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The MLB Draft’s First Round Floridians

Photo from SEC Network Twitter

The 2023 MLB Draft began on Sunday as a kickoff to All Star Week in Seattle.  While most professional league drafts take place after their seasons are completed, MLB hosts their amateur draft mid-season.  The MLB Draft is different in a number of ways.  It take place at the end of the college and high school seasons and it allows draft picks the opportunity to play in the remainder of the minor league season.  Most picks will end us getting some reps in the Florida or Arizona Complex League.

The 2023 Draft has 20 Rounds, down from 40 in 2019.  The 2020 “COVID Draft” was just six rounds.  There will be 614 total players selected, which includes “Competitive Balance” picks awarded mostly to small market teams.  In the case of Round One, this means there were a total of 39 picks if you include the extra CB picks (and 29 if you do not).

First Round Goes to Florida

Just a few weeks ago I wrote, The State of Florida Invades Omaha, referencing all the Florida boys playing in the College World Series.  In this article, I cited the fact that 48 out of 297 players (16%) in the CWS went to Florida high schools.  The 2023 MLB Draft is offering a similar story.  The First Round picks are in and once again the state of Florida is well represented.  In the Round One, 11 of 39 picks if you include the CB picks (28%) have ties to the Sunshine State.  If you don’t include the CB picks, it’s 9/29 (31%).  These numbers are once again, staggering.

Here’s a look at the First Round picks with connections to the state of Florida:

  • #2 Dylan Crews, OF, Nationals:  The star of National Champion LSU Baseball and Golden Spikes Award winner is a product of Lake Mary High School in suburban Orlando (Seminole County).
  • #4 Wyatt Langford, OF, Rangers: He never left the state, going from Trenton High School (Gilchrist County) to the Florida Gators.
  • #11 Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Angles:  Schanuel never left Palm Beach County, going from Lake Worth Community HS to Florida Atlantic.
  • #17 Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Orioles:  Played college ball at Vanderbilt, but is a product of American Heritage HS (Broward County).
  • #18 Brock Wilken, 3B, Brewers:  He’s a Hillsborough County kid from Bloomingdale HS who went to play college baseball at Wake Forest.
  • #20 Arjun Nimmala, SS, Blue Jays:  The first Floridian drafted straight from high school, Strawberry Crest HS (Hillsborough).
  • #24 Hurston Waldrep, SS, Braves:  The Florida Gator is actually one of the very few Gators not from in-state.  He’s a product of Thomasville HS in Georgia.
  • #26 George Lumbard Jr, SS, Yankees:  Lumbard is a high school kid from Gulliver Prep School (Miami-Dade).
  • #27 Aiden Miller, SS, Phillies:  Miller is a product of JW Mitchell HS (Pasco County).

Competitive Balance Picks

  • #31  Adrian Santana, SS, Rays:  He’s out of Doral Academy (Miami-Dade).
  • #34  Charlee Soto, P, Twins:  Soto attended Reborn Christian Academy (Osceola County).

Florida Boys Are Draft Ready

One of the most noticeable attributes of this draft class when it comes to Floridians is the number of shortstops selected.  Of these 11 players, there are 5 shortstops, 3 outfielders, a first baseman, third baseman and a pitcher.  Granted, as their organizations begin the process of developing these players in their minor league system, their positions can be fluid.  There’s a story coming out of the MLB Draft that perhaps isn’t being reported.  Yes, Florida the hub for college recruiting.  It’s also the epicenter for players ready to join the ranks of professional baseball.

Brian is the Managing Editor at Legends on Deck and Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. He's been writing about baseball at LOD since 2017 and is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association.  He's lives in Horizon West, FL. You can also reach him at

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