With the Pittsburgh Pirates receiving the number one pick in MLB’s upcoming draft, there are several murmurings of who they will take, but there seems to be a very vocal majority.
That vocal majority seems to be clamoring for LSU OF Dylan Crews.
During this season at LSU, Crews has been putting up video game numbers with a slash line of .438/.592/.742 with an OPS of 1.133.
On top of those impressive numbers, Crews has hammered 13 homers, driven in 55 RBIs, and 27 XBH in 178 at-bats.
One of Crews’ calling cards is hard contact, in fact, during his freshman year at LSU, Crews had exit velocities of 100+ MPH in 17 of his first 30 balls in play.
After going over games from Crews’ 2023 season so far, Crews has got a ton of power potential, but there are a few flaws in his game.
One of those flaws is breaking ball recognition, with a few ugly swings and misses to an advanced-looking breaking ball and, to be particular, a slider.
Just to humor those who want a full look at some potential picks other than Crews, let’s take a look at how some other top prospects are performing.
One name that comes to mind is fellow OF, Wyatt Langford out of the University of Florida.
Langford dealt with an awful injury earlier in the season with a ruptured testicle, but nonetheless, he’s been on a tear for the Gators this season.
In 160 ABs, Langford is slashing .400/.535/.813 with an OPS of 1.348. In his last game on May 14, Langford dominated Vanderbilt going 3-4 with two homers and four RBIs.
Those two homers and four RBIs in that game marked a game-high for the season in ’23. Langford’s career high in RBIs for one game was set in 2022 when he drove in five against Seaton Hall in March of ’22.
The next potential number-one pick is Crews’ fellow teammate, Paul Skenes.
Skenes showed up to LSU after transferring from the Air Force Academy and started blasting opponents away with his upper 90s fastball, and surprisingly good command with his slider and changeup.
Not too many college pitchers have a changeup, let alone an advanced changeup.
Skenes, in the ’23 season, holds a 10-1 record with an ERA of 1.69 and a slightly higher RA9 of 1.92. As it stands right now, Skenes has a 17.2 SO/9 and a minuscule BB/9 of 1.6.
Someone with Skenes’ ability is hard to come by, but one of the biggest red flags for him is kind of out of his control, and that’s being a pitcher, and the risk of injury.
Granted, every player has injury risk, but with an upper-90s pitcher, it’s even greater; take Kumar Rocker, for example. It’s always risky to take a pitcher in the first round, but the risk is amplified at 1-1.
While Crews is still the favorite to fall to the Pirates in the draft, there are a few other potential picks that have been making the decisions a tad harder.