NCAA baseball season has officially arrived. The college season is set to start on February 17, and it’s expected to be a jam-packed one. Defending champion Ole Miss will look to go back-to-back this year, but it won’t be easy in the loaded Southeastern Conference. For the MLB fans out there, those individuals may be wondering which college teams to keep any eye on this season, in preparation of the 2023 MLB Draft. Let’s take a look at five schools that should be must-watch for MiLB and MLB fans in 2023.
We start off with an SEC powerhouse in the University of Florida. The Gators have produced several notable MLB stars in recent years, from Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader to Mets slugger Pete Alonso. Florida is set to have a strong team yet again, and could have two players on its team go early in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft. Outfielder Wyatt Langford ranks as the third-best prospect available in this year’s draft according to MLB.com, while right-hander Hurston Waldrep ranks in the top ten as well. In addition to Waldrep, 2022 third-round pick Brandon Sproat will also be back for the Gators this year.
Wake Forest has turned into a power in the ACC, and should churn out a couple of top picks after the end of the 2023 season. MLB.com has three Wake Forest players in its top 50 MLB Draft pre-season prospect list for this season: RHP Rhett Lowder, 3B Brock Wilken, and RHP Teddy McGraw.
Grand Canyon is one of the league’s rising programs in the NCAA, and could very produce two high picks in the 2023 MLB Draft that are second-generation players. Outfielder Homer Bush Jr., the son of former Yankee Homer Bush, has been regarded as one of the best athletes in the draft. Then there’s shortstop Jacob Wilson, an elite college hitter that could go in the top ten of this year’s draft. Wilson is the son of former Pirates infielder and Grand Canyon assistant coach Jack Wilson.
Tennessee was one of the top teams in the NCAA last season, and that shouldn’t change for 2023. Tennessee boasts two of the NCAA’s best pitchers in Chase Burns and Chase Dollander. Burns isn’t eligible to be drafted this year, but Dollander could be the first pitcher off the board in July. The flamethrowing righty went 10-0 with a 2.39 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 79 innings last season. Dollander isn’t the only notable Tennessee player eligible to be drafted, as shortstop Maui Ahuna could also be a first-round pick.
Outfielder Dylan Crews was a highly-coveted high school hitter in the 2020 MLB Draft, but elected to go to LSU. The move paid off thus far, as Crews could be the first player taken in the 2023 Draft. The 20-year-old projects to be an elite power hitter, thanks to terrific strength and bat speed. In addition to Crews, RHP Paul Skenes could join Crews in the top ten of the 2023 MLB Draft. Other notable draft-eligible LSU players include RHP Grant Taylor — who won’t play in 2023 thanks to UCL reconstruction surgery — and RHP Ty Floyd.