Prep Baseball Report

2023 PBR Draft Board: First Edition

By PBR Draft HQ staff

As the calendar flips from 2022 to 2023, it marks the start of our fixation on the prospects preparing to make their marks on the next edition of the MLB Draft, which is a mere seven months away. PBR Draft HQ is beginning to outline how pro scouting departments are viewing this upcoming draft at the start of the new year and we’re publishing our own version of the 2023 Draft Board to go alongside it.

It is important to note that this list is not meant to be predictive of where a player will go in the draft, but rather to be seen as PBR’s 'Big Board' of best available. No amateur draft in the world is as nuanced as Major League Baseball’s, with signability factors, draft pools, and luxury taxes each combining to place a significant amount of emphasis on accounting for most scouting departments. Regardless of those inhibitors, it is the talent – and more specifically the acquisition of it within the draft process – that's paramount for most ball clubs, and the teams that collect the most talent and are adept at developing it, that are most often rewarded.

There is sure to be regular movement on this board over the next six or seven months as PBR’s nationwide boots-on-the-ground staff remains committed to providing the most up-to-date and credible 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 @PBR_DraftHQ on Twitter.


The top college position player, OF Dylan Crews (LSU), and pitcher, RHP Chase Dollander (Tennessee), begin the year as slam-dunk 1A and 1B talents, fixed at the top two spots. Crews is the premier prospect in the class thanks to an elite hit/power tool that makes him the most feared player to step in the box in the entire country. Dollander’s prospect status is equally as alluring, as he's equipped with a full arsenal of plus-type offerings, as well as a smooth delivery that generates effortless velocity. Each brings immense value to the MLB Draft, and would immediately bolster any farm system with their star-like ceilings.

But the youth movement is not far behind, and the 1A-1B phrase is also useful inside the high school ranks. Prep outfielders Max Clark (Franklin Community HS, IN) and Walker Jenkins (South Brunswick HS, NC) carry a full shed of tools with elite left-handed sticks and athleticism. The pair of budding stars brings considerable potential on their own as talents worthy of considerations first overall selections.


Commitment/Previously Drafted
1 Dylan Crews CF LSU  -
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As far as impact bats go, Crews carried with him perhaps the highest ceiling of any stick on the Collegiate National Team, thanks to double-plus raw power, a strong feel for the strike zone, and a penchant for “I’m going to hit this to the moon”-type swings, regardless of count. Through his first two seasons at LSU Crews has already launched 40 home runs and, in the second game of the Stars vs. Stripes series during CNT Trials in Durham/Charlotte, Crews put that explosiveness on full display, sending a tummy-high fastball over the giant “bull board” atop the already massive 32-foot left field fence at DBAP. Largely pitched around throughout the Honkbalweek Haarlem tournament, Crews did well to work his share of walks, but also found himself pressing some with those big cuts and racking-up strikeouts in almost a third of his at bats. His swing generates massive amounts of energy and he loses almost none of it through impact thanks to a powerful core, strong front side, and a compact swing capable of delivering the barrel with deadly force to any part of the zone. His monster cuts can find him swinging through pitches at times — particularly softer stuff late in the count — but the aggregate profile points to a corner power bat that should draw walks and hit nukes while providing solid play on the grass. Pro clubs will focus on the whiff rate and approach next spring, with a good showing placing him in discussions for the top overall talent in the class. He’s already penciled in as a likely first round selection for next summer, regardless.
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2 Chase Dollander RHP Tennessee  -
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Newly nestled in at No. 2 after a dominant sophomore season for the Volunteers, Chase Dollander is the top college pitching prospect. With easy fastball velocity up to 98 mph, two distinct breaking balls (a sharp 83-86 mph slider and a curveball, 73-75), as well as an above-average changeup, the right-hander also performs at the highest of levels, posting a 10-0 record with a 2.39 ERA and 108 strikeouts against only 13 walks in 79 innings last season for Tennessee.

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3 Max Clark OF Franklin Community (IN) Vanderbilt
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A five-tool prospect with across-the-board abilities that are unmatched, Clark’s incessant pursuit of perfection might be his most awe inspiring attribute. No player brings as much talent to the diamond, but even more impressively, no player brings as much energy and exuberance. Max Clark is ALWAYS on. There is no half-speed to his motor. He glides around the outfield gracefully, and is equally as dangerous in turning a routine ground ball to shortstop into a single as he is stretching a standup double into a triple. He is a throwback player who is defining the future of amateur baseball, and is unwilling to be type-cast. The frame has continued to evolve over the past two years, and the now 6-foot-1, 190-pounder holds peak performance attributes with lean, defined strength throughout, including a thick lower-half. All of his dynamic capabilities make him a slam dunk Top 10 pick, especially given the elite projection that the bat carries. Only intensifying his hold on the top spot is the maturity and professional manner that he carries himself with while standing under the brightest of spotlights. No player has experienced the pressure of Max Clark, and rather than fold under it, he has channeled it to help raise his game to new heights.

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4 Walker Jenkins OF South Brunswick (NC) North Carolina
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A hand injury robbed Walker Jenkins of part of his senior draft summer, but the 2023 class’s No. 2 prep player, and the most imposing prospect, hardly looked rusty while competing with his South Charlotte Panthers squad at the PBR Cup at LakePoint this fall. Stoic in the box with a professional approach, the country strong, 6-foot-3, 210-pound slugger went 5-for-8 in three games that included multiple extra-base hits including a walk-off home run in the Panthers’ first game of the event. Balance pervades his presence in the box with a slight crouch presenting an athletic look. A somewhat handsy trigger to the load works fluidly in connection with a minor leg kick, and while his frame is longer, there is an innate ability to remain compact throughout the stroke while creating quickness in a small window. Working short-to-long through the zone, Jenkins covers the plate with ease, and for as exciting as the power potential is, the hit-tool is the first thing of note. He effortlessly tracks pitches without being sped up, and the approach is militant with a keen sense for delivering heavy barrels no matter where or what pitch is sent his way. The boxes continue to be checked with each subsequent look, and his tunnel vision approach to development is sure to draw the admiration of every scouting department. A consummate teammate with what appears to be an unmatched work ethic, there was no fanfare or scouts around each night when Jenkins made his way to the cages to get more work in. Without question, Jenkins is a top-10 pick, and the potential that he hears his name called at 1:1 is hardly farfetched.

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