Baseball America put out their first Mock Draft for the 2023 Major League Baseball draft this week. Carlos Collazo teamed up with an unnamed big league scout to alternate picks in the first round. The Cincinnati Reds lost out in the first year of the draft lottery, winding up with the 7th overall pick despite having the 4th worst record in baseball. Starting in the 2nd round they will have the 4th pick in each round as the lottery only applies to the first round.
It was Collazo who was on the clock for the Reds and he selected high school outfielder Walker Jenkins with the pick. He had considered Mississippi shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, but the scout selected him at the #6 spot. Jenkins plays for South Brunswick High School in Southport, North Carolina. He’s rated 6th overall by Baseball America in their current draft rankings, and MLB Pipeline has him rated 7th overall.
He’s a potential 5-tool player with above-average tools in the hit, power, and arm strength categories. Last summer he dealt with a hamate injury after being named the player of the year in North Carolina. The 6′ 3″ left-handed hitter can use the entire field and can do so with some power. While it might be possible that he could play center early in his career, he’s probably stretched by his solid, but not outstanding speed there and profiles best as a right fielder where his arm strength plays well.
It’s still March, and in some states the baseball season hasn’t even started for high schoolers. The college baseball season is well underway, though, and there’s a lot better feel for how draft-eligible players from college are moving up and down draft boards than there is for many high schoolers at this point. With the draft still four months away, and a whole lot of baseball still to be played, a lot of things could and will change between now and then.
The Cincinnati Reds will have four picks in the top 100. They will pick 7th overall in the 1st round, have the 38th overall pick in the competitive balance round A for being a small market team, the 43rd overall pick (2nd round), and the 74th overall pick (3rd round).