The possibilities will be endless for Dana Point native and JSerra graduate Trent Caraway when the 2023 MLB Draft kicks off with the first two rounds on Sunday, July 9, in Seattle, followed by rounds 3-10 on Monday, July 10, and rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, July 11.
This spring, Caraway was named the CIF-SS Division 1 Player of the Year, Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year and The Capistrano Dispatch Co-Boys Athlete of the Year as he led the JSerra baseball team to its second consecutive CIF-SS championship.
On the Lions’ championship run, Caraway hit .462 with seven home runs, 11 doubles and 20 RBI and set the program’s single-season hits record with 49, which passed 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis’ mark of 45 hits.
The MLB scouting report for Caraway describes him as “one of the better pure hitters among California prepsters” in this draft class. Keith Law of The Athletic said that Caraway’s “swing itself is one of the best in the class, generating hard contact and loft.”
Nearly every draft report detailed that Caraway’s strong arm and size at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds will likely land him defensively at third base, where he could handle the hot corner and make those cross-diamond throws.
All of his tangible abilities make Caraway one of the, if not the, best draft-eligible prospects in Orange County high school baseball. Where there’s less consensus is where that actually slots him against the rest of the MLB Draft pool.
The 19-year-old Caraway is ranked No. 70 by MLB.com, while ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel has him at No. 39 on his Future Value scale. Perfect Game has Caraway at No. 38 among national high school products, but Law’s rankings for The Athletic have the infielder at No. 86.
In his latest mock draft, Perfect Game’s Brian Sakowski had Caraway going at No. 37 as a first-round competitive balance pick to the Detroit Tigers—a slot with a signing bonus value of $2.3 million.
However, predicting actual MLB draft picks outside of the very top is a complete crapshoot, as there are so many factors that go into baseball selections. One of those is college commitments, as high school players can elect not to sign with the team that selects them, go to college and re-enter the draft later.
Caraway signed with Oregon State to potentially continue his athletic and academic career, and while $2.3 million is a considerable windfall, there is the opportunity for more for Caraway, either through just taking in the college experience or improving his draft stock.
In his draft capsule, Law of The Athletic said Caraway “could be a top-10 pick in two years as a draft-eligible sophomore if he hits like I expect in college.” That’s no small difference, as the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft has a slot value of $5.4 million.
Whether it’s in the first round, second round, third round or further down if teams hear that he’ll stick with his college commitment, the baseball world is wide open for Caraway.