I’m in the mood to write about the draft, but with the Phillies at pick 29 and games still a few weeks away for draftees it’s tough to find subjects I won’t just end up having to revisit before draft day when more data is available. So, I’m going to cover a handful of guys who will need to have a limb fall off to still be available at pick 29 (or, in once, a bonus demand the Phillies would be able to match anyway). I hope you all still find these informative and help you enjoy the draft half a year from now.
Dylan Crews, OF LSU: 6’0” 195 lbs
Dylan is probably the consensus #1 overall in this draft pre-season and with good reason. Crews is an above average runner who can probably stick in Center Field, but even if he doesn’t he has plenty of power for Right Field. He walks almost as often as he strikes out (which isn’t often for a power hitter). He has a very highly regarded hit tool with excellent speed and contact abilities. He does need refinement in this area though as he has a surprisingly high ground ball rate for a power hitter (nearly 50%) and in the pros, with better defenses, fewer of those will turn into hits for him. His power is at least plus, though I have seen some reports project double-plus or better (perhaps realistic if he cuts down on the grounders). He struggles against Sliders and Changeups, which is not uncommon for amateurs, and tends to swing over them more often resulting in, admittedly well hit, grounders. Dylan’s bat speed makes up for some of the pre-swing motion I don’t love. He’s also one of the rare almost purely rotational hitters. He has a very wide stance and just a toe tap in his swing with no real linear movement. It works for him, so no need to change anything there. He’s very aggressive as a hitter and that may get exploited by Pitchers at the pro-level, but he’s got the bat control and blistering bat speed that I suspect his floor as a hitter is probably Kyle Schwarber-esque.
Chase Dollander, RHP Tennessee: 6’3” 192 lbs
Chase is the highest regarded pitching prospect in a decade by many. He could be a frontline Starter for whoever drafts him by the time of next year’s draft. There simply isn’t much to improve in. His stuff is capital N Nasty with his above average control and command. His weakest pitch is his curveball, which I could see being dropped entirely from his arsenal in the pros. He has the least control of that pitch and while hitters struggle against it, he also rarely gets it in the zone, which could lead to more disciplined pro hitters simply ignoring it. His slider and change match each other fairly well with velocity and opposite movement. The slider is especially nasty with sweeping movement as a secondary it’s clearly his best. His fastball sits mid-90’s, but he can run it to 99 when he needs to and he locates the pitch excellently. He has a smooth delivery he repeats consistently and the frame to add additional good weight. Not to overhype anyone, but there is a best pitcher in baseball ceiling here. It’s a matter of preference between Pitcher vs everyday starter that might make him the second pick.
Wyatt Langford, OF Florida: 6’1” 225 lbs
Langford is in many ways similar to Crews. He’s a similarly skilled hitter with similar walk and k rates and massive power. The biggest difference is that Langford is a bit positionless. In Collegiate summer ball in 2021 he played mostly Catcher (he has nowhere near the arm strength for a full time role there) with some First Base and Third Base time as well. Last year for Florida he played almost exclusively Left Field (one game in Center). He has supposedly been working with the staff at Florida to move into the recent vacancy in Center Field with promising reports. He has similar speed to Crews, so he can probably stick, but he has a pretty average arm. At the moment all of the value is in his bat, which is a very impressive too, to be fair. He’s much less aggressive than Crews at the plate and less prone to chasing, with bigger power potential as well. If he can’t stick in Center, he’s still going to be a big corner bat in Left and probably a guy his drafting team can plug and play in middle of the order for a decade. I actually think he has a higher floor than Crews due to his better approach, but likely less defensive value.
Max Clark, OF Franklin (IN) High School: 6’1” 190 lbs
Max is a potential 5-tool star. What he’s missing so far has been Power and it will be interesting to see if he consistently adds some more this year. Power is said to be the last tool to develop, but if you’re taking a bat in the top 5 you’d certainly want to see evidence of it developing. Clark has plenty of speed for Center Field and plenty of arm for Right. He should be a Plus or better defender and that feels like a safe projection. He comes from a hotbed for Basketball, less so for Baseball and prep players are hard to project and that gets even harder when they play most games against subpar competition. Clark has performed well on the showcase circuit, but teams could be spooked by level of competition concerns along with the current middling power (though he has the build to suggest plenty of power could be in his future), but not enough for him to drop out of the top 10, unless he has a disastrous season, and even then he’ll go well within the top 20 on potential alone, most likely. He does have a commitment to Vanderbilt though and may decide to honor that and hope to go higher in the 2026 draft after 3 years of terrorizing College pitching.