As much as we don’t want to, we’ll have to close the book on the 2023 baseball season and Sunday will be the first step towards that.
The MLB Draft begins Sunday in Seattle as part of the MLB All-Star weekend festivities. LSU ought to have plenty of pieces from its national championship team selected, including two at the very top.
Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews are serious contenders to go first overall. If either player does, they’ll join Ben McDonald as first overall picks in program history. Crews seemed like a lock to go first overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates throughout most of this past college baseball season, but there’s been an awful lot of scuttlebutt lately saying the Pirates, a notoriously cheap organization, may not be willing to pay the full slot value for the pick ($9.7 million) and instead take Florida’s Wyatt Langford or high schools prospect Max Clark or Walker Jenkins instead.
The Pirates are shopping a below-slot number to four players for the No. 1 pick, according to multiple industry officials: Wyatt Langford, Paul Skenes, Max Clark and Walker Jenkins.— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) July 9, 2023
There’s a lot of belief Langford will be the pick, but Jenkins is rising as a possibility.
Still, whether Pittsburgh decides to pinch some pennies or not, Skenes and Crews are locks to go top-10 if not top-5. The real intrigue from this 2023 roster centers on how highly guys like Tre’ Morgan, Ty Floyd, and Jordan Thompson get picked.
Floyd’s stock has probably never been higher after a tremendous showing in Omaha where he struck out 27 in two starts. In fact he’s getting some last minute first round buzz according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel. The Athletic’s Keith Law has Floyd mocked as high as 17th to Baltimore, while McDaniel has him 24th to the Atlanta Braves.
Morgan’s got a glove of gold and showed he can play outfield this past season; and Thompson has all the tools you’d want from a MLB shortstop and can make throws like these.
But what about some of the fringe players like Hayden Travinski, Brayden Jobert, Christian Little, Nate Ackenhausen or Riley Cooper? Do any of these players get the money they’re looking for if and when they’re picked?
Another player from this past season’s roster has an interesting decision ahead of him but interestingly enough didn’t play at all this season: Grant Taylor. Taylor, if you’ll remember, was in line to be LSU’s No. 2 starting pitcher behind Paul Skenes, but had Tommy John surgery in February after a reportedly terrific fall. Taylor is a draft-eligible sophomore and MLB has him ranked as the No. 102 prospect overall. Does he take the money and rehab with whatever club selects him? Or does he come back to Baton Rouge and, health pending, improve his stock for next summer’s draft?
As with every MLB Draft, the real intrigue isn’t which current players do teams hold on to, it’s which future ones actually make it to campus. LSU’s 2023 class isn’t as highly touted as we’re used to seeing (12th according to PerfectGame) but there’s still some heavy hitters in this class...so naturally they likely won’t ever wear the purple and gold.
Blake Mitchell, a catcher out of the state of Texas, is the highest ranked prospect in LSU’s class but projected to go somewhere in the top-20. Lefty power arm Cameron Johnson out of Florida doesn’t appear to be heading to Baton Rouge either as he’s a projected top-50 pick.
Middle infield prospect Steven Milam is just outside the top-100 (No. 105) but is drawing comparisons to Alex Bregman because of his build (5’8”) and the fact he’s also a New Mexico native. LSU was able to get Bregman to come to school, can history repeat itself 10 years later?
The MLB Draft begins Sunday 7:00 ET, with rounds 1 and 2. It will pickup with rounds 3-10 on Monday, and conclude with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday. You can watch Sunday’s portion of the draft on ESPN or MLB Network, while Monday and Tuesday can be streamed through MLB.com.