Will Mark Appel (Stanford) finally be the No. 1-overall pick in 2013?
Even though the college and high school baseball seasons don’t begin until next month, excitement and speculation regarding the 2013 First-Year Player Draft is already in full swing.
However, preseason speculation about a prospect’s ability and potential can only go so far. What truly matters is how they perform between now and early June. Therefore, it’s guaranteed that the overall draft board will feature endless fluctuation and movement—as always.
Here’s a look at Prospect Pipeline’s latest mock draft for 2013.
Boasting a fastball that reaches 95-96 mph and a wipeout, plus slider, Stanek is without a doubt one of the top pitchers in the 2013 draft class. The one knock on the right-hander is that he needs to do a better job pitching off his fastball this spring. Either way, he’s arguably the top arm on the board with pure stuff that should translate in the major leagues.
Manaea, a 6'5" left-hander, burst onto the scene this past summer in the Cape Cod League, where he captured honors as the top pitcher. He possesses easy, mid-90s velocity and a sharp slider and figures to be one of the more talked-about prospects this spring. Although Manaea has a very high ceiling, he's also a high-risk prospect.
The top prep prospect in the 2013 draft class, Meadows is a highly athletic and toolsy outfielder with a 6’3”, 200-pound frame that oozes project. A left-handed hitter, he drives the ball to all fields with above-average bat speed and could feature above-average-to-plus raw power at maturity.
In the outfield, Meadows has both the speed and range to remain in center field, where his bat will offer the most value.
A slick-fielding shortstop with excellent hands, Rivera has both the athleticism and instincts to remain at the position. At 6’0", 175 pounds, his wiry frame leaves room for projection. Although he’s still coming into his own as a hitter and can look very raw at times, the combination of his fluid swing, bat speed and hand-eye coordination are impressive. He’s been lauded for his work ethic and should blossom into a top-10 pick over the course of the 2013 season.
After choosing not to sign last season after the Pirates selected him with the eighth overall pick, Appel is headed back to Stanford for his senior year. The 6’5” right-hander should turn in another big season as the Cardinal Friday night starter; however, he’ll have to miss more bats and improve his overall efficiency in order to be a lock at 1-1.
Clint Frazier is an impact talent loaded with quick-twitch athleticism, tools and mature secondary skills. What stands out most is the right-handed hitter’s bat speed, which is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a high-school player. He’s not as sexy of a prospect as Austin Meadows or Trey Ball; however, his bat is arguably as advanced as any hitter in the 2013 draft class.
Boasting a mid-90s fastball and wipeout, plus slider, Jonathan Crawford may not be selected as high as his pure stuff warrants. Due to his lack of a third pitch and high-effort delivery, some believe that he’s destined for a career as a reliever. However, given his college experience and perceived untapped potential, there’ll definitely be a team who takes an aggressive flier on Crawford.
Regarded as the top two-way player in the 2013 draft class, I personally prefer Ball as an outfielder, where his tools are on full display. He’s incredibly athletic at 6’6” with a lean, projectable frame, as well as plus speed and a strong arm (that pumps 90-93 mph fastballs on the mound). Furthermore has a smooth left-handed swing with easy power and has a chance to add considerable strength as he matures.
In a draft class where college power is hard to come by, Bryant stands out as the top slugger on board. At 6'5", the right-handed hitter has enough pop to play either third or first base, though the preference is for him to remain at the hot corner. He’s a pretty safe bet to hit for power as a professional; however, the amount of swing-and-miss in his game raises concern regarding his hit tool.
*Pick awarded for failure to sign Mark Appel in 2012
A 6’2”, 175-pound shortstop, Crawford has the potential to be the top prep infielder in the 2013 draft class. With excellent instincts, fluid actions and a plus arm, he seems to be a safe bet to remain at the position. His stock is enhanced by his left-handed bat, as he’s more likely to hit for average than power at maturity.
At 6’3”, 209 pounds, Moran is arguably the most advanced college hitter in the class—and a left-handed one. Even though he’s already physically strong, the 20-year-old’s broad frame should allow him to grow into even more power. Fresh off another strong showing in the Cape Cod League this summer, Moran could jump ahead of Bryant on the draft board with a strong spring at UNC.
A highly-regarded prospect out of high school, Wilson opted to attend Stanford, where he’s emerged as one of the top position prospects in the 2013 draft class. A physical specimen at 6’5”, 245 pounds, the outfielder is loaded with raw tools and tons of potential. If Wilson can showcase an improved power utility and less swing-and-miss, he could separate himself from the field this spring.
At 6’0", 190 pounds, Kaminsky doesn’t require much projection. However, that’s not to detract from his overall potential. With a present plus fastball in the low to mid-90s and sharp curveball, the left-hander already demonstrates advanced pitchability. He’s definitely a first-round talent; the only question is how high he’ll be selected.
An excellent athlete who’s also committed to play quarterback at Texas A&M, Stewart will be offered big money in the first round to begin his professional career. The right-hander has a projectable frame at 6’3”, 190 pounds and flashes the potential for a three-pitch mix comprised of a low to mid-90s fastball, above-average slider and changeup.
An undersized right-hander at 6’3”, 195 pounds, Sheffield boasts some of the best pure arm strength in the draft class. With an athletic frame and loose, whippy arm, his fastball shows easy velocity in the low to mid-90s, and there were reports of upper-90s this past summer.
In addition to a sharp curveball with downer bite, he also has the makings of at least an average slider and changeup. Sheffield may end up going much higher in the draft if a team believes they can lure him away from a commitment to Vanderbilt.
In a prep class absolutely loaded with talent behind the plate, Denney showcases both the loudest and most projectable tools of the crop. A 6’2”, 205-pound right-handed hitter, he has loads of raw power, as well as the necessary secondary skills and plus arm to remain behind the plate.
At 6’1”, 190 pounds, McGuire is a high-level athlete with excellent baseball skills. He played most of the 2012 season with an injured hip and has since recovered from offseason labrum surgery. A right-handed hitter, he has a short, quick swing that allows him to sting the ball to all fields. His above-average range, instinctual first step and plus arm give him a chance to stick at shortstop, though he may also develop enough power to handle third base.
One of the more projectable prep hitters in the draft class, Smith, a 6’1” left-handed hitter, already has a knack for making hard contact and is only beginning to learn how to tap into his raw power.
Although he may ultimately land at first base, whoever drafts Smith would be wise to develop him as an outfielder. He’s an excellent athlete with a plus arm, and has all the makings of a standout right fielder in the major leagues.
At 6’1”, 190 pounds, McGuire possesses an athletic frame with room to add considerable strength as he matures. Arguably the top defensive catcher in the draft class, he showcases outstanding agility in all directions behind the plate, which is complemented by advanced blocking and receiving skills. Considering his lightning-quick feet and above-average arm strength, he should always serve as an impediment to the running game.
At the dish, the left-handed hitter features a quick, powerful swing with enough loft to suggest above-average power potential at maturity.
A veteran of the showcase circuit, Martinez has steadily improved with each season and could be selected as high as the mid-first round. In addition to his ability to handle a pitching staff and call a good game, he also demonstrates solid-average catch-and-throw skills and a strong arm.
A right-handed hitter, Martinez flashes the potential for above-average power, which should only improve given his mature plate discipline.
Coming off an excellent season at Ole Miss, Wahl has the potential to shoot up the boards with another strong showing in 2013. The 6’3”, 210-pound right-hander showcases an above-average to plus fastball that scrapes the mid-90s, a potential plus slider and changeup that’s in need of further development.
Where in the first round Mercado is selected will depend on how much a team believes he will hit as a professional. There’s no question that he has the natural ability and defensive tools to remain at shortstop, which in itself warrants first-round consideration. If he showcases a more advanced hit tool this spring, then Mercado has a case to be the first prep shortstop off the board.
A 6’3”, 200-pound outfielder, Abreu has an athletic physique that profiles well as a professional. Although his swing can get long, the left-handed hitter showcases advanced bat speed that should translate into usable power. Because he’s only a fringe-average runner, Abreu projects as a corner outfielder in the major leagues.
At 5’11”, 190 pounds, Ervin represents one of the better power-speed prospects in the 2013 draft class. This past summer in the Cape Cod League, the outfielder garnered MVP honors after batting .323 with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases. If he can build upon that performance next spring, then Ervin has the potential to shoot up draft boards.
At 6’2”, 215 pounds, the left-handed hitting Williams possesses the most raw power (plus-plus) of any prep hitter in the 2013 draft class. At the same time, he’s an underrated athlete with average speed and range in the outfield, as well as a strong arm ideal for right field.
Whitson turned down over $2 million in 2010 after the Padres made him the No. 9 overall draft pick. Instead, the right-hander honored his commitment to Florida, where he’s been hampered by injuries and struggled to meet expectations. 2013 will be the defining year for Whitson, who could shoot up the draft boards with a rebound season.
At 6’1”, 185 pounds, Gonzales’ athletic frame doesn’t require future projection. However, given his profile command-oriented college left-hander, he’ll inevitably be coveted by most organizations. Even though his arsenal is far from overpowering, he has a legitimate feel for three average to plus offerings.
A stocky right-handed hitter, Peterson can flat-out mash. Last season as a sophomore at New Mexico, he batted .419/.490/.734 and then served as Team USA’s top run-producer later that summer.
Besides his obvious plus raw power, Peterson has the potential for at least an average hit tool, which is aided by his mature discipline. Having played both corner infield positions over the last year, his bat has greater value at the hot corner.
A lanky, 6’5” left-hander, Gonsalves already shows a feel for three pitches, especially his low-90s fastball that he spots to both sides of the plate. To complement his heater, the projectable southpaw throws a raw, slurvy breaking ball and promising changeup.
*Awarded pick for making a qualifying offer to B.J. Upton
An absolute physical specimen at 6’7”, 250 pounds, Judge is an excellent athlete for his size with an assortment of above-to-plus tools. The most obvious is his plus raw power, which is a product of his size and strength rather than bat speed.
The only thing separating him from becoming a sure-fire top pick is his lack of plate discipline, which, in turn, casts doubt about his hit tool.
*Awarded pick for making qualifying offer to Josh Hamilton
Fresh off a strong performance in the Cape Cod League in which he registered a 1.27 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 28.1 innings, Ziomek will enter the spring season as one of the more intriguing left-handers in the 2013 draft class. The 6’3”, 200-pounder’s fastball sits comfortably in the low-90s, and he backs it with a decent breaking ball and above-average to plus changeup. With a strong junior season, Ziomek has the potential to fly up the draft board.
*Awarded pick for making qualifying offer to Nick Swisher
RHP Adam Plutko (UCLA)
Michael Lorenzen, OF, Cal-State Fullerton
Andrew Mitchell, RHP, TCU
Jason Hursh, RHP, Oklahoma State
Jacoby Jones, 2B-OF, LSU
Tom Windle, LHP, Minnesota
Adam Plutko, RHP, UCLA
A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Stanford
Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU
Clinton Hollon, RHP, Woodford County HS (Ky.)
Chris Oakley, RHP, St. Augustine Prep HS (N.J.)
Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (Minn.)
Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist (Md.)
A.J. Puk, LHP, Washington HS (Calif.)
Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (Calif.)
Tyler O’Neill, IF, Garibaldi HS (Canada)