The top pick in this year’s Major League Baseball draft will probably come from Louisiana State’s College World Series-winning team. The only question seems to be which player will head to the Pittsburgh Pirates at No. 1, and which will go to the Washington Nationals at No. 2.
Outfielder Dylan Crews, who won the Golden Spikes award thanks to his incredible blend of patience and power, was the first choice in FanGraphs’ mock draft, while Paul Skenes, a right-handed starting pitcher who averaged 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings and had a 1.69 E.R.A. last season, was first off the board in Keith Law’s mock draft for The Athletic.
M.L.B.’s draft is far less predictable than drafts in other sports, so things could certainly change, but Crews and Skenes, both of whom are 21, have the opportunity to be the first teammates to be taken with the top two picks. Doing so would be especially impressive since this year’s draft is loaded with high-end college talent.
L.S.U. might not stop there, as the right-hander Ty Floyd could be a first-round pick as well.
The draft, which has been shortened to 20 rounds, is set to start at 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday as part of M.L.B.’s All-Star weekend. Beyond Crews and Skenes, there are a few key names to know going into the event.
A non-L.S.U. college player to watch.
Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida — Langford, 21, has the talent and the production to be a No. 1 overall pick in most years, and is the best bet to upset the dream of L.S.U. capturing the top two spots. He had a .364 batting average and 47 home runs over his last two college seasons and while accounts of his speed seem to vary, he may be far faster than his 16 stolen bases in college suggest.
A high school player to watch.
Walker Jenkins, OF, Southport, N.C. — An elite runner early in his high school career, Jenkins, 18, has already begun the process of bulking up to enhance his powerful 6-foot-3 frame, which could lead to him playing right field, rather than center, and being more of a slugger rather than an all-around star. If that process turns him into a 40-homer hitter, no one will mind.
Was his dad —?
Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon — Every draft has its share of familial connections — last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Jackson Holliday, is the son of the former major leaguer Matt Holliday — and the best of the bunch this year is Wilson, the son of Jack Wilson, an All-Star shortstop for the Pirates in 2004. The younger Wilson could be a top-10 pick, which would easily trump his father, who was a ninth-rounder in 1998. Other notable players in this category include Myles Naylor, a high school third baseman whose brothers Josh and Bo play for the Guardians; Homer Bush Jr., a college outfielder whose father, Homer Sr., played for the Yankees and the Blue Jays; and Braden Halladay, a high school pitcher whose father, Roy, was a Hall of Fame starting pitcher.
That’s not famous. This is famous.
Jaden Agassi, Pitcher, U.S.C. — He won’t be selected on the first day of the draft, and there’s a decent chance he doesn’t get picked at all in the 20-round era, but there is no draft-eligible player — and few people in athletics in general — who can claim to have more famous parents than Agassi, whose mother is Steffi Graf, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, and whose father is Andre Agassi, who won eight Grand Slams. But maybe the Athletics, who hope to move to Las Vegas in a few years, would take a flier on the child of one of the city’s most accomplished families.