Updated Predictions for the Top 10 Picks of the 2013 MLB Draft
Thanks to the newly implemented July 13 signing deadline for draft picks, nearly every player selected in June began their professional careers ahead of schedule. For the first time since, well, forever, we’ve been able to evaluate many of these prospects on something more than a small sample.
At the same time, it’s never too early to begin analyzing the potential top draft picks for next season. Unfortunately, this upcoming year’s crop is even less impressive than the 2012 group, but that doesn’t mean it lacks elite prospects.
So, now that both the high-school summer showcase circuit and Cape Cod League have concluded, here’s an updated look at the top 10 prospects for the 2013 draft.
10. Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Florida
A 6’1”, 205-pound right-handed pitcher, Crawford came into his own this season as part of an immensely talented Florida team. Working from a high three-quarters arm slot, he pumps fastballs that have reportedly touched 97 mph and feature late sink.
Crawford has a second plus pitch in a slider that’s sure to draw swings-and-misses at any level. He also mixes in a curveball and changeup, though neither pitch is as advanced as the fastball-slider combo.
He can fall out of sync with his mechanics at times, which results in temporary lapses in control, but that’s a petty complaint.
9. Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
At 6’3” and 210 pounds, Moran possesses a projectable frame with room to fill out. A left-handed hitter, he doesn’t show a lot of power at the moment, although he’s proven to be a consistent run producer in the middle of the Tarheels order.
He has a smooth, easy swing that, when combined with his advanced plate discipline, allows him to use the whole field. Provided that his lower half doesn’t become too bulky, he should be able to remain at third. He has the arm for the position, although there are some concerns about his defense.
8. Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (Ind.)
One of the few prospects from the 2013 draft class that I’ve seen in person (so far), Ball is undoubtedly the top two-way player on the board. Committed to Texas, he’s a 6’6”, 175-pound left-hander who impresses as much on the mound as he does at the plate. And with such a projectable frame, his ceiling is ridiculously high.
On the bump, Ball boasts a fastball that’s usually in the 89-92 mph range with some late, arm-side life. With a high leg quick and quick arm, his presentation of the ball is deceptive, especially when he’s locating his slider and changeup.
Ball ran a 6.67-second 60-yard dash in my look and showcased plus bat speed from the left side of the plate. He drives the ball with authority to all fields and could develop legitimate power as he develops physically. Given his speed and lengthy strides, he showed excellent range in the outfield in addition to an accurate, 93 mph arm.
7. Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)
Frazier, a 6’0", 190-pound outfielder, is a dynamic player with astounding bat speed that was on full display this summer in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field. He’s strong for his size, should continue to add power as he matures and has plus speed that will allow to play any outfield position.
6. Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
A 6’5”, 215-pound right-handed hitter, Bryant is the top power hitter in the 2013 draft class. He has plus bat speed and, in turn, plus power to all fields—especially to his pull side. Equally important is the fact that Bryant’s a patient hitter who walks as much as he strikes out.
He has solid hands and a sufficient arm to play the hot corner. And if he’s ultimately forced off the position, he has enough speed and athleticism to handle a corner outfield spot.
5. Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (Ga.)
The top prep prospect on the board, Meadows is a toolsy outfielder with a 6’3”, 200-pound frame and considerable upside.
A left-handed hitter, he drives to ball with backspin to all fields and showcases above-average pull power. There should be more to come, too, as he still tends to finish his swing with too much weight on his backside.
Regardless, Meadows is the most projectable and talented high-school player in the 2013 draft class.
4. Seth Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Virtually unheard of before this summer, Manaea came out of nowhere to absolutely dominate the Cape Cope League. The 6’5”, 215-pound left-hander enjoyed a quietly good sophomore season at Indiana State but has emerged as arguably the top left-hander in the 2013 draft class after going 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA, 85 strikeouts and seven walks in 51.2 innings. His excellence led to a sweep of the league’s postseason awards: Cape Cod League Outstanding Pro Prospect and Pitcher of the Year.
Manaea has that same easy, low-to-mid-90s fastball that made Matt Moore an elite prospect, and he showed a plus slider this summer. The southpaw also features a changeup, though it’s the least developed of his pitches.
3. Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
A 6’4”, 180-pound right-hander, Stanek was a third-round draft pick of the Mariners in 2010 but never signed, obviously, and just missed the cutoff date to be eligible for the 2012 draft.
He blossomed into one of the top collegiate arms last season and will head the Razorbacks’ 2013 rotation. With a fastball that registers anywhere from 91-96 mph, as well as a plus slider and steadily improving changeup, Stanek should be one of the first arms off the board next June.
2. Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
A 12th-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010, Wilson instead honored his commitment to Stanford. Stanford has a reputation as a program where power hitters go to die, so the fact that he remains so highly regarded is a testament to his high ceiling and overall skill set.
At 6’5” and 240 pounds, Wilson is athletic for his size with plus raw power at the plate. However, he may never truly tap into it until he enters the professional ranks.
1. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel was selected by the Pirates as the No. 8 overall pick this past June but ultimately decided to return to college for his senior season, turning down a $3.8 million offer in the process. Although he didn’t go No. 1 overall as expected, there’s a strong chance that will happen in 2013.
In a weaker draft class—even weaker than the 2012 draft class—Appel is the top pitcher on the board—easily. Even if he’s remotely close to the pitcher he was as a junior, Appel should be the No. 1 overall pick.