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LSU’s Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews Set Historic Start in 2023 MLB Draft

LSU teammates Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews go 1-2 in MLB draft.

LSU's dominance extended beyond their national championship win as two of their star players, Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews, were selected as the top picks in the First-Year Player Draft. This marked the first time that a pair of teammates went 1-2 in the draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates surprised many by selecting Skenes as the first overall pick, prioritizing his star power and pitching prowess over Crews or potential financial considerations. There was speculation that the Pirates might choose Crews or a slightly lower-ranked prospect like Wyatt Langford from the University of Florida. However, they went with Skenes, a California native who transferred to LSU and made a name for himself with his triple-digit fastball and devastating slider. With a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts and 209 strikeouts in 122 ²/₃ innings, Skenes is considered one of the best pitching prospects since Stephen Strasburg in 2009. He also excelled in the College World Series, earning the title of Most Outstanding Player. This selection made Skenes the first pitcher taken as the No. 1 pick since 2018.

The Pirates, who won the top pick through MLB's draft lottery, have had the overall top pick twice in the past three years. In 2021, they selected catcher Henry Davis, who recently made his major league debut. The Washington Nationals, who were expected to select Skenes if he fell to them, chose his teammate Crews as the second overall pick. Crews, a Florida native, had an impressive collegiate career, setting an LSU freshman record with 18 home runs and continuing to excel in his three seasons. In his final year, he had a batting average of .426, an on-base percentage of .567, and hit 18 home runs in 71 games. His outstanding performance earned him the 2023 Golden Spikes Award, given to the best amateur baseball player in the country. The LSU Tigers rounded out the top three picks with Max Clark, a talented high school outfielder from Indiana who was named Gatorade's National Baseball Player of the Year. However, Clark will need to be persuaded to forgo his commitment to Vanderbilt.

The draft continued with the Texas Rangers selecting Wyatt Langford as the fourth pick and the Minnesota Twins choosing Walker Jenkins, a high school outfielder from North Carolina.

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