MLB draft 2023: When is too early to take a starting pitcher?

Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP

There's a phrase that has come up in every MLB draft room that I have been in: "You can never have too much pitching." But when it comes to the draft, MLB clubs still have a spotty-at-best track record when selecting pitchers.

Even as scouting and analytics models have improved in recent years, the results -- including those at the top of the draft -- have not. Look at the consensus best pitching prospects in recent draft classes -- college aces such as Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker, Asa Lacy and Casey Mize - and you will find spotty performance and health in their pro careers since they were anointed.

This spring, LSU righty Paul Skenes has zoomed to second overall on my soon-to-be-updated draft board and appears to be the next in that line of consensus top pitching prospects. He is not the only starting pitcher who will be high on team draft boards this year, either. Tennessee's Chase Dollander, who was No. 1 entering the season, Wake Forest's Rhett Lowder and Florida's duo of Hurston Waldrep and Brandon Sproat all project as potential first-round picks as well. But given the recent track record of starters at the top of the draft, how high can you logically justify drafting a pitcher?