The 2023 MLB Draft is now in the past, and the Auburn Tigers once again produced multiple draft picks, something that has been nothing new under the leadership of head coach Butch Thompson. The Tigers have had at least one pick in each draft since 1975, tied for the longest streak in the SEC.
In 2023, Auburn had three players selected: shortstop Cole Foster, third baseman Bryson Ware and relief pitcher Chase Isbell.
Foster was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the third round with the 85th overall pick, becoming the third player in Thompson's tenure to be selected in the first three rounds.
The junior from Plano, Texas had a career-best season in 2023, hitting .336 with 13 home runs, 49 RBI, 75 hits and 57 runs. Foster played 123 games with the Tigers and posted a career average of .305 with 22 home runs, 97 RBI and 128 hits. Foster was a semifinalist for the Brooks Walton Award and earned Brooks Walton Award Shortstop of the Week honors twice in 2023.
Ware was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth round with the 253rd overall pick. This made him and Foster the highest-drafted pair of Auburn infielders since 1979.
The senior from Madison, Mississippi also had a big year in which he hit .350, set the program's season-single home run record with 24, and recorded 63 RBI and 66 runs. Ware played 150 games during his career with the Tigers and posted a career average of .297 with 31 home runs, 110 RBI and 125 runs. He was named a semifinalist for the NCBWA Dick Howser Trophy and to the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list. Ware started the season on a 34-game on-base streak and reached base safely in all but two games.
Isbell was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 15th round with the 439th overall pick. He represented the 11th Auburn player drafted in the past two seasons.
The senior from Springville made 37 appearances for the Tigers, the second most on the team over the past two seasons. Isbell posted a 4-2 record with a 5.54 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 52 career innings.
Additionally, Auburn had five signees get drafted. The Seattle Mariners selected Colt Emerson with the 22nd overall pick in the first round. The Detroit Tigers selected Kevin McGonigle with the 37th overall pick in the first round. Sam Mongelli was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 10th round with the 310th overall pick. The Milwaukee Brewers selected Bjorn Johnson with the 362nd overall pick in the 12th round. The Brewers also selected Dylan Watts with the 542nd pick in the 18th round.
Auburn has developed a reputation for developing next-level talent. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues as Butch Thompson's time on the Plains continues.
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