College baseball is in full swing and some of the biggest names that will be in the 2023 MLB Draft are starting to take shape. This is a quick check-in with the top 5 college performers and potential first-round picks. College stats can be hard to value into what dynasty managers expect once they get to the minor leagues, and it can seem impossible to say without any doubt who will be the best at the major league level. The good news is that we can at least have a base skill set value to help guide managers in the right direction. For me, evaluating the next level of talent starts as soon as the MLB draft ends each year but for now, let’s check in with 5 stand-out college performers for March.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
Pitchers To Watch
Chase Dollander, RHP Tennessee
Featuring a high 90s fastball, Dollander has ace potential coming into the 2023 MLB draft this season. Dollander feature three plus offerings in a four-seam fastball, a sharper slider, and a devastating change-up that induces weak contact when hitters are not swinging over it. Though Dollander has a curveball, it lags behind the other offerings currently. In 4 starts so far Dollander has struck out 41 batters in 22 innings pitched, holding batters to a .213 average against and carrying a solid 2.45 ERA. There is still plenty of season left to play but Dollander is continuing his case for the top 5 overall pick this year.
Paul Skenes, RHP LSU
The intimidation factor is on full display with the 6’6” Skenes on the mound. He features a high 90s fastball that grades out as a double-plus pitch and a slider with sharp biting movement that has improved this season. Skenes’ change-up comes in hot at 89 mph with tumble, pairing well off the fastball. Skenes leads the NCAA in strikeouts this season with 48 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched and holds a 0.75 ERA in 4 starts. With the High K upside of Skenes, it’s likely a team will take a chance on the flame-throwing right-hander early in the draft.
Hitters To Watch
Brock Wilken, 3B Wake Forest
One of the best power hitters in this year’s draft class, Brock Wilken has gotten even better. Standing at 6’4” and 225 pounds, Wilken has slugged 40 home runs for the Demon Deacons in 107 games played over his Freshman and Sophomore years. This season he has improved his contact skills and is currently slashing .364/.463/.939 with 12 HR and 31 RBI in 17 games played. Wilken is currently second in the NCAA in home runs this season, raising the right-handed slugger’s stock for the 2023 draft.
Gavin Casas, 1B South Carolina
If the name sounds familiar it should. Gavin is the younger brother of power-hitting first baseman Triston Casas of the Boston Red Sox. Like his brother, Gavin hits for power and has a good understanding of the strike zone. After transferring from Vanderbilt, Casas has gotten off to a strong start for the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Casas is currently slashing .322/.468/.881 with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs in 18 games played. His 10 home runs has Casas tied for 3rd in NCAA play currently, solidifying to this point a strong first base option to go in the first round this year.
Dylan Crews, OF LSU
Projected to be a true five-tool player for LSU, Crews has impressed with the bat so far. With quick hands through the zone and a line drive approach that generates plus raw power, Crews has had good success so far in 2023. In 17 games played Crews is slashing .519/.653/.926 with 7 doubles, 5 home runs, 23 RBI, and 2 stolen bases. The defensive skills of Crews are elite as he has quick reactions in the outfield and the speed translates onto the base paths grading as an above-average tool. Crews remains a contender for a top-five overall pick in the 2023 draft.