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).

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22 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    I’m sure he’s a very nice player but I’m just not that interested in players that will take 4-5 years to become a pro. Please let’s draft a college outfielder or starting pitcher.

    • DaveCT

      This is from MLB Pipeline: “While his hitting ability doesn’t stand out quite as much as his double-plus raw power, he has a sweet swing and makes consistent hard contact.”

      So right now, at least, the dreaded words ‘has some swing and miss to his game’ are gleefully absent.

      That said, college players have their advantages. But those may not be as great as in previous years, given the (dumb) late season draft and the virtual minuscule rookie league season and experience.

      In particular, I think losing a summer at Billings puts almost the entire transition from college to pro ball onto players experience at Daytona in a tough hitting full season league.

    • MK

      The moment the sign a contract they are pros. All players in the Reds system are pros, not just the major leaguers.

    • Doug Gray

      You take the best player there because even 4-5 years to become a big leaguer beats the guy who never gets there because he went to college but your scouts didn’t think he was as good.

    • AMDG

      That is the kind of thinking that got the Reds Chad Mottola instead of Derek Jeter in the 1992 draft.

      So don’t be surprised if some folks around these parts choose not to embrace your draft strategy.

      • MK

        Reds have been on good side of this argument as well. Think Minnesota would rather have Greene or Lewis in retrospect?

  2. DaveCT

    7, 38, 43, and 74 seems pretty good even with the poor lotto luck. In theory, that’s four top 75 picks, though we all know that’s just blowing smoke given bonuses and the over slot and under slot maneuvers. However, in the draft we trust, and I like the prospect of picking 4th in each round after the 1st.

    • Doug Gray

      Me too for the most part. But I do know that some people like this kind of stuff and are interested.

      I start paying more attention in May.

  3. Bourgeois Zee

    Is there any chance that Paul Skenes will be available at pick #7?

    • RedsGettingBetter

      I’m begging God for Paul Skenes repeating as the Cam Collier gift last year

    • Doug Gray

      If he’s there then he almost assuredly got hurt this year.

  4. RedBB@yahoo.com

    I’m good with Jenkins he right there with Max Clark but he will be gone. Crews, Langford and Wilken are all having monster years. I’d take any of those 3 as 1 is likely gonna be there. Dollander will be gone but Skeens and Waldrep are college arms that will possibly be available too.

    Guys I would avoid are Jacob Wilson and Enrique Bradfield jr.

    • Tom

      I tend to agree about Wilson and Bradfield. Those two styles have not played well in recent years. Madrigal, Gonzalez, Hamilton, etc. Not what you want from this year’s draft especially. As you noted, someone with a great profile will be there at 7th.

  5. Alex Reds

    If I’m the Reds, sitting in the 7th spot with college players Crews, Langford, and Dollander obviously already taken, then I’m all in on prep CF Max Clark. I mean ALL IN. Way overslot, utilize significantly under slot picks 74 and 43 for example and even some of the later rounds and we’re at $9-$9.5M. Whatever it takes. Even $10M is not out of the question. Top prep players and top bonuses from 2022 Jackson Holliday and Druw Jones were at $8.2M. I think it has to be at least around $9M or higher to be able to steal a top 3 prospect in this draft, and here’s why, he’s much better prospect than the players available around picks 6 and 7. It’s well worth it. The problem is the Twins at pick 5 and Athletics at pick 6 also have competitive balance round A comp picks and have large bonus pools. The college picks to go before an overslot Clark should start to drop off around pick 5 and then the question is if there is enough enticing college players at pick 5 and 6 to get Clark to Cincinnati at a monster overslot deal vs. the Twins and Athletics doing the same thing. Therefore, I think the bidding on Clark has to to be insane at close to $10M.

    • Tom

      Clark has average power now and is a little maxed out physically, I’m not sure any team should go way over slot for him. He’s right near Cincinnati in Franklin Indiana, so I’m sure the Reds will be interested but I’d be surprised if they go over the top as you mentioned. I prefer Jenkins myself, just because of the power profile. I’m hoping to find a corner outfield profile with 30+ HR projections.

    • Billy

      Max all day! He is the real day. If he drops to 7 the Reds will snag him up.

  6. Bdh

    This draft is very deep. Gonna be very hard drafting a player I’m not happy about.

    • Doug Gray

      Gonna pull a 2003 and draft a reliever. (I don’t think they will)

  7. tom Turner

    I would not go over slot for him, if we draft him and he wants 9-10 million dollar signing bonus then we take the 8th pick in the draft next year. He may be great, but he is not a slam dunk.