The 2023 amateur season remains on tap, and will necessarily transform the way we think about the top of the MLB Draft. But it’s never too early to be putting the top prospects’ names on the radar, and MLB Pipeline’s first mock is a fun way to do it.
It’s the second super early mock draft (BA had one we discussed here – Maryland shortstop Matt Shaw), and at pick 13 the Cubs land Miami third baseman, Yohandy Morales:
- Cubs: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami
The last time the Cubs went college bat in the first round they took Nico Hoerner in 2018, and he established himself as a big league regular in 2022. They also selected Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant as college hitter first-rounders, and Morales and his power bat could have that kind of impact.
If the Cubs actually landed a prospect at the hot corner named “Yohandy,” it’s not hard to start coming up with the pun-filled praise. (Shaw goes at pick 17 to the Orioles, for what it’s worth.)
Morales ranks as the 15th prospect in the class, according to Pipeline:
The son of former Cuban National Team member Andy Morales, who played briefly in the Yankees and Red Sox systems, Yohandy Morales was a Top 200 prospect as a Florida high school standout, but wasn’t taken in the shortened 2020 Draft largely because of his commitment to the University of Miami. He stepped right into the Hurricanes’ lineup in 2021, hitting 11 homers as a freshman, then took another step forward as a sophomore, hitting 18 home runs and finishing with an OPS over 1.000 before hitting .400 for Team USA over the summer.
In many ways, Morales has a similar profile to what scouts thought he might be coming out of high school. He’s an aggressive hitter looking to do damage and he does consistently barrel up the baseball, showing an ability to drive the ball to all fields. While he’s still power-over-hit, he has ironed out some of the moving parts of his swing that hurt him as a prepster, giving him a better chance to hit and get to that power.
A former shortstop who outgrew the position and moved to third, Morales’ strong arm works very well from the hot corner and he has the defensive actions to stay there long-term. That combined with the power profile teams covet from infield corner types should have him in early-round conversations.
Check out the mock to see some of the other top names, and we’ll have some more fun with these over the next few months, and heading toward the summer. The top seven-ish, for now, tend to be the biggest names you hear about: LSU OF Dylan Crews, Tennessee RHP Chase Dollander, LSU RHP Paul Skenes, Florida OF Wyatt Langford, Grand Canyon SS Jacob Wilson, Ole Miss SS Jacob Gonzalez, and high school OF Max Clark.