LSU’s Skenes (Pirates), Crews (Nats) drafted 1-2

SEATTLE — Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews, star teammates on the LSU team that won the Men’s College World Series, were selected with the first two picks of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft on Sunday, becoming the first pair of teammates to go 1-2 in draft history.

The Pittsburgh Pirates began the draft by picking Skenes, the hard-throwing pitcher, No. 1 overall, and the Washington Nationals followed with Crews, the power-hitting outfielder.

Skenes became the first pitcher to go No. 1 overall since Casey Mize was selected by the Detroit Tigers in 2018. Skenes’ selection was announced by Seattle Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr.

Skenes went 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA and a Division I-leading 209 strikeouts, breaking the single-season SEC record, in 122⅔ innings for an LSU Tigers team that went on to win the Men’s College World Series. Skenes became the sixth player — and first pitcher — to win Most Outstanding Player at the MCWS and go No. 1 overall in the MLB draft. Phil Nevin (1992) is the only other player to do both in the same year.

“He had an incredibly special season at LSU,” Pittsburgh general manager Ben Cherington said. “He obviously took another step forward this spring. It’s a really special combination of pitches and just as much about the mix and command than any one pitch.”

Crews became the first player ever to win the Golden Spikes Award, a national title and be drafted in the top five within a single year. He is the first college position player taken by Washington with its first pick since Anthony Rendon in 2011.

“A guy we’ve watched since he was in high school,” Nationals President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo said. “He’s the type of guy that we want here in Washington. He’s a terrific person. He’s got great character. He’s very competitive and he’s a winner.”

Detroit selected high school outfielder Max Clark from Franklin, Indiana, at No. 3. Clark was the Gatorade national player of the year after hitting .646 with six homers and 33 RBIs during his high school season.

Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford went No. 4 to the Texas Rangers, and high school outfielder Walker Jenkins, from Oak Island, North Carolina, went fifth to the Minnesota Twins.

The Oakland Athletics took college shortstop Jacob Wilson, the son of former major league shortstop Jack Wilson, from Grand Canyon at No. 6.

Wake Forest right-hander Rhett Lowder went No. 7 to the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City selected high school catcher Blake Mitchell, from Sinton, Texas, at No. 8, and the Colorado Rockies picked Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander.

The top 10 concluded with the Miami Marlins selecting high school righty Noble Meyer from Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.

Ranked third heading into the draft by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, Skenes regularly throws his fastball into the triple digits and couples it with a plus slider that could make him a major leaguer as early as 2024. Crews was a two-time SEC Player of the Year who slashed .426/.567/.713 with 18 homers in 71 games as a junior this past season.

It’s the third time a school has produced multiple top-three picks in the same year, following UCLA in 2011 (Gerrit Cole, first, and Trevor Bauer, third) and Arizona State in 1978 (Bob Horner, first, and Hubie Brooks, third).

The Pirates selected first overall for the second time in three years — they took Henry Davis in 2021 and called him up to the major leagues three weeks ago — and the sixth time overall, more than any other team. They entered the draft with the highest bonus pool at just over $16 million; slot value for the No. 1 overall pick sits at $9,721,000, but teams and players are free to negotiate their own bonus.

Cherington said the hope is an agreement can come quickly and Skenes could pitch somewhere in the Pirates organization in 2023.

“It will have been a little while since he last pitched in the World Series, and we want to be sure that whatever that schedule and progression looks [like] makes sense for him,” Cherington said.

MLB is hosting the draft from Lumen Field, which sits adjacent to T-Mobile Park and hosts the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and the Seattle Sounders of MLS. The draft consists of 20 rounds and will take place over the course of three days, with the first 70 picks Sunday. The Pirates were awarded the No. 1 overall pick by virtue of winning MLB’s first draft lottery in December.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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