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2023 MLB Draft: Next Ohtani, hardest thrower, others to know

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The 2023 MLB Draft is around the corner, and everyone knows about LSU star outfielder Dylan Crews and his teammate Paul Skenes. But what about the other players?

Unless you're a scout, a lot of the names you'll hear called out starting Sunday will be relatively unknown. How are you supposed to keep up on which ones have game-breaking speed, prodigious power, or the most devastating heater? While the well-rounded prospects have a clearer future, outliers are just more fun, so we've compiled a list of six in the upcoming class to better prepare you.

Next Ohtani?

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Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP - Madison HS (Va.)

Calling anyone the next Shohei Ohtani is blatantly unfair. Ohtani is truly generational. However, any two-way baseball prospect will inevitably get compared to the Japanese phenom, and there's always one in the draft.

In recent years, they haven't panned out. There was Hunter Greene, who was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in 2017. He was forced to give up his shortstop aspirations but is showing significant promise as a bona fide major-league ace. There was also Brendan McKay, selected by the Tampa Bay Rays the same year, but multiple injuries have severely hampered his development.

Unlike many two-way prospects, Eldridge is well-rounded with no clear aptitude for either hitting or pitching, which means the team that takes him will likely want to see how he can progress on both sides of the ball. It's extremely difficult, and these prospects take longer to develop because of the workload, but the 18-year-old prepster out of Virginia could be a fascinating one to follow for years.

Hardest thrower

Travis Sykora, RHP - Round Rock HS (Texas)

Skenes lit up the gun plenty for LSU, even hitting 102 mph during the College World Series. But, in an effort to give you more information about a lesser-known prospect, we're going with prep stud Sykora.

The 19-year-old righty stands at 6-foot-6 with a fastball that averages 95-98 mph and the ability to ramp it up to 101. As he grows and fills out by working through the minors, he could easily get up to Skenes' velocity, or perhaps even surpass it.

Like any high school pitcher, he won't be seen in the majors any time soon. But his ability to throw hard makes him a very interesting name to watch as he navigates the minors.

Most power

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Brock Wilken, 3B - Wake Forest

There's no standout slugger in this year's class, and Wyatt Langford - the No. 3-ranked prospect in the group - is likely the best. However, looking further down the table, the No. 25-ranked Wilken isn't far behind, if at all.

The 21-year-old third baseman broke Wake Forest's single-season record with 31 homers and ranked second in dingers in NCAA D-I. He accomplished this after also setting the freshman record for the Demon Deacons with 17 home runs in his first season and going on to win Cape Cod League MVP the following summer thanks to his impressive slugging and astounding eye at the plate. Wilken has a chance to quietly become the best hitter in the class if it all comes together.

Defensive specialist

Cole Carrigg, SS/OF/C - San Diego State

Saying that Carrigg is a Swiss Army knife would be a disservice. He doesn't just do it all - he does it all really, really well. His 70-grade arm and 60-grade baserunning while being able to play shortstop, outfield, and catcher make him a potential heir to Ben Zobrist's throne. In his final season with the Aztecs, he primarily played center field, but the team that selects him will almost certainly want to see if he can develop as a multi-position defensive weapon.

And that's not all. The 22-year-old switch-hitter showed off in the wooden-bat Cape Cod League as a potential MLB-ready hitter, hitting .329 with one homer and 15 stolen bases over 41 games. The power will need to develop, and if he's going to play multiple positions, the team that selects him will likely want to have a deliberate pace in the minors. But Carrigg is an exciting target for an open-minded front office.

Best contact hitter

Jacob Wilson, SS - Grand Canyon

Wilson's ability to make contact is honestly staggering. The son of former MLB All-Star Jack Wilson, the 21-year-old will likely hear his name called relatively early on the first day thanks to a .412 average over 49 games in his junior year with the Lopes while striking out only five times - a strikeout rate of 2.3%.

His slugging took a distinct hit in the wooden-bat Cape Cod League, so it's tough to tell if he'll have or develop power. But Luis Arraez doesn't have it, and he's certainly making it work.

Fastest runner

Adrian Santana, SS - Doral Academy HS (Fla.)

A 17-year-old switch-hitter with lightning-quick speed, Santana also has one of the best gloves available in the draft. He's currently ranked as the No. 38 prospect in the class, according to MLB Pipeline, so he'll likely be going outside the first round. But the team that lands him will be sure to develop him as a long-term shortstop. Even if the power never shows up, a defense-first shortstop who's a weapon on the basepaths will always have a market.

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