SEATTLE — The national champions won the draft, too.
LSU righty Paul Skenes and star outfielder Dylan Crews, who have been regarded as the two top prospects for months as they led the Tigers to their seventh national title, were the top picks of Sunday’s First-Year Player Draft at Lumen Field.
The twin selections marked the first time a pair of teammates went 1-2.
In a bit of a surprise, Skenes was selected first overall by the Pirates, who prioritized star power and an ace over his teammate or potential financial strategizing.
There was some thought they would lean toward Crews, and some thought the Pirates would go with a slightly lower-ranked prospect (who would command less of a signing bonus), such as the University of Florida’s Wyatt Langford.
The Pirates instead went with an arm who already has begun writing his legend.
Skenes, a California native who spent his first two collegiate seasons at Air Force, transferred into the SEC and dominated with triple-digit heat and an often unhittable slider.
He pitched to a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts and struck out 209 in 122 ²/₃ innings, regarded by some as the best pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg in 2009.
The 21-year-old was dominant in the College World Series, in which he pitched to a 1.11 ERA, and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
He became the first pitcher taken No. 1 since 2018, when the Tigers selected Casey Mize.
The Pirates, who won the top pick in MLB’s first-ever draft lottery, owned the overall top pick for a second time in three years.
Pittsburgh selected catcher Henry Davis, who recently made his major league debut, in 2021.
The Nationals — who were expected to select Skenes if he fell — instead grabbed his teammate at No. 2.
Crews, who is from Florida, set an LSU freshman record with 18 home runs and only got better in his three collegiate seasons.
In his third and final year, the center fielder/right fielder batted .426 with a ridiculous .567 on-base percentage and smacked 18 home runs in 71 games, riding a huge season to the 2023 Golden Spikes Award — which is given to the best amateur baseball player in the country.
The Tigers rounded out the top three with Max Clark, a high school outfielder from Indiana who was Gatorade’s National Baseball Player of the Year.
The five-tooled 18-year-old will have to be swayed out of his commitment to Vanderbilt.
The Rangers selected Langford fourth before the Twins went with Walker Jenkins, a high school outfielder from North Carolina.