Louisiana’s baseball program achieved an unprecedented feat Sunday, naming two players from its College World Series-winning team with the top two picks in the Seattle Major League Baseball draft. With the No. 1 overall pick, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Paul Skenes, right-handed pitcher, and the Washington Nationals selected Dylan Cruz, outfielder, second.
Max Clark, an outfielder from Franklin Community High School in Indiana, went to the Detroit Tigers with the third pick.
why does it matter
A teammate’s previous best result in draft history was first and third, a feat that occurred in 2011, with UCLA right-handed pitchers Gerrit Cole (No. 1, Pirates) and Trevor Bauer (No. 3, Arizona Diamondbacks), and in 1978, with New York State players. Arizona’s Bob Horner (No. 1, Atlanta Braves) and Hobby Brooks (No. 3, Mets).
LSU has been a dominant champion this season and both Skenes and Crews are considered top overall picks. The only disagreements seem to come in terms of who gets picked first.
That honor went to Skenes, 21, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound power pitcher who went 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA and an outrageous 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2023. He went 11-4 in two seasons for the Air Force before moving on to the Tigers .
Crew, 21, is 6-foot-6 and weighs 205 pounds. 380 over three seasons with LSU, with 58 home runs in 196 games. He has the speed to play center field at the major league level, and may prove to be more of a stolen baseline threat than he was in college.
Clark’s third-place selection was somewhat of a surprise. Florida All-Star College World Series runner-up Wyatt Langford is widely regarded as a No. 1 pick prospect, and North Carolina high school player Walker Jenkins was the top prospect on the prep lists.
Left-handed slugger Clark has the potential to hit 20 home runs a year at the MLB level, but perhaps the Tigers are more interested in his speed, which could be a game-changer with new league rules encouraging base stealing.
Langford ended up falling to the Texas Rangers with the fourth pick, while Jenkins was a top five pick when he was selected by the Minnesota Twins.