The 2023 MLB Draft features a top tier of five players. But according to Keith Law of The Athletic (subscription required), the Minnesota Twins may go off script in Round 1.
Law's latest mock draft projects the Twins to select Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez with the fifth pick. The Rebels' infielder is a fine player, but he's not seen as one of the Top 5 players in this year's draft class.
If Minnesota pivots from Walker Jenkins in Round 1, the Cincinnati Reds may well land the steal of the draft for the third year in a row.
Latest mock draft predicts Reds get another steal after Twins pivot in Round 1.
In 2021, Matt McLain was viewed as a Top 10 draft pick by most outlets. But, the UCLA shortstop fell all the way down to the Cincinnati Reds at No. 17, and McLain is in the running for the NL Rookie of the Year Award this season.
Depending on who you ask, Cam Collier could have gone No. 1 overall in last year's draft. But, the 17-year-old tumbled on draft day, and Cincinnati swooped in and selected him at No. 18.
If the 2023 MLB Draft falls as The Athletics' Keith Law assumes it will, the Reds could be in line to nab the steal of the draft once again. According to Law, the Minnesota Twins would take Wyatt Langford or Max Clark with the fifth-overall pick, but are not as enamored by Walker Jenkins.
If that's true, and he slips past both Minnesota and the Oakland A's (who are said to be focusing on college hitters), the North Carolina high school product could fall into the lap of the Cincinnati Reds at No. 7.
Jenkins rates as a Top 5 player on Keith Law's big board (subscription required) and is ranked as the fourth-best draft prospect according to MLB Pipeline. The 18-year-old is viewed as a power-hitting centerfielder who could move to right field if he loses a step as he adds more weight and power to his 6-foot-3 frame.
The one thing that the Cincinnati Reds farm system is lacking is a top-rated outfield prospect. Cincinnati has the shortstop position covered and there's depth among the organization's pitching staff as well. But adding an outfielder like Walker Jenkins would elevate the Reds farm system even more.