Way-too-early 2023 MLB draft rankings: Kiley McDaniel’s initial top 50 prospects
- ESPN MLB Insider
- Kiley McDaniel covers MLB prospects, the MLB Draft and more, including trades and free agency.
- Has worked for four MLB teams.
Now that the 2022 MLB draft is behind us, it’s time to turn our attention to the top prospects for 2023.
Right now, next year’s draft class isn’t overwhelming at the top. We’re over halfway through the key summer events, so a couple of more names will emerge, but most likely outside the top 30-50, just filling out the depth of the class.
Unlike last year at this time, when we already had Druw Jones and Termarr Johnson in a top tier, and the year before when we knew Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer were going to go in the top 10 for sure (and probably high up), this time around we have some solid names but no slam-dunk No. 1 overall prospect.
Multiple times in the process of whittling down this list, I was told to move a player out of one of the top few spots — but the person suggesting that never had a replacement name in mind. The FV, or future value, here at the top (50 is the highest and there are 10 players at that tier) tells you that numerically: the three top prep position players in this year’s draft (Jones, Johnson and Jackson Holliday) were all 55 FVs, which is basically spots 20-to-50 on the minor league Top 100. The top 10 on this list would all fit in the 51-to-120 slots on an extended top 100, so it’s pretty tightly packed.
On the bright side, the college pitching crop has bounced back and the 50 FV tier is deeper this year than last (eight players were 50 FV or better in the 2022 draft) because of the depth of the college hitter class.
LSU right fielder Dylan Crews and Vanderbilt center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. (and maybe Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez?) are probably the most famous names, Grand Canyon SS Jacob Wilson (son of former Pirates SS Jack) is the notable bloodline connection and Indiana prep outfielder Andrew Wiggins is… well, he has the same name as the Warriors’ guard. Maybe the link in the blurb for my 29th-ranked player will be for you. The other notable thing up top is the prevalence of the ACC and SEC on the list: Nine of the top 16 play in those two leagues and three more are committed to play there if they don’t sign.
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