Baseball Report Preparation > PBR PLUS

By PBR Project HQ Staff

As the calendar flips from 2022 to 2023, it marks the beginning of our focus on prospects preparing to put their tags in the next edition of the MLB draft, which is only seven months away. PBR Draft HQ is outlining how pro scouting departments pitch for this upcoming draft at the start of the new year, and we’re publishing our own version of the 2023 draft board to go along with it.

It is important to note that this list is not intended to be predictive of where a player will go in the draft, but rather is seen as a “big canvas” of the PBR from the best available. No amateur draft in the world is as rigorous as Major League Baseball, with draftability factors, draft pools, and luxury taxes all combining to place a great deal of emphasis on accounting for most scouting departments. Those inhibitors aside, talent – and more specifically its acquisition in the draft process – is paramount to most ball clubs, and the teams that gather the most talent and ingenuity in its development are the ones that are most often rewarded.

There will certainly be regular movement on this board over the next six or seven months as PBR staff nationwide remain committed to providing the latest and most reliable information in the industry. For any and all MLB draft updates, news, and notes, be sure to check out the PBR Draft HQ page, as well as follow @tweet on Twitter.

At the top of the 23 class

College Position MVP, OF Dylan Cruz (LSU), pitcher, RHP Chase Dolander (Tennessee), start the year as 1A and 1B slam dunk talents, steady in the top two. Crews is a top prospect in the class thanks to an elite hitting/power tool that makes him the most feared player to get into the box in the entire country. Dollander’s potential status is equally enticing, equipped with a full arsenal of extra-genre offerings, as well as a smooth delivery that generates effortless speed. Each brings tremendous value to an MLB draft, and will instantly enhance any farm system with their star-like roofs.

But the youth movement isn’t far away, and 1A-1B is also useful within high school classes. Max Clark (Franklin Community HS, IN) and Walker Jenkins (South Brunswick HS, NC) carry a full tool shed with elite sticks and gyms. The pair of budding stars bring great potential on their own as talents worth consideration first in the overall selections.

PBR draft HQ TOP-200

1 Dylan Cruz CF LSU
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In terms of impact bats, the Crews carried with them perhaps the highest cap of any bat on the collegiate national team, thanks to the extra double raw power, solid feel for the strike zone, and propensity for the “I’m going to hit this for the moon” type swing, no matter the count. During his first two seasons for the LSU Crews, he has already hit 40 home runs, and in Game 2 of the Stars vs. Giant “bull plate” over DBAP’s already massive 32-foot left field fence. Largely featured throughout the Honkbalweek Haarlem tournament, Crews has done a good job of working his share of walks, but also finds himself squeezing some with those big cuts and big hits in roughly a third of his at bats. Its swing generates massive amounts of energy and loses almost none through impact thanks to a strong core, powerful front side and compact swing capable of delivering a barrel with deadly force to any part of the area. His brutal chops can find him swinging between pitches at times – especially the softer stuff late in the count – but the overall profile suggests a solid corner putter who should pull walks and nukes while providing solid play on the turf. Pro clubs will be focusing on trance and approach rate next spring, with a good showing putting them into discussions about the best overall talent in the class. He’s already starting a potential first-round pick for next summer, regardless.

2 Chase Dolander RHP Tennessee
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Fresh from a dominant sophomore season, Chase Dollander is a top prospect in college. With an easy fastball speed of 98 mph, two break balls (a sharp slider, 83-86 mph and a curveball, 73-75), plus an above-average changeup, the right-hander also performs at the highest levels, scoring He posted a 10-0 record with a 2.39 ERA and 108 strikeouts against just 13 walks in 79 innings last season for Tennessee.

3 Max Clark From Community of Franklin (IN) Vanderbilt
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Clark’s relentless pursuit of perfection may be his most intimidating trait. No player brings as much talent to the Diamonds, but what is even more impressive is that no player brings as much energy and dynamism. Max Clark is always working. There is no half speed for his engine. He glides all over the court with grace, and is just as dangerous at turning a routine ground ball into a short one as he extends a standing double into a triple. He’s a rebounding player who determines the future of amateur baseball, and he’s unwilling to be typecast. The frame has continued to evolve over the past couple of years, and the now 6-foot-1, 190-pounder hull bears the traits of peak performance with slim, defined power throughout, including a thick bottom half. All of his dynamic abilities make him a top 10 player in the slam dunk, especially given the elite expectations the bat holds. Only intensifying his grip on the lead is the maturity and professional style with which he carries himself while standing under the brightest spotlight. No player ever fell under Max Clarke’s pressure, and rather than crumble under him, he mentored him to help take his game to new heights.

4 Walker Jenkins From South Brunswick (North Carolina) North Carolina
+ Click here for the survey report and video

A hand injury robbed Walker-Jenkins of a portion of his first summer draft, but the number two player in the class of 2023, and most likely, barely looked rusty as he competed for the South Charlotte Panthers in the PBR Cup at Lake Point this fall. Stoic in the box with a professional approach, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound country strongman went 5-for-8 in three games that featured several extra base hits including a home run in the Panthers’ first game at the event. Its presence in the box is punctuated with a slight curve that offers a sporty look. The fairly practical triggerguard of the load operates smoothly with a slight kick to the leg, and while its frame is longer, there is an innate ability to stay compressed throughout its stroke while building up speed in a small window. Jenkins runs from short to long across the area, covering the plate with ease, and as exciting as the power potential is, the hitter is the first thing to note. He tracks pitches effortlessly without being rushed, approach is uncompromising and he has a keen sense for delivering heavy barrels no matter what venue or pitch he’s sent his way. The boxes continue to be checked with each subsequent look, and his tunnel vision approach to development is sure to impress every scouting department. A skilled teammate with what appears to be an unparalleled work ethic, there was no fuss or scouting around every night when Jenkins made his way to the cages to get more work. Without a doubt, Jenkins is a top 10 pick, and the possibilities that he hear his name called out in a 1:1 are hardly remote.

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