morales
19RaysArjun NimmalaArjun Nimmala
20Blue JaysKyle TeelThomas White
21CardinalsBlake MitchellAidan Miller
22MarinersKevin McGonigleJuaron Watts-Brown
23GuardiansMatt ShawColt Emerson
24BravesCharlee SotoTommy Troy
25PadresTravis SykoraMaui Ahuna
26YankeesJuaron Watts-BrownWill Sanders
27PhilliesCade KuehlerBryce Eldridge
28AstrosColin HouckCooper Pratt
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Ed Casey

Thanks James and Josh! Loved your early thoughts on how round 1 might shake out. Prep pitching in the first round scares me, although the videos of Meyer out of NHSI are impressive. Teel could be a good grab, as this years catching crop is so light and it would definitely fill an organizational need. I was surprised to see Arjun Nimmala fall to 19 for both of you. After reading Law and Longenhagen’s write ups I thought he seems like a prep SS with loads of upside and tough to pass up if available at 15.