As Opening Day approaches there’s more than just the start of a new season to get excited about. This June will feature the first MLB Draft since the new CBA was agreed to last winter, which means things will look a little different in more than one way.
On the technical side, this year featured an MLB Draft Lottery to determine the draft order rather than the system that was in place before. Because of this, the Minnesota Twins moved way up and landed the No. 5 overall pick despite finishing 13th overall last season.
Minnesota had a less than one percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, which ended up going to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Detroit moved up from No. 6 to No. 3, which helped create an opening for the Twins to jump into the Top 5, which means this year’s draft will be of great interest to fans hoping the team adds to its already powerful farm system.
On the baseball side of things, the question now becomes what will the Twins do with their pick? The gap between where Minnesota was and where it will pick is pretty notable, as they’ll be able to follow up drafting Brooks Lee last season with another top prospect.
The first guy to put on your radar is TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor.
MLB Mock Draft 2023: Who will Twins draft No. 5 overall?
In their prediction about the draft that’s not a mock draft, Baseball America’s staff predicted that Taylor might be a smart pick for the Twins at No. 5 overall. Keep in mind, the folks over there were adamant that this wasn’t a mock draft and they were picking based on what they’d do as decision makers and not what they think teams would do with their pick — which is…you know what, just go with it.
Focusing on Taylor, there’s a lot to love about him at a glance.
So far this season he’s hit .384/.548/.613 (1.161) in TCU’s first eight games, and is a career .324/.457/.577 hitter with the Horned Frogs. Those are the kinds of numbers that will perk up scouts around baseball and is why he’s in the conversation as one of this year’s top prospects.
Of course, show the Twins a good young hitter and the chances are pretty good they'll draft and stash them as part of some plan. The question is whether Minnesota uses the pick on a position of need (cough pitching cough) or goes with the best available player. Jeremy Nygaard over at Twins Daily points out that Taylor might not even be that, with one prospect still on the board being Florida Gators outfielder Wyatt Langford, who could help fill a future need next to Byron Buxton.
LSU's Paul Skenes and Tennessee's Chase Dollander, who are right now considered the best pitchers in the draft class, are off the board in this Baseball America scenario, but those are two other names to keep an eye on as the draft hype train begins to leave the station.