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2023 MLB Draft review: Nationals, Reds among winners

While it may be the All-Star break, MLB teams were still very much in action when it came to the 2023 MLB Draft.

Only time will tell how the prospects turn out, but it's never too early to analyze how it all went down.

Tigers lead the pack

As anticipated, it was the LSU Tigers that threw the proverbial first pitch of the 2023 MLB Draft. There was certainly some hype surrounding Florida Gators' Wyatt Langford, but it was ultimately Paul Skenes who went #1 overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The MLB Draft is undoubtedly different from every other sport where the top prospects aren't always chosen first, but Skenes is just too good to pass up.

He led the Tigers to their recent College World series win, so it's no surprise that his teammate - Dylan Crews - went #2 to the Washington Nationals.

Washington wows their fans

Speaking of the Nats, they are a franchise that has been in a downward spiral over the last few seasons. After trading away Juan Soto and Josh Bell in 2022, it was clear that the franchise wanted a complete rebuild.

While that may be the case, they provided their fans with plenty of optimism as they were one of the biggest winners of the 2023 MLB Draft. If it wasn't for the premium on elite pitchers, we likely would have seen Crews go #1 over Skenes.

Alas, the Nats are coming away with an elite talent that brings back memories of another top-tier player - Bryce Harper.

However, Washington's success wasn't only due to having such a high draft pick. The Nats were able to snag Yohandy Morales at #40 overall. The third baseman out of Miami was projected by most to be a first-round selection after hitting .408 with a 1.187 OPS this past season.

Those two picks alone solidified the Nats as arguably the biggest winner of the 2023 MLB Draft.

The Reds rack up talent

Outside of Washington, another team in red was also one of the biggest winners of the 2023 MLB Draft. They began by taking starting pitcher Rhett Lowder out of Wake Forest. Although they weren't able to win the 2023 College World Series, they were the clear favorites to do so.

That was primarily due to their elite pitching staff, led by ace Lowder. Wake Forest was truly unmatched when it came to their performance on the mound. Their 2.83 team ERA was by far the best in college baseball this past season. For perspective, the next closest team was Tennessee with a 3.63 team ERA.

Cincinnati then paired Lowder with another strikeout machine in Ty Floyd. He was yet another integral part of the LSU Tiger's title run, as he set a College World Series single-game record for strikeouts with 17 in Game 1 of the finals against Florida.

Along with the hype that Elly De La Cruz has lived up to thus far in 2023, the Reds could be a force for the foreseeable future.

Athletics continue to disappoint

Much like the Nats trading away Soto and Bell, the A's made similar moves by letting the likes of Matt Olson and Sean Murphy, among others, leave the franchise. Plenty has been said about their historically bad start to 2023, which has ultimately led to the news that they're looking to move the team to Las Vegas.

Unfortunately for Oakland fans, the A's did little to provide hope for the future in the 2023 MLB Draft. They had one of the top picks - #6 overall - and left fans and analysts alike scratching their heads. Their selection of Jacob Wilson provides them with a shortstop out of a rather unknown school in Grand Canyon.

While the argument can be made that he was just a late bloomer and therefore didn't get better offers, the A's continue to reach in their following picks.

At #39, they selected Myles Naylor and at #41 they selected Ryan Lasko out of Rutgers. Both players were projected late second and third round picks.

Looking to the future

As mentioned, when it comes to the MLB Draft, it is unlike any other league's draft in terms of how and when players will actually make their debuts. In other words, we likely won't see many of the names selected in the big leagues as soon as you may think.

However, that also means more time to develop in the minors. We're expecting that to be needed even more so in this draft specifically, as high school pitchers were in popular demand.

For example, Noble Meyer was selected #10 overall by the Miami Marlins, who is just 18 years old. The ultimate decider is always time, but for now, this is how the 2023 MLB Draft played out.

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