Welcome to the first Draft Stock Watch for the 2023 season!
In this recurring feature, we’ll explore the draft class, note prospects who are rising up boards and falling throughout the year, explore players more in-depth and generally dig into various themes of the draft.
First up, our annual First Round To-Do List. In this exercise, we take a look at the top 30 prospects on our draft rankings and attempt to identify specific weaknesses or potential areas of growth that could either boost or solidify a player’s draft stock.
Two notable risers from the 2022 exercise included Cam Collier and Kevin Parada. We wrote that Collier, who ranked No. 24 at the time, could improve his consistency as a defender at third base and perform well against junior college competition to move up boards. He did both, finished as the No. 7-ranked prospect in the class and signed the 10th-largest bonus in the first round with the Reds. We wrote that Parada, who ranked No. 14 at the time, could show more power and improve defensively across the board. While defensive reviews remained mixed, he exploded for 26 home runs, finished as the No. 6-ranked prospect and signed the ninth-largest bonus in the first round with the Mets.
Two notable fallers from the 2022 exercise were Robert Moore and Logan Tanner. Of Moore, who ranked No. 11 at the time, we cited improving arm strength and hitting for more average as areas to address. He went from a .283 average in 2021 to a .232 clip in 2022, fell to No. 97 on the draft board and eventually signed for $800,000 in the second supplemental round with the Brewers. We also wrote that Tanner, who ranked No. 17 at the time, could hit for more average, like Moore, on top of cutting down his swing-and-miss against sliders. He maintained a roughly 30% miss rate on sliders in 2022, hit for the same average (while losing power) and eventually fell to No. 68 on the draft board. The Reds signed him for just over $1 million in the second round.
It’s notable that the four players mentioned are all college prospects. Given the level of competition, college players typically have a longer lever to move their draft stock in the spring, both positively and negatively, depending on their performance.
That should make the 2023 draft class even more fascinating, as it’s a college-heavy group with 21 of the current top 30 prospects hailing from a four-year program.
So, let’s dive into this year’s group and see what our current first-round talents need to…