A Trip to the NCAA Regionals Gives a Preview of the 2021-2023 MLB Drafts

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I jumped at the opportunity to attend the NCAA regional baseball weekend games in Eugene, Oregon, which featured University of Oregon, Louisiana State University (LSU), Gonzaga, and Central Connecticut. The regional featured legitamate top three round caliber prospects from the 2021-2023 draft.

Landon Marceaux, RHP, LSU, 2021 Draft eligible

Landon Marceaux is a top 3 round caliber pitcher in this July’s MLB Draft. Marceaux stands 6’0″ and is listed at 179 lbs., but he appears to have filled out and looks closer to 190-200 lbs. He still offers some projectability. What stands out with Marceaux is his success as a starter in the SEC with the ability to tunnel three pitches effectively.

Marceaux’s fastball operated 91-93 the entire outing. He was able to locate to both sides of the plate, but when he did miss it was often to his glove side. His breaking ball is his bread and butter pitch. He struggled to get the necessary break in the first two innings, but then locked in his command. The breaking ball had curveball actions, sitting 84-86, and at it’s best was a plus offering generating feeble swings from both righties and lefties. Marceaux also threw another breaking ball with more slider action in the low 80s. Marceaux’s changeup was more of a third offering in this outing sitting in the low 80s with some depth. He used it effectively to steal strikes over the course of several innings. The changeup needs more work.

Though he has some work to do, Landon Marceaux is a battle-tested Friday night starter in a major SEC program with four pitches (one of them plus). He’ll likely hear his name called in the third to fifth rounds.

Landon Marceaux, RHP, LSU at NCAA Regionals

Aaron Zavala, RF, Oregon, 2021 Draft eligible

Aaron Zavala attracted a good amount of attention from scouts when he was up at the plate. Standing just 6’0″, the Oregon rightfielder put on a bit of a show when he drove a double deep into the damp Oregon night. Zavala had minimal chances to show off his arm, but by all accounts, it’s a solid, accurate one. Zavala has solid weight transfer and stays balanced through the hitting zone. There could be some improvements in hip rotation to minimize wasted energy (which should be cleaned up with professional), but it’s a short, compact swing. Zavala should hear his name called relatively early this July.

Aaron Zavala, RF, Oregon at NCAA Regionals
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Dylan Crews, RF, LSU, 2023 Draft eligible

If you wanted to put money on who would be the favorite for the first overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, I’d pick Dylan Crews. The LSU rightfielder shocked many when he withdrew from the 2020 draft. Seemingly not receiving the offers he was looking for, he took his talents to Baton Rouge, where he has done nothing but mash. Crews played a solid right field, but it’s at the dish, where he’ll make his money. Crews showed good contact skills, even against Gonzaga ace, Alek Jacob. He starts in a balanced upright position before using his momentum and diving towards the ball. The hitting stance is reminiscent of Nolan Arenado. He stays balanced through the zone and is a big time power threat. Throughout the 2021 season, Crews sported a 15% K% as a true freshman in the SEC. Feel free to pick your favorite pun, but you’ll be hearing about more than a few “Crews Missiles” in the next two seasons.

Dylan Crews, RF, LSU at NCAA Regionals

Tre’ Morgan, 1B, LSU, 2023 Draft eligible

It’s not often that you hear a first baseman raved about for his defense, but Tre’ Morgan absolutely qualifies. He was dynamic at firs base saving three errant throws by the LSU infielders. He moved well around the base and even displayed flexibility in digging a ball out on a throw while doing the splits. He very much deserves the Evan White comparisons on defense.

At the plate, Morgan is a polished hitter at the plate who shows off extra bases rather than a massive power threat. That shouldn’t sell Morgan short as he did hit 5 home runs this past season as a true freshman in the SEC. In this game, Morgan showed solid bat to ball skills with only an occasional whiff. The varied timing of Gonzaga starter Alek Jacob’s delivery fooled a good number of LSU hitters on the night.

Tre’ Morgan, LSU, at NCAA Regionals

More pearls on players at the NCAA regionals

  • Alek Jacob, RHP, Gonzaga (2021 Draft eligible): He was exceptional in Friday night’s game throwing a complete game, shutout of the star-studded LSU offense. Jacob throws from a very low 3/4 (almost sidearm) angle producing a 84-86 mph fastball. Jacob dramatically alters the timing of his delivery, frequently using pauses at the top of his motion to throw hitters off. It was very effective. To complement the fastball, Jacob breaks out the occasional slow breaking ball, which sits in the mid 60s.
  • Cade Doughty, 3B, LSU (2022 Draft eligible): I’ll have more on Doughty when I release my Top prospect rankings for the 2022 draft, but Doughty has a legitimate chance to be a first rounder next summer.
  • Trystan Vrieling, RHP, Gonzaga (2022 Draft eligible): Vrieling came on in relief in the second inning to throw 7 solid innings. Vrieling has a very over the top arm motion. His fastball sat 92-94 mph (touching 95). It had good ride up in the zone. He paired it with a 79-81 mph curveball that generated weak swings and good drop.

In the lead up to the MLB Draft in July, there will be more articles focusing on the Draft prospects. Check out the latest Draft content here

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