The 2023 Draftees Are Now on The Board

Paul Skenes
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Members of the 2023 draft class are now on the pro side of The Board. You can see where freshly drafted and signed players stack up in their new organization’s farm system here. Graduates have also been pulled from The Board; their evaluations are now preserved on the 2023 Graduates tab. Players who exceed rookie playing time requirements between now and the end of the season will be moved from the 2023 Updated section of The Board to the Graduates section in real time, and those who graduate get a scouting update on their player page contrasting their evaluation with their performance at time of graduation. Note that the farm system rankings from prior to the graduates removal still exist here; live farm system rankings (for which the grads no longer count) exist here. These will shift and change as prospects move between now and the trade deadline.

Because the Top 100 grew and changed throughout the Prospect List cycle, readers should consider it live and up to date. I made some updates to Reds prospects (more on that in a second) and slid Diamondbacks outfielder Druw Jones, who succumbed to yet another injury between when the D-backs list published and now, but otherwise just pulled off the grads. There are only 89 players in the minors with a 50 FV grade or better right now because of the graduates being pulled off of the list. This is not unusual for this time of year; similar to the way the 50 FV cross section moved from 107 players to about 130 players during the last cycle, prospects who improve and advance will climb into that group.

Reds Update

Between now and the deadline, I’ll be reviewing the farm systems of a few key clubs likely to buy, something I’ve already done for the tippy top of the Reds system.

Lyon Richardson’s pitch grades have been altered to reflect that his changeup has become his best pitch. His innings count has been kept pretty conservative, and I’d really like to see him hold the 95–97 mph fastball he’s currently showing deeper into games before moving him into the 50 FV tier, but he looks really good. His command isn’t precise, but he has a mid-rotation starter’s mix and has been throwing hard since his return from TJ, just not while working a true starter’s innings load.

Cam Collier is struggling statistically, but the pro scouting reports from source clubs are still generally positive, and he is still very young for a full-season hitter. His swing is still pretty weird, but there’s just too much lefty power here to slide him so soon.

Noelvi Marte is not playing good defense right now. He’s hitting well enough that he’ll probably still be a quality big leaguer even if he has to move off of third base, but now that he is on the 40-man, he only has so long to find a position before he’s out of option years. Lurking on the horizon here is a scenario where he ends up with one or no options left and basically no position. It’s not his likeliest outcome, but because he’s looked pretty bad on defense for the last sixth months or so, this is now a conceivable outcome. I still think he will be a good big leaguer over time (he remains a 50 FV prospect on The Board), but were I a GM, I’d be apprehensive about making him the centerpiece of a trade return.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand moves up into the 45 FV tier as a power-hitting role player who’ll be a dangerous (but likely flawed) piece of this ascending Reds team. His Triple-A contact rate (72%) would be near the bottom of the MLB 1B position group (70%), and his chase rates (an eyebrow-raising 39%) were about 20% worse than big league average (32%) at the time he was called up. League-wide adjustment to his tendency to chase will make him streaky, but ultimately Encarnacion-Strand’s power is going to play in a big way because he’s incredibly strong, and his swing is geared to do big damage. There are warning signs here similar to what Elehuris Montero exhibited in the minors, even amid his awesome surface-level statistical performance, but CES is at a different level, physically.

Edwin Arroyo also slides from the 50 FV tier to the 45 FV tier. Again, he still projects to be a good big leaguer, just not a true everyday, omni-situational player in my eyes. He continues to have throwing issues that will likely funnel him to second base, which I suppose was already likely given the Elly/McLain combo ahead of him. He’s going to get to his power by virtue of his swing’s lift, but his bat-to-ball performance has regressed enough to reevaluate him in light of the new defensive projection and consider him more of a just-shy-of-average second baseman. Look at the kind of hit tool it takes to profile as an everyday second baseman. Arroyo’s performance has been fine, but not quite on that level.

You can see how punishing the De La Cruz, McLain, etc. graduations are to the Reds’ farm system ranking, but even if you consider that group to be untouchable, they have a ton of depth (nearly 50 ranked prospects) to leverage in trade discussions.





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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sadtrombonemember
8 months ago

Interesting to see Skenes as a 60 on the board since he was a 55 before the draft.

I would tend to agree with the 60, despite all of the critiques I’ve heard about his fastball shape lately. Someone comped his fastball to Nathan Eovaldi’s, but Eovaldi is on pace for a 4.5 win season and has a 5+ win season in recent memory so I’m not sure that bothers me so much. And Eric cares a lot about fastball shape, so if Eric is hanging a 70 grade on it I would say it’s not something to be concerned about right now.

It also looks like Arjun Nimmala and Brice Matthews got bumped up, which I also agree with (IMO I’d bump them up to 45+ but there’s huge hit tool risk on both, so I get it).

The Guru
8 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

My take on it ,was the guys in the Futures game made Skenes look like a 3rd rounder. Watch Misiorowski then go watch Skenes. Every team has more than half a dozen players in their org throw 100. This issue with skenes is not just his fb shape, thats a large part, but he averages 98mph this year according to his coach on tv. He didn’t avg 101.

So you take his 98mph on 7 days rest, turn it into 5 days rest. Then you take his 3 month season and turn it into an 8 month season. Then teams are going to want run on his fb so they’ll change his grib/mechancics and now all of sudden you have another typical sec over hyped arm we see every year that turns into a bp piece that you just drafted #1 overall. He’ll be cruising 94-95 at the next level

His 94-95 won’t play up, so he’ll get moved back to the BP where he will sit 96-98 throwing 1 inning and you just drafted a bp piece at 1-1.

Last edited 8 months ago by The Guru
wokegraphs
8 months ago
Reply to  The Guru

Dude, in his last start of the year he hit 102 on his 120th pitch. If his arm stays healthy—a thing you’d caveat every pitching prospect on the planet with—he is not going to be averaging 94-95. Are you a Nats fan just hoping Crews doesn’t hit too many grounders?

68FCmember
8 months ago
Reply to  The Guru

Not sure I follow why Skenes not averaging 101 means he’s going to move to the bullpen. Averaging 94 on his fastball would put him 29th of 61 qualified MLB starters per the statcast. Most of the guys with crazy stuff in the minors like Misiorowski have command questions and high relief risk.

The Guru
8 months ago
Reply to  68FC

No doubt! 94-96 is just average though. We see this every year with college rankers, Casey Mize, Jack Leiter, etc. They all win the college world series, they all have a 0 ERA, the espn SEC media hype machine gets behind them, then the sheep follow….then they get drafted 1-1….. then they dont do good.

Say Skenes does stay at 97-98 mph, his FB is too straight for that right now. Go watch Chapmans movement. Taking a look at Skenes shapes and tunnels on his secondary pitches. I’d honestly grade those below avg right now. They can obviously get better but he has work to do. I’m sure if someone does nothing but watch college they look amazing to them.

Thats whats tough about the rule 4 draft, its all based on projections

Last edited 8 months ago by The Guru
sadtrombonemember
8 months ago
Reply to  68FC

I’ve more or less lost the story element that moves him from a 98-MPH guy to a 94 MPH guy, but I think it partly has to do with changing his fastball shape. If they do successfully change his fastball shape to something that is less hittable, then it will play up from 94 MPH instead of down from 98 MPH. The 98-MPH-but-plays-down guy is someone like Sandy Alcantara or Hunter Greene; the 94-MPH-but-plays-up is someone like the most recent iteration of Jordan Montgomery or Zac Gallen.

Me, I’d mostly be worried about a guy averaging 98 MPH having his arm fall off. That seems to be a thing that happens (see: Syndergaard, Severino, May…although Alcantara seems to be holding up okay). Normal pitcher attrition is going to be way more of a concern than anything specific to Skenes.

Dmjn53
8 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I feel like whoever used the Eovaldi comp meant it in a pessimistic way, but Nathan Eovaldi is good? He’s probably going to reach 30 WAR in his career