Will the Astros select Austin Meadows over Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray with the No. 1 pick? // Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
With roughly six weeks remaining until the 2013 First-Year Player draft (formally known as the Rule 4 draft), held annually on June 6-8, the list of players receiving first-round consideration continues to take shape. However, it’s important to remember that a number of things can happen between now and then that will impact a specific player’s stock, just as it’s been the case since my last mock draft in late January.
That being said, the time has come for an updated mock draft.
However, unlike the previous installment, which focused solely on the first round, this mock draft has been expanded to include both the Compensatory Round A and Competitive Balance Lottery Round A selections (the first 39 picks).
1. Houston Astros: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Although he was selected by the Pirates with the eighth overall pick last June, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement by the mid-July signing deadline. As a result, Appel returned to Stanford for his senior campaign. The 6’5” right-hander’s stuff has been sharper this spring, and he’s cleaned up his approach relative to last season. He’s not a lock to go 1-1, as right-hander Jonathan Gray and prep outfielder Austin Meadows will presumably be in the mix and could give him a run for his money for the top spot.
2. Chicago Cubs: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
With a 6’4”, 240-pound frame and projectable three-pitch mix that’s highlighted by a nearly elite fastball that eclipses triple digits, Gray, a right-hander, has been steadily climbing the draft board this spring. He doesn’t have the track record of Appel, but a strong case can be made that Gray has the best pure stuff in the entire class.
3. Colorado Rockies: Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (Ga.)
A toolsy, 6’3”, 200-pound outfielder, Meadows has the highest ceiling in the 2013 draft class. Beyond his projectable athleticism, the left-handed hitter has a quiet and effortless swing that lends to his projection for a plus hit tool at the next level. And although he hasn’t showcased much power as an amateur, it’s easy to see him developing above-average power as he adds physical strength and some leverage to his present flat bat path.
4. Minnesota Twins: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
Boasting arguably the best (and most advanced) bat in the entire draft class, Bryant, a right-handed hitter, has separated himself from the field this spring by eliminating some of the swing-and-miss from his bat that was present as a junior last season. Furthermore, he’s exhibited legitimate power to all fields and improved power frequency. At 6’5”, questions will remain as to whether Bryant can stick at third base as a professional. The good news is that he’s performed well in right field this spring, which only enhances the value of his potent bat.
5. Cleveland Indians: Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana St.
After dominating in the Cape Cod League last summer, Manaea’s stock was soaring headed into the spring season. However, the 6’5” left-hander hasn’t quite met expectations thus far, as his velocity has been inconsistent (but still in the low-to-mid-90s) and the slider not as sharp as it was over the summer. Still, his size, lack of mileage and two potential plus pitches give something to dream on.
6. Miami Marlins: Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)
Frazier is a huge wild card headed into the draft in the sense that he has the tools and present ability to warrant a top-three selection, but lacks the physical projection at 6’1”, 190 pounds. A right-handed hitter, he boasts the best bat speed in the class, not to mention the best I’ve ever seen in a high school prospect. The hit tool projects to be a plus at the next level, while the power should be at least above-average at maturity. And if a team believes Frazier can stick in center field, then there’s a decent chance he doesn’t even make it this far.
7. Boston Red Sox: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
At 6’3”, 190 pounds, Shipley has a projectable build with room to fill out. The right-hander has seen his stock soar this spring behind a fastball that sits comfortably in the low-to-mid-90s and scrapes 97 mph, and a presently above-average slider that should be a second plus offering at maturity. His command is only average at the moment, but stands to improve considering his fluid and athletic delivery.
8. Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Denney, C, Yukon HS (Okla.)
Denney may not be the most well-rounded catcher on the board; however, his impressive right-handed bat reigns supreme in a class with limited depth behind the plate. A 6’2”, 200-pound right-handed hitter with a compact but powerful swing, Denney projects to hit for both average and power as a professional. His athleticism is underrated and should allow him to keep making strides defensively.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates*: Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Although Stanek has been inconsistent this spring and continues to miss fewer bats than he should, he’s still projectable at 6’4”, 190 pounds with an above-average heater and plus slider. There will continue to be a debate about whether he profiles more as a starter or reliever, but a team with multiple first-round picks and a need for experienced pitching could make him an early pick.
*For failure to sign Mark Appel
10. Toronto Blue Jays: Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (Texas)
The top prep pitcher in the draft class, Stewart, a 6’3” right-hander, has been impressive this spring after missing some time with a shoulder injury (sustained in the fall as the quarterback for his high school team). Beyond his low-to-mid-90s fastball that will touch 96-97 mph and promising slider, Stewart exudes confidence on the mound and understands how to exploit hitters’ weaknesses. He’s committed to Texas A&M for both sports (he’s also a quarterback), so expect him to be selected early and receive an over-slot signing bonus.
11. New York Mets: Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Having missed most of the season to date after suffering a minor elbow fracture in Stanford’s first game, Wilson has returned to action at just the right time. At 6’5”, 245 pounds, the outfielder is incredibly athletic for his size with loud tools that project favorably as a major league right fielder. And considering his raw, but promising, secondary skills, Wilson represents this year’s high-ceiling college player.
12. Seattle Mariners: J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (Calif.)
Due to the lack of impact up-the-middle talent in this year’s class, shortstops capable of remaining at the position are a premium. At the top of the short list, at least at the moment, is Crawford, a 6’2”, 185-pounder who’s an excellent defender with plus speed and a projectable hit tool.
13. San Diego Padres: Dominic Smith, OF/1B, Serra HS (Calif.)
At 6’1”, 195 pounds, Smith is one of the more impressive hitters in this year’s draft class thanks to outstanding bat speed and robust raw power. That said, he’s an overaggressive hitter with a free-swinging approach that will need to be cleaned up as he matures. But make no mistake, he has the natural ability to be an absolute masher at the next level. His defensive profile as an outfielder is fringy, and he may wind up as a first-base-only prospect. However, whoever drafts Smith will do so for his big-time bat.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (Ind.)
The top two-way player on the board this year, it’s hard to say whether he has a brighter future on the mound or in the outfield. At 6’6”, 175 pounds, Ball has a ridiculously projectable frame that will allow him to add considerable strength regardless of his future position. On the mound, his fastball works in the 88-91 mph range mostly with late, arm-side run, and he’ll run it as high as 93-94. He complements his fastball with a breaking ball that features inconsistent shape but above-average potential, as well as a changeup with lots of fade.
At the dish, Ball has a smooth left-handed swing with plenty of bat speed and a flat path that should help him hit for average and power at the next level. Meanwhile, the combination of his lanky frame and plus speed should give him a chance to stick in center field, where he showcases above-average range and excellent closing speed.
Committed to Texas as a two-way player, Ball, like Stewart, will need to go early and receive a favorable signing bonus.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: Andrew Thurman, RHP, UC Irvine
Thurman, a 6’3”, 205-pound right-hander, doesn’t come with the hype of Appel, Gray or Manaea, but could have as much helium as any college pitcher come draft day. Although his fastball is his only plus pitch at the moment, Thurman has the makings of three at least average secondary offerings in a slider, curveball and changeup.
16. Philadelphia Phillies: Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.)
The top defensive catcher in the draft class, McGuire exhibits excellent athleticism, explosive actions and a strong, accurate arm behind the plate; he has the natural ability, baseball skills and instincts to be a big league catcher. At 6’1”, 190 pounds, the left-handed hitter has a smooth weight transfer through the baseball and demonstrates impressive barrel control. Additionally, McGuire keeps his hands inside the ball, which, in turn, allows him to use the entire field.
If a team is interested in a defense-oriented catcher and willing to pass on Denney’s bat, there’s a chance McGuire sneaks into the top 10.
17. Chicago White Sox: Colin Moran, 3B/1B, North Carolina
A 6’3”, 215-pound left-handed hitter, Moran owns arguably the best plate discipline in the class, which makes his hit tool all the more projectable. With an smooth, effortless swing, he laces balls from line to line and has showcased improved power frequency this spring. The only question is whether he’ll be able to stick at the hot corner where his overall defensive projection is limited due to poor range. He may ultimately land at first base, but whoever drafts Moran will do so as a third baseman.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (Calif.)
Possibly the top prep southpaw this year, Clarkin employs a smooth, repeatable delivery and hides the ball well. In addition to a low-90s fastball that plays up due to deception, the 6’2” left-hander also demonstrates advanced command of a curveball and changeup, each of which flashing at least above-average potential. Beyond his stuff and physical projection, Clarkin also has an impressive track record as one of the top pitchers for Team USA’s 18U squad.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Andy McGuire, SS, Madison HS (Va.)
A player who should continue to climb up the board over the next six weeks, McGuire is one of the better athletes in the class with equally impressive tools and secondary skills. He’s fully recovered from offseason hip surgery to repair the torn labrum that plagued him over the summer, though the nature of the injury may be a red flag for some organizations. Regardless, McGuire has all the tools and instincts to stick at shortstop, not to mention arguably the prettiest and most consistent right-handed swing among all draft hopefuls.
20. Detroit Tigers: Matt Krook, LHP, St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)
An excellent athlete at 6’4”, 195 pounds who’s still relatively new to pitching, Krook has been climbing the ranks after a breakout summer on the showcase circuit. In addition to a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s that he throws on a consistent downhill plane, the left-hander owns one of the best curveballs in the class—and one that should evade bats at any level.
21. Tampa Bay Rays: Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (Minn.)
The comparison of Boldt to 2012 first-rounder David Dahl is appropriate, as they are both plus runners who offer outstanding defense in center field, as well as a projectable hit tool from the left side of the plate. The 6’1”, 195-pounder’s only deficiencies are power and arm strength, though that shouldn’t impact his standing in the draft considering his favorable projection in center field.
22. Baltimore Orioles: Jason Hursh, RHP, Oklahoma St.
At 6’1”, 197-pound right-hander, Hursh is another major wild card in the draft class after missing the entire 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. While he’s a high-ceiling arm with plus fastball velocity and a hard, wipeout slider, Hursh’s medical history and inconsistent command could cause him to slide down the board on draft day.
23. Texas Rangers: Phil Ervin, OF, Samford
With a 5’11”, 205-pound frame, Ervin’s physical projection is limited. However, his potential for five above-average-to-plus tools at maturity still warrants a first-round flier. A right-handed hitter, his bat speed and mature plate discipline should give him a chance to hit for average at the next level, while his power will likely continue to surpass expectations. And considering his speed, defense and strong arm, Ervin projects favorably at all three outfield positions.
24. Oakland Athletics: Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno St.
At 6’7”, 240-pounds, Judge is an absolute physical specimen with surprising athleticism for his size. The right-hander is loaded with power potential, though he’s still, in theory, learning how to utilize it with consistency. His swing has some length, and he’ll work his way in and out of funks, but the total package gives plenty to dream on.
25. San Francisco Giants: Andrew Mitchell, RHP, Texas Christian
Mitchell, a 6’3”, 225-pound right-hander, has one of the best arms in the class with a fastball that comfortably reaches the mid-90s. However, his exposure has been limited for most of the spring, as TCU elected to use him as its closer to begin the season. Thankfully, they came to their senses in late March and moved Mitchell into the starting rotation. The right-hander has a lot of upside and could be a potential steal if he makes it this far into the first round.
26. New York Yankees: Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph’s HS (N.J.)
At 6’0", 190 pounds, there inevitably will be a host of teams who pass on Kaminsky due to his lack of physical projection. However, there’s no question that the left-hander’s stuff and makeup are both exceptional for his age. Beyond a fastball that works comfortably in the low-90s and will touch 94-95 mph at times, Kaminsky showcases arguably the best curveball in the class, as well as a steadily improving feel for a changeup. As a local standout hailing from New Jersey, I have a strong feeling that the Yankees will land the southpaw. The only question is how early.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Eades, RHP, Louisiana St.
The Louisiana State standout definitely has first-round stuff with a four-pitch mix that includes a plus fastball in the low-to-mid-90s, not to mention a projectable 6’3”, 198-pound frame. However, Eades, a right-hander, has had a shaky season both in terms of his command and overall effectiveness.
Compensation Round A
28. St. Louis Cardinals*: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (N.C.)
Besides his projectable, 6’3”, 175-pound frame, Harvey comes from an impressive baseball bloodline, as his father, Bryan, is a former major league pitcher. The right-hander has seen a slight jump in fastball velocity this spring, as he’s sat in the mid-90s with consistency and even topped out around 96-97 mph. Additionally, Harvey has showcased a vastly improved curveball this spring, as he throws it with tight spin and late, downward bite.
*For loss of Kyle Lohse
29. Tampa Bay Rays*: Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS (S.C.)
Ciuffo is the third-best catcher on the draft board, but lags behind fellow prep backstops Denney and McGuire. A South Carolina commit, the left-handed hitter has a balanced swing and quick bat that allows him to consistently barrel the ball and hit for some power. Behind the plate, Ciuffo is an athletic defender with an advanced skill set, quick feet and accurate arm.
*For loss of B.J. Upton
30. Texas Rangers*: Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (Calif.)
Thanks to a fastball that consistently sits in the mid-90s and touches 97-98 mph early in starts, Salazar, a 6’2”, 205-pound right-hander, has seen his draft stock take off this spring. However, although his curveball can flash plus potential at times, it’s a fringy offering overall, as is his changeup. Another growing concern stems from his inability to sustain velocity late in games, though that could also be attributed to his lack of experience and raw secondary offerings. However, if a team believes he can be developed as a starter rather than a reliever, Salazar could be a steal this late in the draft.
*For loss of Josh Hamilton
31. Atlanta Braves*: Eric Jagielo, 3B/OF, Notre Dame
A 6’3”, left-handed hitter, Jagielo is a mature hitter with plus bat speed and above-average power potential. Thanks to a consistent approach and advanced pitch recognition, he’s able to work deep counts, let the ball travel deep and utilize the entire field. Although he’s a better athlete than given credit for, Jagielo's future at the hot corner draws mixed reviews from scouts. Luckily, his defensive versatility also lends to his projection as a corner outfielder, though he’ll be drafted for his offensive potential.
*For loss of Michael Bourn
32. New York Yankees*: Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
The 6’4”, 220-pounder’s stock has been in constant motion this spring, as his stuff and effectiveness have varied between starts. When he’s at his best, Anderson, a right-hander, showcases command of a deep, four-pitch mix that’s highlighted by an above-average fastball and plus slider. He doesn’t have the impressive track record of some of the other college arms on the board, so he’ll need a strong finish to the current season to be a sure-fire first-rounder.
*For loss of Nick Swisher
33. New York Yankees*: Justin Williams, OF/3B, Terrebonne HS (La.)
A highly athletic, 6’3”, 215-pound outfielder, Williams is a raw talent with exceptional tools and overall potential. At the plate, the left-handed hitter showcases outstanding bat speed that yields plus-plus raw power, especially to the pull side, which was on display this summer when he won the Perfect Game Home Run Derby. In the outfield, he has all the makings of a right fielder at the next level with above-average speed, plenty of range and a strong arm.
*For loss of Rafael Soriano
Competitive Balance Lottery Round A
34. Kansas City Royals: Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (Md.)
Although he’s relatively undersized at 5’10”, 175 pounds, McPhearson is regarded as one of the best athletes in the class. His greatest asset is his speed, which is a plus-plus tool that plays on both sides of the ball. At the plate, the left-handed hitter demonstrates advanced bat control with a consistent path that’s geared toward contact so as to utilize his outstanding speed. In the outfield, McPhearson’s wheels, range and arm strength all cater to his profile as a sure-fire center fielder at the next level.
35. Miami Marlins: Tim Anderson, SS, East Central CC (Miss.)
If there’s one position prospect with a chance for serious upward mobility from now until the draft, it’s Tim Anderson, a 6’1”, 182-pound shortstop from a Mississippi junior college. He may not have the typical first-round background; however, he’s an electric athlete with very projectable tools. Anderson’s still raw in some regards, but his plus-plus speed, ability to remain at shortstop (or move to center field) and offensive potential could help him sneak into the first round.
36. Arizona Diamondbacks: Drew Ward, 3B/SS, Leedy HS (Okla.)
Although he’s only a high school junior, Ward has put in the work (in the classroom) so as to graduate a year early and enter the 2013 draft. At 6’4”, 220 pounds, the left-handed hitter possesses tons of physical strength and bat speed, which results in above-average-to-plus raw power to all fields. At the hot corner, Ward has all the tools to handle the hot corner as a professional, though some teams may be interested in developing him as a shortstop until he inevitably loses a step.
37. Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Florida
Regarded as one of the top arms in the draft classes headed into the season, Crawford’s stock has taken a hit this spring due to a drop in velocity and the overuse of his swing-and-miss slider. The 6’1”, 205-pound right-hander still offers potential, but needs a strong finish to avoid falling out of the first round. It seems as though it will ultimately come down to whether a team believes he’ll return to his 2012 form.
38. Cincinnati Reds: Trevor Williams, RHP, Arizona St.
A 6’3”, 228-pound right-hander, Williams has been on the draft radar for a while thanks to his above-average-to-plus control and deep arsenal. His lack of a true plus pitch hurts his future projection, though his control-oriented approach and ability to work deep into games still give him the ceiling of a midrotation workhorse.
39. Detroit Tigers: Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (Fla.)
As arguably the best defensive shortstop in the class with soft hands, fluid actions and a strong arm, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercado is gone at this point. At 6’2”, 175 pounds, he’s an excellent athlete with room to fill out without losing athleticism or speed. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a line-drive stroke and flat bat path that results in consistent contact to all fields and should allow him to hit for average at the next level.
On the Bubble
Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt
Aaron Blair, RHP, Marshall
Dustin Driver, RHP, Wenatchee HS (Wash.)
Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
Jonah Wesley, LHP, Tracy HS (Calif.)
Travis Demeritte, 3B, Winder-Barrow HS (Ga.)
Brett Morales, RHP, King HS (Fla.)
Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (Calif.)
Tom Windle, LHP, Minnesota
Hunter Renfroe, OF/C, Mississippi St.
Jeremy Martinez, C, Mater Dei HS (Calif.)
Keegan Thompson, RHP, Cullman HS (Ala.)
Devin Williams, RHP, Hazelwood West HS (Mo.)
Ivan Wilson, RHP, Rustin HS (La.)
Adam Plutko, RHP, UCLA
Jacoby Jones, 2B/OF, Louisiana St.
Chris Rivera, SS/C, El Dorado HS (Calif.)