2013 MLB Draft: Previewing the Top 10 2-Sport Stars in This Year's Draft

Adam WellsFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2017

2013 MLB Draft: Previewing the Top 10 2-Sport Stars in This Year's Draft

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    One of the unique parts about the Major League Baseball draft, particularly the high school prospects, is a lot of them don't just focus on baseball. 

    As much as we love the sport and think anyone would be foolish to waste their time doing anything else, young athletes have other interests that can be of great benefit, both from an educational and financial standpoint, which play a role in their futures. 

    We have seen in the past draftees leverage their ability to attend college on a football scholarship to get a better deal from the MLB team that took them.

    The new collective bargaining agreement, which instituted the ridiculous draft slot, has hurt teams trying to negotiate because they can't spend a lot of money on one pick without hurting their chances of signing other draftees. 

    But the allure of a six- or seven-figure signing bonus can do a lot to sway an 18-year-old kid. Here is a look at the best multisport athletes in this year's MLB draft, their status and the likelihood they will stick with baseball. 

Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (Houston, Texas)

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    Sports: Baseball and Football

    College Commitment: Texas A&M

     

    What Kohl Stewart's future looks like

    Kohl Stewart is the top high school pitcher in this year's MLB draft. He has plus fastball velocity, a potentially plus-plus slider and solid changeup. At 6'3", 190 pounds, Stewart does offer some projection. 

    But a player of Stewart's age already showing that kind of velocity and potential with the off-speed stuff doesn't need to add much to be an elite talent. His delivery is a bit stiff, as he uses a lot of arm, loses his release point and doesn't incorporate his lower half enough, which will need to be corrected in pro ball. 

    Stewart is a 4-star football recruit and the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country, according to Rivals.com. He would likely have to redshirt his freshman year for football with Johnny Manziel ruling the roost at College Station. 

    With football in his back pocket, Stewart also plans to play baseball at Texas A&M, so he will be staying on top of his game if he decides to attend college and go back in the draft three years from now. 

    It would be better for his baseball career to work with professional coaching right now to clean up the flaws in his delivery and help him reach his ceiling of a No. 2 starter. 

     

    Likelihood Stewart signs with an MLB team: Very high

    Given where Stewart is likely to be taken in June's draft—likely no later than the middle of the first round—he will be staring at a signing bonus worth around $2.4 million if he lasts until the No. 15 pick. The price only goes up the higher he goes. 

    The new draft restrictions do limit the two-sport athletes drafted in the later rounds, but a player who goes as high as Stewart is most likely to pick baseball. 

Ivan Wilson, OF, Ruston HS (Simsboro, La.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: N/A

     

    What Ivan Wilson's future looks like

    Unlike Kohl Stewart, there is no doubt that Ivan Wilson is going to end up playing baseball. An athletic 6'3", 220-pound wide receiver in high school, he doesn't project to play the position in college. 

    Wilson brings that athleticism, solid speed, arm strength, bat speed and above-average power to this draft. He has a chance to stick in center field if his speed stays at the level it is at right now, though that seems unlikely since he isn't exactly a burner right now. 

    Considering Wilson's hit and power upside, he should profile in a corner outfield spot in professional baseball. It will be interesting to see where teams put him on their boards, because he is a good athlete with a high ceiling, but doesn't have the strong body of work you want from a high school player. 

     

    Likelihood Wilson signs with an MLB team: Very high

    Likely a second- or third-round pick, Wilson doesn't have the leverage of playing two sports in college. He also has yet to commit to a school, so you get the feeling that he wants to end up starting his career after he gets drafted. 

J.B. Woodman, OF, Edgewater HS (Orlando, Fla.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: Mississippi

     

    What J.B. Woodman's future looks like

    J.B. Woodman has played quarterback and the outfield at his high school in Orlando, Florida. He is committed to play baseball at the University of Mississippi, and given the SEC's baseball reputation, you know he is a legitimate talent. 

    But that talent translates well to professional baseball, as well as college. Woodman has plus speed and a line-drive swing with the ability to pepper the ball all over the field. He isn't incredibly physical, so there likely isn't going to be more than fringe-average home run power in his swing.

    Given his speed and contact-oriented approach, Woodman should turn into a No. 1 or 2 hitter in professional baseball. He also has the speed and instincts to handle center field with above-average arm strength. 

     

    Likelihood Woodman signs with an MLB team: Very high

    Woodman is going to find himself in the third-round mix when the draft comes around. He doesn't offer a lot of physical projection, as his body is well filled out at 6'2", 190 pounds. If he does add some muscle without sacrificing speed, his power could become average and increase his ceiling a bit. 

Cord Sandberg, OF, Manatee HS (Bradenton, Fla.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: Mississippi State

     

    What Cord Sandberg's future looks like

    Committed to Mississippi State as a quarterback, Cord Sandberg certainly sounds like he wants to go the football route. He raved about the SEC after committing to the Bulldogs, telling 247Sports.com (via Sporting News) this is where he wanted to end up:

    "I’ve always wanted to play in the SEC. And I love Coach (Dan) Mullen’s offense and how he develops quarterback. So I knew for a while now where I wanted to go and it was an exciting day. Coach Mullen was pretty excited, too, when I told him."

    But that could also just be something Sandberg said in the moment. He committed to college, why shouldn't he be excited. 

    On a baseball diamond, Sandberg should be a second-round pick with a high ceiling. He is still raw at the plate, but has the bat speed and frame to be a plus power hitter. He is a great athlete with plus speed who projects to be a very good corner outfielder in professional baseball. 

     

    Likelihood Sandberg signs with an MLB team: High

    Despite Sandberg's bright future on the football field, I believe he will be taken high enough and get enough of a signing bonus to convince him that baseball is the sport for him. He has the tools to be an impact player, it is just a matter of getting him completely focused on one sport instead of splitting time between two. 

Josh Adams, OF, Pleasant Grove HS (Elk Grove, Calif.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: UC Santa Barbara

     

    What Josh Adams' future looks like

    Josh Adams is actually one of the easiest two-sport athletes to figure out, because a knee injury he suffered on the football field in 2011 convinced him that baseball was the right path for him. 

    It is hard to argue with Adams' choice, as he has the potential to be picked in the third or fourth round of the MLB draft with the upside of an above-average center fielder. He has an easy swing that gets through the zone quickly and makes hard contact on a consistent basis. 

    With a solid hit tool, average power potential and the speed to handle himself in center field, Adams could turn into a bit of a sleeper in this year's draft class. He still has to work his way back from the knee injury last year, but the ceiling will be too much to ignore on the second day of the draft. 

     

    Likelihood Adams signs with an MLB team: High

    I think that the knee injury Adams suffered in 2011 actually helps the chances of a team to sign him. Since he knows how quickly something can be taken away from him, he will want to maximize his earning potential before the opportunity passes and risk getting hurt again in college. 

Ryan McMahon, 3B, Mater Dei HS (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: USC

     

    What Ryan McMahon's future looks like

    Like most of the players on this list, Ryan McMahon enters the draft having split time between football and baseball in high school with designs on continuing just in baseball if he goes to college or in the pros. 

    McMahon is committed to USC for baseball, but considering that he has decided to focus on it exclusively, you can sense that he is hoping that he hears his name called soon enough to make things worth it for him, financially speaking, to forego the bright lights of Southern California. 

    Boasting a strong, projectable 6'3", 180-pound frame right now, McMahon has a great swing with excellent hip rotation and power. Even though he plays shortstop in high school, he is going to move to third in professional baseball where he should be an above-average defender with good lateral quickness and a strong, accurate arm. 

     

    Likelihood McMahon signs with an MLB team: High

    Despite the allure of USC, as well as a fourth-round grade, McMahon is on a path to professional baseball. He could go to college and greatly improve his stock for 2016, though that doesn't seem likely right now.

Cody Thomas, OF, Heritage HS (Colleyville, Texas)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: Oklahoma

     

    What Cody Thomas' future looks like

    There might not be a more fascinating decision to watch this draft season than Cody Thomas. The star quarterback out of Texas has a commitment to play football at the University of Oklahoma, while also boasting a high-ceiling as a corner outfielder in baseball. 

    Thomas certainly sounds like he has a chance to be a big-time quarterback at one of the most prestigious football programs in the country. He is a 4-star prospect and the No. 7 pro-style quarterback, according to Rivals.com

    Even though Thomas is going to go on the second day of the draft, his present tools leave a lot to be desired. He will need to adjust a lot of things to better pitching and find an approach that will work relatively soon, or else he will be in serious trouble. 

    But when you have the kind of athleticism and body Thomas does—he is already 6'5", 220 pounds—with big power potential, you won't find a lot of people who bet against him succeeding. 

     

    Likelihood Thomas signs with an MLB team: Moderate

    Football will present a great opportunity for Thomas. He is one of the biggest recruits in the country and would be able to play baseball at one of the best programs in the Big 12, if he chooses to. 

Joey Martarano, 3B, Fruitland HS (Fruitland, Idaho)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: Boise State

     

    What Joey Martarano's future looks like

    There are not a lot of high school baseball players you will find who are 6'3", 230 pounds, though you wouldn't know that to be the case after we just talked about Cody Thomas, which is why Joey Martarano is committed to play football at Boise State. 

    That is where things get dicey when you try to project his baseball future, because Boise State University doesn't have a baseball program after cutting it in 1980

    Martarano is, obviously, a physical specimen at the age of 18. He has huge power that might not take long to play in games, depending on how well his hit tool develops. His agility at third base and arm strength are huge assets, as teams can project him there and not worry that he will have to move to first base or DH in the future. 

    But the big question will be, what does Martarano do after he is drafted?

     

    Likelihood Martarano signs with an MLB team: Moderately low

    If Martarano was going to a school with a baseball program, the grade might get bumped up to moderate. But you go to Boise State to play football. I would like to see him in professional baseball, obviously. Sadly, though not surprisingly, Martarano won't make the choice based on what I would like to see. 

Jon Hander, SS, Washington HS (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: Kansas

     

    What Jon Hander's future looks like

    Jon Hander has already stated that, assuming he does go to college, he will play football and baseball at the University of Kansas. He doesn't have one elite tool, but can swing a bat well and might turn into some power as his 6'2", 180-pound frame fills out. 

    Considering the fact that there isn't a lot of buzz surrounding Hander for the draft right now—he could be a sixth- or seventh-round pick, but that's about it due to his current skill set and lack of elite competition faced—college might not be the worst thing for him. 

    Playing football and baseball in the Big 12 could do wonders for his development as an athlete, possibly leading to a higher draft ceiling in three years. 

     

    Likelihood Hander signs with an MLB team: Moderately low

    The fact that Hander is getting buzz out of South Dakota is a testament to how highly regarded he is. But unless a team is able to put aside a little money from the first four or five rounds to give him enough incentive to forego a scholarship to Kansas, I think he will go to college. 

Thomas Milone, OF, Masuk HS (Monroe, Conn.)

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    Sports: Football and Baseball

    College Commitment: Connecticut

     

    What Thomas Milone's future looks like

    Playing baseball on the East Coast makes it difficult to get noticed, especially for high schoolers, because the cold weather delays the start of the season so often that scouts don't often get a chance to take a look at a player more than once. 

    That is one of the big reasons that Mike Trout, who is from New Jersey, fell to the end of the first round. 

    Thomas Milone has been committed to play baseball at the University of Connecticut for over a year and spent his senior year in high school focusing on baseball and football. He told the Connecticut Post that he stayed with football for his teammates:

    "I've played since I was 8 years old. I love these guys, I can't leave them my senior year. A lot of guys said if they were in my shoes, they wouldn't have played, but if they were in my shoes, they would play. I love these guys."

    How do you root against a player and competitor like that?

    Milone's future is clearly in baseball, as he boasts a projectable 6'0", 190-pound frame with a clean swing and some present power that should turn into above-average down the line. He has speed and is a natural center fielder. 

     

    Likelihood Milone signs with an MLB team: Very high

    Milone's stock is about as high as it could possibly get, with an outside shot of sneaking into the supplemental first round. When you can get that kind of traction as a baseball player at a small school in Connecticut, you don't mess around with it. 

     

    For more draft and prospect talk, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with questions or comments.