Coming off two strong seasons at Tennessee in which he was one of the SEC’s top pitchers, Chase Dollander is now likely to hear his name called very early in the upcoming 2023 MLB Draft. A likely lock to come off the board in top-half of the first round as well, where will Dollander be selected, and why?
SEC Baseball 2023 MLB Draft Preview: Tennessee RHP Chase Dollander
Prior to beginning his collegiate career, Dollander was a prep product in the state of Georgia where he attended Greenbrier High School. Among the state’s top pitchers, Dollander would however go undrafted out of high school in the 2020 MLB Draft, and would go on to play collegiately in-state at Georgia Southern.
Spending only one season with the Eagles in 2021 as a freshman, Dollander would make a total of 12 appearances for Georgia Southern, 11 of which were starts. During that span, the right-hander would own a 4-3 record with a 4.04 ERA and 64:28 K:BB ratio across 49 IP, holding opponents to a .262 AVG against.
At the conclusion of his freshman season, Dollander would go on to transfer to Tennessee, which was the first step toward a massive breakout 2022 campaign for the right-hander.
One of the SEC’s top pitchers in 2022 as a sophomore, Dollander would make 16 appearances for the Volunteers, 14 of which were starts, to own a 10-0 record with a 2.39 ERA and 108:13 K:BB ratio across 79 IP. Holding opponents to a combined .175 AVG against, Dollander would be named the 2022 SEC Pitcher of the Year that season, as well as receive other honors that included First Team All-SEC, two-time SEC Pitcher of the Week, First Team All-American, SEC All-Tournament, and more.
Having entered this past season with numerous preseason accolades, Dollander would still post a solid 2023 campaign, even despite the right-hander not being as sharp as he was the year prior. A mainstay of the Volunteers rotation once again as a junior, Dollander would make 17 starts to own a 7-6 record with a 4.75 ERA and 120:30 K:BB ratio across 89 IP, while also holding opponents to a combined .243 AVG against.
A player who owns a 3.73 ERA with a 292:71 K:BB ratio across 217 IP combined at the collegiate level, you don’t have to look far to see why Dollander is considered one of the top pitchers in this draft. In fact, MLB Pipeline ranks Dollander as the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2023 MLB Draft, along with the No. 4 pitcher behind only LSU’s Paul Skenes, Wake Forest’s Rhett Lowder, and prep prospect Noble Meyer.
On the mound, Dollander has a legit four-pitch mix from the right side, which is led by a fastball that certainly has the potential to flirt with triple-digits, along with a plus slider, changeup, and curveball. With that arsenal, Dollander has strong command of each, and has shown the ability across the last two seasons at Tennessee that his potential to make hitters swing-and-miss can be elite at times.
As mentioned previously, Dollander is coming off a down 2023 season compared to his stellar 2022 campaign, with one of the most notable differences having been his walks, as the right-hander would walk 30 batters this season compared to the 13 before. Aside from his command at times a year ago however, Dollander does not necessarily have very many question marks entering the professional game, making it clear why he is a likely lock to go very early in the first round.
Potential Draft Range
Mentioned at the start, Dollander is likely a lock to come off the board in the top-half of the first round, as well as potentially in the Top 10. As for the potential draft range for the right-hander, Dollander could come off the board as early as the No. 6-10 picks, and will likely not fall past No. 20 overall.
Dollander will be selected in the No. 10-15 pick range in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft.