Major League Baseball Draft: LSU teammates expected to be top picks

LSU pitcher Paul Skenes, who can eclipse 100 mph with his fastball, is a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. Photo by Jacob Reeder/LSU Athletics
1 of 5 | LSU pitcher Paul Skenes, who can eclipse 100 mph with his fastball, is a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. Photo by Jacob Reeder/LSU Athletics

July 6 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to choose one of two stars from LSU's College World Series-winning team with the top pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, wrestling with a Paul Skenes or Dylan Crews decision Sunday in Seattle.

First- and second-round coverage will air at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN and MLB Network. The Washington Nationals have the No. 2 selection. The Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins are the other teams with Top-5 picks.


Crews, 21, is the favorite to go as No. 1 to the Pirates. The junior outfielder is the No. 2 prospect in's prospect rankings, behind Skenes.

Crews and Skenes could become the first teammates in history to be selected as the first two picks of an MLB Draft.

"Honestly, everything about him is just big league," Skenes told when asked about Crews. "That dude, whether he knows it or not or tries to or not, is a leader. He brings people up with him every single day, which is awesome to have as a teammate."


Crews hit .426, the third-best average in college baseball, in 2023. He also led the nation with 71 walks and 100 runs. Crews ranked second with 110 hits and a .567 on-base percentage and hit 18 home runs with 70 RBIs in 71 games for the Tigers.

Crews, who hit .349 with 22 homers and 72 RBIs in 62 games in 2022, won the 2023 Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in the United States.

The Tigers star is rated as the best pure hitter and among the highest-rated runners and power hitters in the draft class. The Pirates do not have a single pure outfielder among their Top-12 prospects.

An absence of great pitching has placed the Nationals among National League teams with the worst ERA over the last several seasons.

Cade Cavalli is the only pitcher within the Nationals' Top-5 prospects.

Skenes, 21, posted a 1.69 ERA, second-best in the nation in the most innings pitched (122 2/3) last season. He allowed just 5.28 hits per nine innings, the fifth-best mark. His 209 total strikeouts and 15.33 per nine innings were the most in college baseball.


Skenes (12-2), who won multiple Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year honors, also won the College World Series Most Outstanding Player Award.

Several MLB scouts told that Crews is not only the best prospect in the class, but also among the best in recent memory.

The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher can eclipse 100 mph with his fastball, while mixing in his changeup and slider.

Scouts also told they believe Skenes would be the top pick if Crews wasn't in the same draft class.

Outfielders Wyatt Langford of Florida, Walker Jenkins of South Brunswick High School and Max Clark of Franklin High School are among the other top prospects in the class.

Pitchers Chase Dollander of Tennessee, Rhett Lowder of Wake Forest, and shortstops Jacob Wilson of Grand Canyon and Arjun Nimmala of Strawberry Crest High School are among other players under first-round consideration.

Langford hit 21 home runs and tied for first in the nation with 28 doubles in 64 games last season for the Gators. He posted a .498 on-base percentage and scored 83 runs, the fourth-most in college baseball. His 185 total bases were the seventh-most in the country.


Like Skenes and Crews, Langford's 2023 collegiate campaign extended into late June. He hit .538 with two home runs, three doubles and eight RBIs in the Gators' three-game World Series finals loss to the Tigers.

Langford struck out just once, while reaching base nine times in 15 plate appearances against the Skenes-led Tigers pitching staff.

"The last couple days, I've honestly just been trying to relax," Langford said last week during an appearance on MLB Network. "It has been so crazy going through the season.

"I've just been trying to relax, but things will probably get going pretty soon."

Third- through 10th-round MLB Draft coverage will air at 2 p.m. EDT Monday on Rounds 11 through 20 will air at 2 p.m. on

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