2013 MLB Mock Draft: The Star Each Projected First-Round Pick Most Resembles

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2013

2013 MLB Mock Draft: The Star Each Projected First-Round Pick Most Resembles

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    With just three weeks until the Major League Baseball draft, a lot of things are starting to come into focus. Teams have their boards in order, though far from finalized. Players have spent all spring building up their stock to gain the fame and fortune that comes with being a first-round pick. 

    Really, the only thing left to do is put the players to teams. If you follow the MLB draft, you know that this class isn't particularly strong. There are about 15-20 true first-round talents available in this class, led by Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray at the top. 

    In an effort to help familiarize you with the talent in the 2013 draft, we are going to tell you which MLB star the new crop of prospects resembles as far as tools. That is not to say these players will turn into the player they resemble, but just that they boast some similar skills and traits. 

    So many things happen during the development process that the odds of these players hitting their ceiling is slim. 

    Here is our latest first-round projection and what you can expect to see from the 33 players drafted. 

No. 1 Pick: Houston Astros Select Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 239 

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Jonathan Gray has been the rising star of this draft season, touching triple digits with his fastball and showing a plus slider. He may not come cheap the way last year's No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa did for the Astros, allowing them to spend money further down the draft, but he will lead their rotation in the not-too-distant future. 

    Major-League Comparison: Matt Harvey

No. 2 Pick: Chicago Cubs Select Stanford RHP Mark Appel

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 215 

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Mark Appel, the top player available in this year's class, gives the Cubs exactly what they need. Their system has gotten much better, but they still lack front-line starting pitching and he can move quickly, assuming he signs. (For the record, he will.)

    Major-League Comparison: Mark Prior (Courtesy of my fellow B/R MLB Draft colleague Mike Rosenbaum)

No. 3 Pick: Colorado Rockies Select 3B Kris Bryant

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    Position: 3B

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 215 

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Kris Bryant is the best power-hitting prospect in this year's draft. His power (28 home runs in 52 games) will translate to professional baseball and he is a good athlete with plenty of arm strength to stay at the hot corner. 

    Major-League Comparison: Kyle Seager

No. 4 Pick: Minnesota Twins Select Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 235

    Bats/Throws: R/L

     

    Even though Sean Manaea hasn't been as dominant or consistent this year as he was when he broke out last year in the Cape Cod League, it is rare to find a lefty with a potentially plus fastball-slider combination with good command.

    Not that teams draft for need, but Manaea would give the Twins a high-ceiling arm that they desperately need to go along with their exciting core of position-player prospects. 

    Major-League Comparison: Madison Bumgarner

No. 5 Pick: Cleveland Indians Select Nevada RHP Braden Shipley

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Braden Shipley continues to impress after moving to the mound following his freshman season. His fastball has plus velocity, and an improving changeup gives him two major-league quality offerings with a curveball that is still developing. The Indians need a lot of help in their system, but pitching remains the biggest hole. 

    Major-League Comparison: Clay Buchholz

No. 6 Pick: Miami Marlins Select Georgia HS of Clint Frazier

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    Position: RF

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Miami is in an interesting spot, where it could end up going after the best available talent and spend a lot of money (which doesn't really sound like this front office) or shoot for a low-floor option that allows the team to spend more later.

    Frazier is the most exciting high school bat in this class, with tremendous bat speed and plus raw power that already plays, even though he doesn't have a ton of projection left.

    Major-League Comparison: Justin Upton

No. 7 Pick: Boston Red Sox Select North Carolina 3B Colin Moran

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    Position: 3B

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 215

    Bats/Throws: L/R

     

    Colin Moran has had an astounding season, hitting .385/.516/.646 with a 50-13 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He has one of the best eyes at the plate in this class, bat speed and power. There is a good chance he can stick at third base, but offense will be his calling card wherever he plays. 

    Major-League Comparison: Joey Votto

No. 8 Pick: Kansas City Royals Select Indiana HS LHP Trey Ball

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 180

    Bats/Throws: L/L

     

    Trey Ball has the upside to be drafted as a pitcher or outfielder, depending on what the team prefers. As a pitcher, he already has above-average fastball velocity and a ton of projection. The Royals, as we know, are not shy about going after high-risk, high-reward talents early in the draft. 

    Major-League Comparison: Chris Sale

No. 9 Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates Select Washington HS C Reese McGuire

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    Position: C

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: L/R

     

    High school catching is a rarity to find among first-round picks, just because the nature of the position usually dictates that most young players have to move from it in order to move their bat quickly.

    Reese McGuire won't fall into that trap because, while he boasts some offensive upside, his ability to stick behind the plate is where his value is. He has tremendous arm strength and athleticism. 

    Major-League Comparison: Salvador Perez

No. 10 Pick: Toronto Blue Jays Select Georgia HS of Austin Meadows

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    Position: CF

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 200

    Bats/Throws: L/L

     

    The best all-around talent in the draft, Austin Meadows has true five-tool potential and the ability to play center field. He has been an inconsistent performer in high school, regularly being overshadowed by fellow Georgia high school phenom Clint Frazier, but his raw talent will be too enticing for the Blue Jays, who regularly go after high-risk, high-ceiling players. 

    Major-League Comparison: Colby Rasmus

No. 11 Pick: New York Mets Select Mississippi State of Hunter Renfroe

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    Position: RF

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 216

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    The Mets don't have a lot of explosive athletes at the top of their system right now. Hunter Renfroe, while having some holes in his swing mechanics and ability to recognize pitches, has the potential to hit for power. He also has the arm strength and range to project as an above-average defender in right field. 

    Major-League Comparison: Alex Gordon

No. 12 Pick: Seattle Mariners Select California HS RHP Phil Bickford

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Phil Bickford is an intriguing arm, as he shows plus velocity and movement on his fastball already with the projection to add more. Like a lot of high school pitchers, his off-speed stuff doesn't measure up to the fastball yet, but there is enough with the slider and changeup that you can project to be average, at least. 

    Major-League Comparison: Max Scherzer

No. 13 Pick: San Diego Padres Select Houston HS RHP Kohl Stewart

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Kohl Stewart has the best pure stuff of any high school pitcher in this draft, with a mid-90s fastball and above-average slider. But questions about his delivery, as well as a strong commitment to play football and baseball at Texas A&M, could push him down a bit. 

    Major-League Comparison: Shelby Miller

No. 14 Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates Select California HS 1B Dominic Smith

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    Position: 1B

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 195

    Bats/Throws: L/L

     

    In a draft class that is sorely lacking impact hitters, Dominic Smith is a clear standout. He has a beautiful, easy swing from the left side and the ability to hit for average and plus power. His throwing arm is very good, though he won't have the chance to show it off playing first base, where he will be a plus defender. 

    Major-League Comparison: Adrian Gonzalez

No. 15 Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks Select Oral Roberts RHP Alex Gonzalez

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 200

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Alex Gonzalez doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he mixes his pitches well and has plus movement on his fastball to throw it by hitters or generate a lot of weak contact. He could go higher because he won't need a lot of development and because of his impressive performance this season. 

    Major-League Comparison: Brandon McCarthy

No. 16 Pick: Philadelphia Phillies Select Fresno State of Aaron Judge

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    Position: RF

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 255

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Aaron Judge is an impressive physical specimen at 6'7" and comes with a ton of raw power, though he has never hit more than nine home runs in a season at Stanford. His size can work against him, as his strike zone will be much longer than most position players, but his offensive potential and athleticism make him a sure-fire first-round pick. 

    Major-League Comparison: Richie Sexson (Both for the size and power potential)

No. 17 Pick: Chicago White Sox Select Stanford of Austin Wilson

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    Position: RF

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 245

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Wilson's stats this season won't jump out because he missed six weeks to an elbow injury, but at his peak, he has well above-average potential with big power and the ability to make consistent contact. He does need to sit back on the ball a little more to really drive it, though it's not a huge detriment. 

    Major-League Comparison: Nelson Cruz

No. 18 Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers Select North Carolina HS RHP Hunter Harvey

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 175

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    The Dodgers have been known to take projectable high school arms, and Harvey has a lot to love if everything turns out right. He has a perfect frame right now with the ability to add more muscle and, as a result, more velocity to an above-average fastball and solid curveball. 

    Major-League Comparison: Homer Bailey

No. 19 Pick: St. Louis Cardinals Select Florida RHP Jonathon Crawford

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    While I am cooling on the idea of Crawford as a first-round pick due to a mediocre season and questions about his ability to start, but he has no injury history and boasts a mid-90s fastball with a solid slider to back it up. His command and changeup are the two biggest concerns right now. 

    Major-League Comparison: Ervin Santana

No. 20 Pick: Detroit Tigers Select Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Ryne Stanek is another player whose stock is falling due to an inconsistent season, but his upside with a plus fastball-slider combination and history of success in the SEC should be good enough to keep him in the first round. The Tigers love hard-throwing pitchers. It makes sense. 

    Major-League Comparison: Brandon Morrow

No. 21 Pick: Tampa Bay Rays Select Oklahoma HS C Jon Denney

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    Position: C

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    A better offensive profile than Reese McGuire, Jon Denney should sneak into the back half of the first round despite some questions about his ability to stay behind the plate.

    He needs to block and receive better, as well as to find more consistency with the bat. But the potential for a catcher with an above-average hit tool and plus power is rare to find. 

    Major-League Comparison: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

No. 22 Pick: Baltimore Orioles Select South Carolina HS C Nick Ciuffo

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    Position: C

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 200

    Bats/Throws: L/R

     

    Another high school catcher (perhaps they aren't as rare as I led you to believe), Nick Ciuffo has very natural movement behind the plate and boasts very good receiving skills. His offense leaves something to be desired, as he can't touch off-speed pitches, but he gets through the zone quickly and could turn into an average hitter. 

    Major-League Comparison: J.P. Arencibia

No. 23 Pick: Texas Rangers Select Tennessee HS RHP Kyle Serrano

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Kyle Serrano, a personal favorite of mine, could slide due to the fact that he appears to be a difficult sign. But the Rangers have never shied away from spending money to upgrade their system. A bit undersized, he has tremendous arm speed, mid-90s velocity on his fastball and already boasts an above-average curveball. 

    Major-League Comparison: Tim Lincecum (At least with stuff, not delivery)

No. 24 Pick: Oakland Athletics Select Samford of Phil Ervin

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    Position: LF

    Height: 5'11

    Weight: 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Ervin is not a player who immediately jumps out at you, but when you see him play, all he does is perform. He is more solid than spectacular, with a natural feel for hitting and some pop in his bat even though he is better suited to make contact than really drive the ball.

    His defense will likely be limited to left field, as his speed and range are fringy in center field, while his arm isn't strong enough for right. 

    Major-League Comparison: Melky Cabrera

No. 25 Pick: San Francisco Giants Select Jacksonville RHP Chris Anderson

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 225

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    The Giants, known for having some starting pitching, will get a bit of a project with Chris Anderson. The Jacksonville product has been dominant in the past, but diminished stuff late in the season has hurt his stock. He shows a plus fastball-slider combination at his peak, with a solid changeup to give him three weapons. 

    Major-League Comparison: Jeremy Guthrie

No. 26 Pick: New York Yankees Select Missouri RHP Devin Williams

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 172 

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Projectable and already showing plus velocity, Devin Williams should sneak into the back part of the first round. He has shown an above-average slider, though he is not consistent with it right now. Given his upside and raw stuff, his stock could keep climbing before we get to draft day. 

    Major-League Comparison: Taijuan Walker

No. 27 Pick: Cincinnati Reds Select East Central CC SS Tim Anderson

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    Position: 2B/SS

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Anderson is having a breakout year for East Central Community College, showing above-average power, plus-plus speed and solid arm strength. He might not be able to stick at shortstop, but his bat would play at second base or even in center field. His development might take longer than a normal college player, given the level of competition he has faced.

    Major-League Comparison: Brandon Phillips

No. 28 Pick: St. Louis Cardinals Select LSU RHP Ryan Eades

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 193

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Eades is more consistent than dominant, which at this point in a weak draft might be good enough for St. Louis to jump on. His stuff isn't where it was early in the season, which is a bad sign. But with proper conditioning, he could turn into an average or better big leaguer with three above-average pitches and solid command. 

    Major-League Comparison: Alex Cobb

No. 29 Pick: Tampa Bay Rays Select UC Irvine RHP Andrew Thurman

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Andrew Thurman fits into the Ryan Eades mold, though Thurman boasts better stuff. He doesn't have a dominant knockout pitch, but everything checks out as above-average to plus with command and the ability to mix everything whenever he wants. 

    Major-League Comparison: Matt Cain

No. 30 Pick: Texas Rangers Select Kentucky HS LHP Hunter Green

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: L/L

     

    Despite some inconsistent performances this season, Hunter Green offers present stuff with above-average fastball velocity from the left side and a lot of upside remaining when he fills out.

    His delivery is clean and he has tremendous arm action on the fastball with a solid-average curveball and changeup to back it up. 

    Major-League Comparison: Matt Moore

No. 31 Pick: Atlanta Braves Select New Jersey HS LHP Rob Kaminsky

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 190

    Bats/Throws: L/L

     

    Atlanta has shied away from risk and upside in favor of floor with their pitching lately, but Rob Kaminsky could be too good for even the Braves to pass up. The lefty boasts a smooth delivery with plus velocity and one of the best curveballs in the draft. 

    Major-League Comparison: Gio Gonzalez

No. 32 Pick: New York Yankees Select Gonzaga LHP Marco Gonzales

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    Position: SP

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 185

    Bats/Throws: L/L

     

    Seeing Gonzales shut down a good Arkansas team in person in February made him one of my favorite players in this class. He doesn't have much of a fastball, around 86-89 and topping out at 90, but he has an outstanding changeup with the same arm speed as his fastball, above-average curveball and an innate ability to sequence. 

    Major-League Comparison: Andy Pettitte

No. 33 Pick: New York Yankees Select Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo

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    Position: 3B

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 215

    Bats/Throws: L/R

     

    The final pick of the first round, Eric Jagielo brings a solid set of tools and should move quickly through the minors. He has plus power, a solid eye at the plate and the ability to make solid contact even though there is some length to his swing.

    He is an average defender at third with solid arm strength and improving lateral quickness. 

    Major-League Comparison: Will Middlebrooks

     

    For more draft talk, or any baseball questions you might want to ask, feel free to hit me on Twitter with questions or comments.