2023 MLB Draft: Day One Recap

Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a team-by-team analysis of last night’s draft activity. Remember that you can find more detailed scouting reports and tool grades for the players drafted over on The Board.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
12 7 50 Tommy Troy 3B 21.5 Stanford Speed, Power
48 HM 45 Gino Groover 3B 21.3 North Carolina State Bat Speed, Athleticism
64 HM 40 Caden Grice SP 21.1 Clemson Slider, Frame, Projection

Arizona drafted a mix of floor and upside on Day One, adding a relatively stable, Top 100 prospect to their mix in Troy before taking two college dev projects in Grice and Groover. Groover is one of the most exciting players in the draft because his bat speed is ridiculous, though he needs refinement in many areas, especially defense. Lefties with a breaking ball as good as Grice’s tend to pan out, if only as relievers, but Grice could break out if he focuses solely on pitching.

Atlanta Braves
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
24 6 50 Hurston Waldrep SP 21.4 Florida Velo, Splitter
59 HM 35+ Drue Hackenberg SIRP 21.3 Virginia Tech Slider Quality & Command
70 61 40+ Cade Kuehler SIRP 21.1 Campbell Velo

It was a huge coup for the Braves to get Waldrep in the back third of the first round. I consider him the second-best pitcher in the entire draft and a Top 100 prospect. The rest of the Braves’ first day doesn’t look great. They took two guys I have projected as relievers in Hackenberg (who had a nearly 6.00 ERA this year) and Kuehler (who struggled late in the year). Hackenberg has a key Braves prospect attribute, though: breaking ball command. Atlanta has had success augmenting prospects for the better, especially when they have this skill already on board when they’re acquired.

Baltimore Orioles
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
17 17 45 Enrique Bradfield Jr. CF 21.6 Vanderbilt Speed, Defense
53 HM 40 Mac Horvath 3B 21.5 North Carolina Bat Speed, Performance
63 HM 35+ Jackson Baumeister SP 21.0 Florida State Frame, Curveball Depth

Bradfield was drafted exactly where I had him ranked. Horvath continues the Orioles’ trend of drafting pull-heavy college performers. Similar to Hackenberg, Baumeister didn’t perform well enough in college to be a slam dunk second rounder, but the Orioles like to take pitchers with good natural breaking balls and he has that. They’ll try to sync up his delivery and develop the rest.

Boston Red Sox
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
14 11 45+ Kyle Teel C 21.4 Virginia Feel to Hit, Arm
50 31 45 Nazzan Zanetello SS 18.1 Christian Brothers HS (MO) Arm, Athleticism, Power

It was a great first day for the BoSox. Teel fell into their lap at 14 and then Zanetello, who I had ranked 31st, was waiting there in the middle of the second round. While eavesdropping on folks in the media area, I overheard discussion about Teel being slot, which would be surprising. Zanetello might be over, though, so Boston may have to save some pool space on Day Two to fit him in.

Chicago Cubs
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
13 18 45 Matt Shaw 2B 21.7 Maryland Bat Speed
68 HM 40 Jaxon Wiggins SIRP 21.8 Arkansas Frame, Velo

I had Shaw ranked 18th, but I don’t think he was a reach or anything like that. He should have gone in the middle third of the first round and he did, another chalky detail in a chalky draft. I’m a little less enamored with the Wiggins pick because (assuming his rehab goes as expected) he already does the thing the Cubs seem to be able to coax out of their pitching prospects: he throws hard. He’s a pure relief prospect who needs help in every other area if he’s going to be a starter in pro ball, and the Cubs track record of improving that skill in their pitching prospects isn’t great.

Chicago White Sox
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
15 37 45 Jacob Gonzalez SS 21.1 Ole Miss SEC Performer, Defense
51 HM 40 Grant Taylor SP 21.2 LSU Velo, Curveball

I’m not on an island in thinking that the Gonzalez pick was a reach, but I am in the minority — he had realistic homes around pick 10 or so. I worry he’s going to Bleday, as like JJ Bleday, he swings inside so many fastballs riding up and away from him. The Taylor pick marks the second consecutive year the Sox have taken a guy coming off of TJ, and a vertical fastball/curveball type at that.

Cincinnati Reds
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
7 9 45+ Rhett Lowder SP 21.4 Wake Forest Scondaries, Command, Hair
38 46 40+ Ty Floyd SP 21.9 LSU Fastball Life, Changeup Projection
43 59 40+ Samuel Stafura SS 18.7 Panas HS (NY) Contact, Defense

This was as close to a “draft for need” haul as there was on Day One. Lowder and Floyd should quickly help the Reds pitching staff at the big league level while their young core hitters blossom. Stafura adds a good hit tool to the system and indicates a departure from the Hinds/Hendrick/Allen types who do everything but hit. I was a tad lower on each of these guys compared to where they were picked, but I still like all three and know people around baseball think this was a big first-day haul.

Cleveland Guardians
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
23 44 40+ Ralphy Velazquez C 18.1 Huntington Beach HS (CA) Lefty Power
58 62 40+ Alex Clemmey SIRP 18.0 Bishop Hendricken (RI) Fastball Velo, Frame
62 HM 40 Andrew Walters SIRP 22.6 Miami Velo, Fastball Shape

I had Ralphy in the early second round, so that was a bit of a reach for me, but there were other teams on him in that range and I think Cleveland may have picked San Diego’s pocket. Walters’ ability to throw strikes with his style of fastball is very exciting now that he’s in this system. He has a shot to be another James Karinchak type of reliever. If Walters (who remember was drafted last year and didn’t sign, giving him a little less leverage now as an older prospect) is under-slot, then that bonus pool space might be allocated to Clemmey. The Guardians don’t shy away from high school pitching in the draft, to mixed results.

Colorado Rockies
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
9 8 45+ Chase Dollander SP 21.7 Tennessee Slider, Frame, Velo
46 HM 40 Sean Sullivan MIRP 21.0 Wake Forest Fastball Movement
65 HM 40 Cole Carrigg C/SS/CF 21.2 San Diego State Versatility, Arm

I can’t imagine the culture shock Chase Dollander is about to experience going from the frat house of Tennessee’s college baseball program to a buttoned-up org like the Rockies. I think it’s fair to anticipate he’ll be pushed quickly in the same way Gabe Hughes has been so far. The Rockies have taken their fair share of college relievers in the past (Tommy Doyle, Ben Bowden) and scooped up another one very high in the draft in Sullivan, who I liked, just not in the second round. Carrigg is one of the more fun players in the draft and he blew up the Combine, especially the throwing drills. He’s going to be a cool multi-positional utilityman.

Detroit Tigers
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
3 4 50 Max Clark CF 18.6 Franklin HS (IN) Contact Quality, Speed
37 19 45 Kevin McGonigle SS 18.9 Monsignor Bonner HS (PA) Contact, Defense
45 HM 40 Max Anderson 2B 21.4 Nebraska Bat Speed, Performance

Detroit got two top-20 talents and two of the higher-floored high school prospects in the draft in Clark and McGonigle. I’m a little skeptical Anderson is going to keep hitting like he did this year. More on that in his scouting blurb.

Houston Astros
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
28 39 40+ Brice Matthews SS 21.3 Nebraska Twitch, Power, Athleticism
61 HM 40 Alonzo Tredwell SP 21.2 UCLA Frame, Fastball Ride

It sounds like several teams in the Comp round were dying for Matthews to fall to them. His report reads a lot like George Springer’s did when he came out of UConn: huge bat speed, plus runner, feel to hit needs polish. The vertical break on Treadwell’s fastball is right in line with what Houston tends to target in the draft.

Kansas City Royals
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
8 20 45 Blake Mitchell C 19.0 Sinton HS (TX) Arm, Power
44 47 40+ Blake Wolters SP 18.7 Mahomet-Seymour HS (IL) Curveball, Projection
66 HM 35 Carson Roccaforte CF 21.3 Louisiana-Lafayette Low-ball Power, Speed

Mitchell (likely under slot) and Wolters (maybe over) provide a much needed injection of upside into the Royals system, which is arguably the worst in the sport. Mitchell has a lot of work to do on defense, but he has rare power for a catcher. Wolters is the latest in a recent run of highly priced high school arms in Kansas City. The Royals may have saved on Roccaforte to make their bonus pool math work.

Los Angeles Angels
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
11 33 45 Nolan Schanuel 1B 21.4 Florida Atlantic Contact, Power, BB:K

Again, chalk. Teams were putting the Angels on near-ready hitters who they could rush up to the big leagues as soon as possible, and Schanuel is arguably the most polished hitter in the draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
36 HM 40 Kendall George CF 18.7 Atascocita HS (TX) Elite Speed
60 HM 40 Jake Gelof 3B 21.4 Virginia Power, Patience

The Dodgers had their pocket picked by Miami (Thomas White) and diverted to elite speedster Kendall George, who I expect will sign for less than slot. That should give Los Angeles the flexibility go over at some point during Day Two. Gelof finished his college career with two consecutive years of .700 slugging percentages and at least 20 home runs.

Miami Marlins
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
10 12 45+ Noble Meyer SP 18.5 Jesuit HS (OR) Three Pitches, Projection
35 27 45 Thomas White SP 18.8 Phillips Academy (MA) Curveball, Projection
47 HM 40 Kemp Alderman OF 20.9 Ole Miss Elite Power

It takes guts to use a top 10 pick on a high school pitcher, let alone to use two first round picks on high school arms in the same draft. I think you could argue the Marlins got the two best prep pitchers in the whole draft and that it makes sense to lean into the org’s core competency, which is developing arms.

Milwaukee Brewers
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
18 32 45 Brock Wilken 3B 21.1 Wake Forest Elite power
33 26 45 Josh Knoth SP 17.9 Patchogue-Medford HS (NY) Athleticism, Curveball
54 HM 40 Mike Boeve 3B 21.2 Nebraska – Omaha Contact

The Wilken pick is perhaps a bit of a departure for Milwaukee. Yes, they’ve picked the Wes Clarkes of the world late in previous drafts, but they tend to use high picks on Eric Brown Jr. types, up-the-middle contact bats. Knoth is in Milwaukee’s wheelhouse, another power pitcher starter kit with a vertical fastball/curveball combo. Boeve continues Milwaukee’s trend of drafting smaller program guys.

Minnesota Twins
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
5 5 50 Walker Jenkins LF 18.4 South Brunswick HS (NC) Hit/Power Combo
34 HM 40 Charlee Soto SP 17.9 Reborn Christian HS (FL) Velo
49 HM 40 Luke Keaschall SS 20.9 Arizona State Athleticism, Bat Speed

Minnesota took the final player of the consensus top five available in Jenkins. The rest of their draft was mildly surprising. Soto throws hard, but I didn’t expect his sink-oriented heater to appeal to a more progressive team’s sensibilities. Keaschall checks a lot of data-related boxes and definitely has plus athleticism to the eye, but I’m not sure his feel to hit was actually tested by the Pac-12.

New York Mets
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
32 23 45 Colin Houck SS 18.8 Parkview HS (GA) Athleticism, Projection, Bat Speed
56 43 40+ Brandon Sproat SIRP 22.8 Florida Sinker Velo, Changeup

Houck will probably cost the Mets a lot of extra pool space, which is why they drafted (with his permission) Sproat, who is an older college prospect and therefore likely signable for a below-slot price.

New York Yankees
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
26 22 45 George Lombard Jr. SS 18.1 Gulliver Prep (FL) Feel to Hit, Natural Loft, Age

I don’t have much to say about the Lombard pick. He went right near where I ranked him and I mocked him to the Yankees in my first mock. It will be interesting to see how they fit Lombard into their crowded complex-level infield.

Oakland Athletics
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
6 10 45+ Jacob Wilson SS 21.3 Grand Canyon Elite Contact
39 HM 35+ Myles Naylor 3B 18.3 St. Joan of Arc HS (ON) Arm, Bat Speed
41 HM 40+ Ryan Lasko CF 21.1 Rutgers Speed, Raw Power

Wilson is rumored to be signing a below-slot deal so, in the end, the A’s will probably pay him on par with about where I have him ranked on The Board. I hope they do more with the savings than just sign Naylor, who I consider more of a bat speed flier than a multi-million dollar prospect. I just don’t think he’s going to hit. With Henry Bolte in last year’s class, that marks two straight years the A’s have taken a guy with a questionable hit tool near the top of their class.

Philadelphia Phillies
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
27 15 45 Aidan Miller 3B 19.1 JW Mitchell HS (FL) Power, Frame Projection

Good value again this year for the Phillies, who end up with one of the more promising high schoolers in the draft, a player who many expected would go prior to this. Miller might already be their best hitting prospect.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
1 3 55 Paul Skenes SP 21.1 LSU Velo, Slider
42 HM 40 Mitch Jebb 2B 21.2 Michigan State Contact, Speed
67 66 40+ Zander Mueth SIRP 18.1 Belleville East HS (IL) Low Release, Fastball Mvmt, Slider

This is a sexy group. Skenes was a mild surprise at 1.1, but he’s ready to help a big league team and the time is nigh for the Pirates to actually contend. Jebb is like a Ji Hwan Bae clone, and if he came in under slot to help facilitate the Mueth pick, his selection looks even better.

San Diego Padres
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
25 14 45 Dillon Head CF 18.8 Homewood Flossmoor (IL) Feel to Hit, Speed

Folks in rival war rooms thought San Diego was on Ralphy Velazquez at pick 25. The Guardians took him just two spots earlier and, as is often the case when the player you wanted goes right in front of you, the Padres scrambled to find someone with whom they could cut a deal. Head gives the Padres yet another high-upside athlete near the bottom of their farm.

San Francisco Giants
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
16 35 45 Bryce Eldridge 1B 18.7 James Madison HS (VA) Power Projection
52 41 40+ Walker Martin SS 19.4 Eaton HS (CO) Gorgeous Swing, Arm
69 21 45 Joe Whitman SP 21.8 Kent State Slider Command, Late-Bloomer

Even though I’m apprehensive about both of their high schoolers, I really like the Giants’ draft so far because I think Whitman was incredible value at pick 69. The Bryce Eldridge two-way experiment should eventually lead him to a full-time hitting role, but the Giants have some experience working with two-way guys. The Walker Martin second round deal was a pervasive pre-draft rumor coming from the crew who scouts the four corners.

Seattle Mariners
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
22 38 45 Colt Emerson SS 18.0 John Glenn HS (OH) Hitting Hands, Defense
29 HM 40 Jonny Farmelo CF 18.9 Westfield HS (VA) Elite Speed
30 29 45 Tai Peete 3B 17.9 Trinity Christian HS (GA) Power, Projection, Athleticism
57 HM 35 Ben Williamson 3B 22.7 William & Mary Motor, Contact

The Mariners’ complex-level team is going to be loaded after the draft now that they’ve added three high-upside high schoolers to their farm. Even among that group, there’s a well-rounded collection of floor (Farmelo’s defense), upside risk (Peete’s power and projection), and hit tool stability (Emerson). With those three in the fold, the Williamson pick is likely to be way under slot. Williamson is a high effort R/R third baseman with a weird bat wrap and a slice-and-spray approach.

St. Louis Cardinals
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
21 16 45 Chase Davis LF 21.6 Arizona Sweet Swing, Power

I don’t have much to say here, as Davis was mocked to St. Louis before the draft. The recent history of Pac-12 hitters in pro ball is not good and the Cardinals are familiar with that (Ryan Holgate), but they went back to the well in Tucson to select Davis.

Tampa Bay Rays
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
19 24 45 Brayden Taylor 3B 21.2 TCU Defense, NCAA performance
31 HM 40 Adrian Santana SS 18.0 Doral HS (FL) Athleticism, Switch hit
55 45 40+ Colton Ledbetter LF 21.7 Mississippi State Contact, SEC performance

I thought the Rays’ three Day One picks would enable them to get creative, and maybe try to move someone very talented back to their third or fourth pick. Instead they caught a falling Taylor, who was great value where they got him, took another college performer in Ledbetter, and a “Rays Special” in Santana. Santana is a compact, switch-hitting shortstop, right up Tampa Bay’s alley.

Texas Rangers
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
4 2 55 Wyatt Langford LF 21.7 Florida Power, Speed

The Rangers were viewed as Langford’s floor on draft day and they ended up getting their guy. Langford runs well enough to play center field, but his feel for the outfield is awful. He could probably move quickly as a DH if the Rangers want him in Arlington ASAP.

Toronto Blue Jays
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
20 28 45 Arjun Nimmala 3B 17.8 Strawberry Crest HS (FL) Age, Power, Projection

Nimmala struck out a lot during the spring, which is why he fell. Is he a righty Nolan Gorman, who K’d a ton as a senior but panned out anyway, or is he Keoni Cavaco? It seemed likely that a team that cares a lot about draft day age would be the one to catch him, and that’s why I mocked Nimmala to Toronto in my first go.

Washington Nationals
Pick Rank FV Name Position Age School Strengths
2 1 60 Dylan Crews CF 21.4 LSU Everything
40 13 45+ Yohandy Morales 3B 21.8 Miami Size, Power, Arm

The Nationals now have two star-level outfielders in their farm system in Crews and James Wood. Morales had a mid-first round grade from me and was incredible value in the second round.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Cave Dameron
9 months ago

Thank you Eric, very cool!