Last I checked the calendar still says 2022, so it seems impetuous to think about something so far in the distance as the 2023 MLB Draft. Yet, here we are, making yet another offering to the content gods.
If anything, at least this is somewhat timely, since MLB held its very first draft lottery this week. On Tuesday at the winter meetings, the first six picks of the draft were chosen by lottery. The Pirates, who would have picked fourth under the old system, which was inverse order of record, instead will pick first overall, just as they did in 2021.
Another change in the first-round draft order this year is that playoff teams are grouped by how far they lasted in the postseason. So instead of picking 30th in the first round by virtue of winning 111 games, the Dodgers will pick 26th, for having the best record among teams that lost in the Division Series. The Padres and Yankees pick 27th and 28th after falling in the LCS, followed by the pennant-winning Phillies at 29th and the champion Astros at No. 30.
Of course, the full draft order is all subject to change since the offseason is far from over. There are still free agents with qualifying offers attached who have not yet signed, and once the competitive balance tax numbers for 2022 are finalized, the Dodgers will see their first pick drop ten spots by surpassing the second tax threshold this season. Similarly, the Dodgers had their first pick in the 2022 draft fall from No. 30 overall to 40th for being in the upper tier of competitive balance tax payers.
Baseball America on Wednesday put out their first mock draft for 2023, getting ahead of the game as they usually are. They have the Dodgers picking 26th for now, and in that slot have them drafting South Carolina right-handed pitcher Will Sanders.
Whether Sanders is still available at 36th remains to be seen, but let’s take a look at this pitcher as a potential future draft pick.
“Sanders has a huge frame at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and still has room to add strength in the future,” Carlos Collazo wrote. “He’s been solid for South Carolina as a starter for two years, and has posted a 3.47 ERA in 142.2 total innings, while using a three-pitch mix—a fastball up to 96 mph, a mid-80s changeup and a slider in the low-to-mid 80s.”
Sanders struck out 91 batters in 89⅓ innings as a sophomore for the Gamecocks in 2022, including 14 in seven innings against Clemson on March 4, and struck out 10 in seven innings in a win over Florida in the SEC Tournament. The right-hander was undrafted out of Woodward Academy High School in Georgia in 2019.
The MLB Draft is now tied to the All-Star Game, which means the 2023 draft will be in Seattle. The midsummer classic next year is Tuesday, July 11, which most likely means the MLB Draft will begin on Sunday, July 9.