Since the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft is nearly done—time flies when there are only 40 rounds—it is time to take a way-too-early look at some of the elite players in the 2013 class.
Specifically, we want to focus on the high school talent that will be available. Right now, the high school players look to be the weaker part of the draft. There is good upside to be found, but no one has separated themselves from the pack.
The next 12 months are going to be very interesting for the development of the high school players. Here is a look at the best of the best from next year's crop.
Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (GA)
Right now, Meadows looks like the top high school player available in next year's class. He is committed to Clemson, but the right financial incentive could convince him to take his talents to pro ball.
One of the best athletes available, Meadows has five-tool potential. He has big power, plus speed and a terrific throwing arm. He offers more upside than anyone available in the class and could make a strong case as the No. 1 overall pick.
Meadows will likely end up in right field as a big leaguer, but the tools easily profile for the position. He has legitimate All-Star potential right now, with a lot of room to grow over the next 12 months.
Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (FL)
If the 2012 draft taught us anything, it is that teams are going to move hard after up-the-middle players. They are the hardest positions to fill, so when you find one, it is best to snatch them up while you can.
Mercado is the best pure shortstop in next year's class—high school or college—with great instincts and feel for the position, good glove work and a plus arm. His body type profiles perfectly for the position, so there is no worry of him outgrowing it as he ages.
Offensively, Mercado has some work to do. He is likely going to have more doubles than home run power at his peak, though he has a good swing with quick wrists and a keen eye.
Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS (CA)
In keeping with the theme started with Mercado, if you can find a high school catcher who projects to stay at the position and offers a strong package of tools, it is best to make him an offer he can't refuse.
Martinez shows a strong defensive presence already, with athleticism, receiving skills and a good arm behind the plate. He is going to have to learn how to call games, but the other skills needed are already there.
Even more impressive than his defense is what he can do with the bat. Martinez has good power already, with bat speed and the projection to add more as he matures. He will not be an above-average runner in the future, but a four-tool catcher is easily worth a top-10 pick.