College World Series: Who Would LSU Fans Pick with No. 1 Pick in 2023 MLB Draft? Paul Skenes or Dylan Crews?

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By Webdesk

OMAHA – The main goal of the LSU Tigers fans who made the trip to Omaha is to see their team triumph in the 2023 Men’s College World Series. Somewhere behind defeating Florida in the finals and claiming its seventh national title in school history, is observing the impending professional fates of the team’s top two players, midfielder Dylan Crews and ace right-hander Paul Skenes.

Thanks to their skills and potential for success at the sport’s highest level, Crews and Skenes have a chance on July 9 to become the first-ever teammates to be selected with the top two picks from the MLB Draft. The general expectation – as laid out in Mike Axisa’s latest mock draft – is that the Pirates will provide Crews with the top overall pick, and Skenes will then become No. 2 in the Nationals. While it’s of course possible that things don’t unfold that way, it would be quite surprising if Crews or Skenes slipped out of the top two.

We’ve had close calls before. In 2011, UCLA teammates Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer took first and third overall, and in 1978 Arizona State’s Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks also went No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. Clemson took first and fourth picks in 1996 with Kris Benson and Billy Koch. It should also be noted that in 1982, Thomas Jefferson High School accounted for No. 1 overall pick Shawon Dunston (Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn) and No. 3 pick Jimmy Jones (Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas). No, not the same school, but please appreciate the vast reach of Thomas Jefferson High School baseball in the early 1980s. The point is: no one has done what LSU is likely to do soon.

Before the start of Game 1 of the best-of-three MWCS Final on Saturday — a thrilling 4-3 victory in extras for LSU — CBS Sports probed beyond the most obvious interests of LSU fans and asked them this: If you had the authority to determine the No. 1 overall pick of this draft, would you pick Crews or Skenes?

“My cousins ​​and I have had this debate countless times over a few beers, you know,” said Andrew DeMoss, a lifelong LSU fan and four-time MCWS participant. “If I were you, I’d take Skenes. Pitching is dominant. A pitcher totally changes the game. We saw it last night with Skenes. I hope Crews wins the Golden Spikes. I love him, but if it’s the choice, I’d take Skenes.”

“Crews for sure,” LSU rooter Harley Enochson told CBS Sports. “Pure hitter, great on defense, just a complete player. I’d go for Crews. He’ll outlast Skenes, I think.”

Patrick Lostaglia and his son Christian – LSU fans, both – agreed. “All the way, honey,” Patrick said. “I just like him. He brings energy, he has a stick with which we can win the game. That’s who I prefer to have on my team.”

“Crews,” Christian said. “He can do it on both sides of the ball.”

Robbie Compton: “Skenes. He throws 100 miles an hour, and he’s going to get better. He’s only 21 years old, and he’s incredible.”

Luke Cranford: “Man, it’s a tough decision. On the one hand, Crews can play every day, but there are only a limited number of pitchers like Paul Skenes who’ve ever come along. He’s only been focused on pitching for a year, and he “I’ve already broken the SEC strikeout record. You can pass that up. I’m going for Skenes.”

You’ll notice at this point that the count is even – three votes for Crews and three votes for Skenes. So to break the tie, it fell to LSU partisan Rusty Arledge. “I think I should take Crews because Crews is a day-in-day-out player where Skenes will be a rotation guy, so you’ll probably get more out of Crews,” Arledge said of some fairly deafening “LSU” chants outside Charles Schwab Field. “But they both deserve it.”

As the tight margins suggest, you can argue for both. Crews has a huge offensive advantage, both in terms of strength and his ability to hit average. Crews also wants to stay in midfield, at least in the early years of his big league career. As a seasoned scout recently told our RJ Anderson, Crews seems like the most obvious top pick since Bryce Harper in 2010.

As for Skenes, he added a lot of fastball speed after moving from Air Force to LSU prior to this season, and he often records triple digits. LSU fan Cranford suggested above that Skenes had received divided attention for this season. Indeed, in two seasons with the Air Force, Skenes logged over 400 at-bats, some while manning the catcher position. It’s reasonable to expect that a single emphasis on his development as a hillman could reveal an even higher ceiling.

However those first two picks turn out, they’re going to be an occasion for MLB draft history and a memorable moment for Crews and Skenes. So are the LSU fans who, according to this modest poll sample, are sharply divided over which Tiger should be named first.

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