We’re just over 48 hours away from the start of the 2023 MLB draft, and when the festivities begin on Sunday night, all eyes will be on a pair of former LSU players.
Both outfielder Dylan Crews and right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes have been largely seen as the top-two prospects in the draft all season. However, a recent MLB.com mock showed a change with high school center fielder Max Clark going with the top pick, instead.
ESPN baseball insider Kiley McDaniel recently released the 3.0 version of his 2023 mock draft, and he has Skenes ultimately going with the top pick to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
According to what McDaniel is hearing, Crews is looking for an over-slot deal worth nearly $10 million if he goes in the top spot. Due to the fear of not signing the top pick in a loaded draft class, McDaniel predicts that the team will make the safer move and draft Skenes.
Skenes, Wyatt Langford and Max Clark are the three real options at the top pick. Clark has worked out for the Pirates privately, and (news alert) Langford did so earlier this week, now that his college season is over. I think the question here is, for roughly comparable prices, do the Pirates want to pick Langford or Skenes — and if they want to save a bit more money, do they take the high school player in Clark?
The Pirates may not know the answer to this question yet, and I’m pretty certain they haven’t talked numbers with the reps for any candidate, but I’m confident this is the state of play right now.
To account for saving some on this pick and having a big 5% bonus pool overall, I have local-ish product Kevin McGonigle (21st in my final rankings) going to the Pirates with their next pick, 42nd overall. You’ll see a lot of prep players who get past pick No. 20 or so finding their way to a club’s second pick for more money, but neither the teams nor the agents involved have a good idea how that will play out yet.
While he may not get the deal he ultimately wants if this projection holds true, McDaniel doesn’t have Crews waiting very long with the Washington Nationals taking him at No. 2 spot.
Taking famous collegiate draft prospects for enormous bonuses is the formula the Nats used to land Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, which eventually led to a World Series title. Is Crews putting out a huge signability ask because he has a landing spot worked out or because he’s confident he’ll get what he wants? I’ve heard for months the Nats’ draft board has Crews and Skenes at the top, and literally no other players are being taken seriously at this pick, despite some buzz they’re considering Langford. I think an LSU player is extremely likely to be the Nats’ first pick.
Regardless of how it all plays out, both Skenes and Crews will certainly hear their names very early in the 2023 MLB draft, which begins on Sunday night at 6 pm CT.
Dylan Crews named SEC Male Athlete of the Year
LSU Tigers flood the LSWA awards list
MLB’s Jim Callis ranks Paul Skenes as one of the best pitching prospects ever
Contact/Follow us @LSUTigersWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Louisiana State news, notes, and opinions.
Follow Tyler to continue the conversation on Twitter: @TylerNettuno
Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire