LSU’s Paul Skeens, Dylan Cruz Make History With 2023 MLB Draft Starts

Seattle – The national champion also won the draft.

LSU righty Paul Skeens and star outfielder Dylann Cruz, who have been regarded as two top prospects for months since they led the Tigers to a seventh national title, were the top picks of the First-Year Player Draft on Sunday at Lumen Field .

The pair of teammates went 1–2 for the first time since the twin selections.

Little wonder Skenes was selected first overall by the Pirates, who prioritized star power and an ace over his teammate or potential financial strategist.

Some thought they would lean toward Cruz, and some thought the Pirates would go with a slightly lower-ranked prospect (who would get less of a signing bonus), such as Wyatt Langford of the University of Florida.

Instead the pirates went with a hand that has already begun writing its legend.

Skanes, a California native who spent his first two collegiate seasons at Air Force, transferred to the SEC and dominated with triple-digit heat and an often unattainable slider.

LSU pitcher Paul Skenes was selected no. 1 overall by the Pirates in the 2023 MLB Draft.
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He pitched to a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts and struck out 209 in 122 ²/₃ innings, being considered by some to be the best pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg in 2009.

The 21-year-old dominated the College World Series, in which he posted a 1.11 ERA and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

He became the first pitcher to pick up the no. 1 since 2018, when the Tigers selected KC Mize.

The Pirates, who won the top pick in MLB’s first draft lottery, owned the top overall pick for the second time in three years.

Pittsburgh selected catcher Henry Davis, who recently made his major league debut in 2021.

Dylan Cruz was selected by the Washington Nationals with the no.  2 pick in the 2023 MLB draft.
Dylan Cruz was selected by the Washington Nationals with the no. 2 pick in the 2023 MLB draft.
NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Nationals—who had been expected to select him when Skeens fell—instead held his teammate at No. 2.

Cruz, who is from Florida, set the LSU freshman record with 18 home runs and has only done better in his three collegiate seasons.

In his third and final year, the center fielder/right fielder batted .426 with a ridiculous .567 on-base percentage and hit 18 home runs in 71 games, riding a huge season to the 2023 Golden Spikes Award – which Awarded to the nation’s best amateur baseball player.

The Tigers were joined in the top three by Max Clark, a high school outfielder from Indiana who was Gatorade’s national baseball player of the year.

The five-tooled 18-year-old will have to opt out of his commitment to Vanderbilt.

The Rangers selected Langford fourth before the Twins went with Walker Jenkins, a high school outfielder from North Carolina.

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