The 2013 MLB draft is just around the corner, slated to kick off on June 8.
This year's draft boasts plenty of high-caliber young talent, whether it be a flame-throwing right-hander or a dangerous power hitter. Several prospects will be battling to be selected in the top five picks.
Here's a look at my favorite prospects in the 2013 draft class, complete with scouting information and video on each prospect.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Mark Appel was actually drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates at No. 8 overall last year, but he elected to return to Stanford for his senior season.
The right-hander has three high-quality pitches: a fastball, slider and a circle change. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with life. Combined with his solid command, he projects to at least be a No. 2 starter in the majors, if not an ace.
While there were concerns that Appel didn't rack up enough strikeouts headed into his junior campaign, his last two seasons with the Cardinal have quieted those concerns. He posted a 2.56 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 123 innings in 2012. That included registering only 30 walks.
So far this season, Appel has been phenomenal for Stanford. He's posted a 1.97 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 91.1 innings. That includes just 20 walks. He is 8-4 on the season, bringing his record in the last two years to 18-6.
Of course, there are some who believe Appel could be a clubhouse disruption. Some feel he's a diva after he declined to sign with the Pirates after qualms about the $3.8 million they offered him.
Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
Right-hander Jonathan Gray has taken the baseball world by storm this season.
Possessing a fastball that can reach 100 mph, he's been phenomenal for Oklahoma in 2013, posting an 8-2 record with a 1.43 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 94.2 innings pitched.
But Gray is not just a flame-thrower. He possesses an excellent power slider and an above-average changeup and curveball. He's also posted just 19 walks this season, displaying command with his pitches.
Gray's work ethic is there too.
Sooners head coach Sunny Golloway said of the 6'4", 240-pounder in April, via ESPN.com:
Jon has that refuse-to-lose attitude, and that's meant a lot to our team. His competitive nature is much more prevalent now. That's why when that fire burns, it burns so bright. Put him in a uniform and on a mound, and you don't want to be on the other side of that.
Golloway has compared Gray to a young Roger Clemens.
Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
Kris Bryant is the best power bat in the class. That's the first thing you need to know.
The right-hander racked up 14 home runs and 17 doubles in 213 at-bats in his junior campaign at San Diego. This season, he's been knocking the ball all over the place, posting 29 home runs, 12 doubles, 60 RBI and 71 runs in 196 at-bats. Keith Law of ESPN ranks his power right now 70 out of 80 on the MLB level.
Bryant also has above-average arm strength. Some believe he will become an outfielder in the pros because of this.
The one knock on Bryant is that he doesn't project to bat for a high average in the majors. He's hitting .342 for San Diego this season, but he may not have the bat speed or plate discipline to consistently stand toe-to-toe with some of the best pitchers in the pros.
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