*The 2023 MLB Draft takes place on Sunday July 9th through Tuesday July 11th. In the coming days, I will give you Vanderbilt centric primers of the current players and prospects, and my best guesses at where they are likely to be drafted. With the commits, I will also hazard my best guess at the probability they will eschew the MLB Bonus money and suit up in gangster pajamas in 2023. Today, we begin with the current possible first rounders.
Which Current Players Could Hear Their Names Called in the First Round?
#51 Jr. CF Enrique “Shockwave” Bradfield
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 80 | Arm: 40 | Field: 70 | Overall: 55
Hit: 35/60, Power: 30/35, Speed: 80/80, Field: 70/70, Throw: 50/50
MLB.com Current Mock Draft: #16 to the San Francisco Giants.
ESPN Current Mock Draft: #12 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
2023 Stats: .279/.410/.429 with 13 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 34 RBI, and 37-44 Stolen Bases.
While that slash line—aside from the SBs—doesn’t necessarily scream first rounder, it’s only part of the Enrique Shockwave experience. The dynamic leadoff hitter is also the best defensive CF prospect in quite some time, racking up back to back Gold Glove Awards over the past two years.
I mean... look at this:
With the new MLB rules favoring base stealers and prioritizing CF defense, don’t be surprised if our Shockwave shocks the current projections and ends up being taken in the top half of this first round. Personally, if I was the GM of, say, the Colorado Rockies who pick #9, he’d be in my overall top 10. He would immediately clamp down 2/3 of the outfield defense, lead off, and swipe 50 bags plus a season. If your hitting coach could convince him to play more like the freshman version of his game—cutting out the fly balls, hitting liners in the ground and daring infielders to throw him out, and playing an OBP-forward game—that’s one of the most valuable players, perhaps the most valuable player outside of the top 5 of this year’s class.
While I have no idea where he’ll go, I know this: whomever selects him will have taken perhaps the guy with the highest floor in this year’s draft. Worst case scenario, he’s Kevin Kiermaier. Best case? Well, we haven’t exactly seen a Tris Speaker in a while, have we? Okay, let’s go with current player comps. The most similar player I can think of is the Phillies first rounder last year: Justin Crawford. EBJ’s best case scenario comp is as a less powerful Corbin Carroll.
Regardless, he will very likely hear his name called on Sunday.