The 2023 MLB draft boasted one of the deepest crops of secondary and college talent in recent memory. While players are always up and down in their predictions over the course of 10 rounds and 614 choices, there are always bargains to be found.
On this week’s Pipeline Podcast, authors Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo pick what they believe are the best value picks made in each round.
Aidan Miller, SS, JW Mitchell HS (FL), Phillies No. 27; Rank No. 13
May: He’s a guy who, in terms of talent, is much higher in the draft. So for the Phillies to get him at #27, even if they had to go over the slot to sign him, it was a nice win for them. … everything this man did hit and hit for power. He might be moving to third base, but he was, I think, very good value for them by the end of the first inning – a potential top-ten talent.
Walker Martin, SS, Eaton HS (CO), Giants #52; Rank No. 30
Callis: Athletic Colorado High school shortstop, former quarterback. He might outrun the position, he’s very athletic, he might end up at third base, but he’s got a power profile there. This was a guy who had interest throughout the second half of the first round, and they got him halfway through the second round.
Eric Bitonti, SS, Aquinas HS (CA), Brewers No. 87; Rank No. 68
May: A left-handed batsman six-foot-four, tons of raw power, very athletic. I doubt he plays shortstop over the long haul – although he does sometimes show good body control there – I think he moves to third base, but I like what the Brewers have done with some classy high schoolers. … For the third round, the upside and ceiling were huge.
Cole Schoenwetter, RHB, San Marcos HS (CA), Reds #105; Rank No. 43
Callis: Most high-priced high schoolers who don’t get drafted on day one, you’d think they’d go early on day two to the teams with the biggest bonus pools, or you wouldn’t sign. so when [the Reds] Schoenewetter took over early in the fourth round, I was like, “Whoa.” … This one really surprised me. …they got back together with a high school student.
** Fifth round
Spencer Nevins, OF, Missouri (MO), Royals No. 142, ranked #119
** May: He can really hit. He doesn’t hit, he makes a lot of connections. …has a chance of maybe getting a medium strength. Left hitter, really good swing, maybe he’ll have a chance to play center field, maybe move into a corner, but I think the bat is really exciting there.
Cooper Pratt, SS, Magnolia Heights HS (MS), Brewers No. 182; Rank No. 45
Kallis: One of the favorite draft players.. Who is the right-hand version of?
May: Gunnar Henderson.
Callis: Yes. He’s a private school kid from the south, similar build, really advanced bat. I call it now – this is draft stealing. Cooper Pratt will be participating in the Futures Game in two years.
George Woolko, OF, Downers Grove North HS (IL), White Sox No. 209; Rank 71
May: A big left-handed power bat. There are some questions about his hitter, some swing and misses, the length of some of his swing and he’ll need to work on some swing decisions…but massive power, he’s athletic, he works really well, he could be a fit fielder with a good arm.
Julian Brock, C, LA-Lafayette, Rangers #231; Rank No. 122)
Callis: I think that’s a steal for Rangers. Catching the crop in college has been pretty grim this year. He’s strong and hitting hits, he’s got power, he’s got extra superpower, but he’s made some strides as he gets closer to the plate and has shown more hitting ability this year than he has in the past. … moves well behind the plate … blocks balls well, solid arm strength, quick release.
** Round 9
Jake Peppers, RHP, Jacksonville State, White Sox No. 269; Rank No. 187
**May: He’s relaxed, he’s started, I think you give him a chance to start at the next level because there are three pitches to work. Wise driving, he might end up on the battlefield. He has a very good slider who has lost a lot of the bat and has a good feel for the changeup.
Ross Dunn, LHP, Arizona State Twins #297; Rank No. 140
Callis: He’s a left-handed three-pitch, has a deceptive fastball in the low 90s, his slider into the 80s is probably his best pitch, and he gets a changeup in the mid-80s. He needs to improve his driving, but is a left-handed three pitches and a good build. If you can make it more consistent, you’ll probably have a #4 to begin with.
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