2013 MLB Mock Draft: Bleacher Report's 1st-Round Projection Battle

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2013 MLB Mock Draft: Bleacher Report's 1st-Round Projection Battle
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Stanford's Mark Appel still doesn't quite make it to the No. 1 spot in the latest mock draft.

The 2013 Major League Baseball draft is just over two weeks away. All the projections and evaluations are starting to take shape; with a few elite high school teams and most college squads wrapping up their seasons, it is time to start putting faces to big league clubs. 

Much like last year's draft, there is not a lot of elite talent at the top of the board this year. There are a number of intriguing players at both the high school and college levels, but aside from the top two pitchers, there are a whole lot of questions that don't have answers. 

For the second time this spring, Mike Rosenbaum and I have teamed up for a dual mock draft to hopefully sort out of some of the madness.

We are doing things slightly differently this time around, where when we agree on a pick, only one of us will provide analysis so as not to keep repeating the same thing you just read about a team and/or selection. When we disagree on a selection, you will get both of our thoughts on why we went the way that we did. 

Enough talking. Here is the latest MLB mock draft. 

 

Pick Team Rosenbaum Wells
1 Houston Astros Jonathan Gray Jonathan Gray
Pick Analysis: Gray's ascent this season will be capped off by being the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft. Not only does he offer the Astros similar upside to Mark Appel, the other player seriously in the mix for the top pick, but he could also come a little cheaper than the Stanford right-hander and allow them to allocate more money for higher-upside, tougher-sign players in the later rounds. Let's not forget Gray's ability to touch triple digits with a knockout slider and workhorse frame.—Wells
2 Chicago Cubs Mark Appel Mark Appel
Pick Analysis: As everyone knows by now, the Cubs will take either Gray or Appel with the second overall pick, depending on which player is selected by the Astros at 1-1. In reality, the Cubs are likely hoping that the Astros and Gray cut a deal, as they’ve had their eye on Appel for the last year despite his presumed high price tag as a Scott Boras client.Rosenbaum
3 Colorado Rockies Kris Bryant Kris Bryant
Pick Analysis: Conventional thinking would say that the Rockies need to go after pitching, but the MLB draft isn't like a lot of other drafts. Teams should look for the best player available. Bryant does have some questions about his hit tool, but there is no denying the huge power numbers he has put up at San Diego and how well it translates to the big leagues. In an era where home run numbers are down significantly, Bryant is a luxury at this spot.—Wells
4 Minnesota Twins Kohl Stewart Kohl Stewart
Pick Analysis: After adding a host of power arms since last June, including Alex Meyer, Trevor May and J.O. Berrios, Stewart would give the Twins another high-ceiling pitching prospect and fits the mold of their quickly improving farm system. Plus, at this point, the 6’3”, 190-pound right-hander is arguably the best player available.Rosenbaum
5 Cleveland Indians Colin Moran Colin Moran
Pick Analysis: With the exception of Francisco Lindor two years ago, who was lauded for his polish and advanced skills, Cleveland usually plays things (relatively) safe by going after polished college players. Moran has the most advanced hit tool in this class, an incredible eye at the plate and plus raw power. He also has enough tools—plus arm strength, good glove—to stick at third base. He could move very quickly after signing.—Wells
6 Miami Marlins Braden Shipley D.J. Peterson

Pick Analysis: The Marlins don't seem likely to go after one of the top high school players and pay him the money he will look for, so a college player seems to be the smart play. I go with D.J. Peterson, who will end up in the outfield and has a solid hit tool with above-average power but not much in the way of ceiling. He is more of a safe, low-risk investment for the Marlins than anything.—Wells

Even though they selected a college arm last June (Andrew Heaney), Shipley has considerably more upside than the average college pitching prospect. The cousin of former NFL wide receiver Jordan Shipley, the right-hander is an outstanding athlete with little mileage on his arm and the makings of three above-average-to-plus offerings.Rosenbaum

7 Boston Red Sox Clint Frazier Clint Frazier
Pick Analysis: The Red Sox will be forced to wait and see which top-10 prospect is still available with the No. 7 pick, as they have their eye on several different players. They’ve rarely have had an opportunity to draft this high, as their last top-10 pick came in 2003. They need to target the best player on the board, and I think that is Frazier.
8 Kansas City Royals D.J. Peterson Braden Shipley

Pick Analysis: Kansas City is not opposed to drafting high-ceiling talent (like Frazier or Austin Meadows), but it is clear that the focus of this franchise is finding pitching. We saw it with the acquisition of James Shields and drafting Kyle Zimmer in the last 12 months. Shipley has a plus fastball-curveball combination and continues to improve his command and feel.—Wells

After dealing Wil Myers, their top offensive prospect, during the offseason, the Royals have asserted themselves as a “win-now” organization. Therefore, adding Peterson, who’s widely regarded as having one of the top bats in the class, could give them an impact hitter capable of contributing by the 2015 season.Rosenbaum

9 Pittsburgh Pirates* Reese McGuire Trey Ball

Pick Analysis: The Pirates might play things safe since this pick is unprotected after failing to sign Mark Appel last year, so I can see a player like McGuire going here. However, Ball is one of the most intriguing players in this draft for his upside as a hitter or pitcher. Since he is left-handed and can already touch 93, expect him to be drafted and developed as a pitcher.—Wells

Although the Pirates selected a catcher (Wyatt Mathisen) with their first-round pick in 2012, he’s viewed as more of a work in progress behind the plate. So, don’t be surprised if they double down and cut a cost-saving deal with McGuire this year, as he’s an outstanding defender and lock to stay behind the plate.Rosenbaum

10 Toronto Blue Jays Austin Meadows Austin Meadows
Pick Analysis: No player in this class has a ceiling as high as Austin Meadows, the toolsy, albeit raw Georgia outfielder. He has an effortless—it can look almost lackadaisical—swing with plus speed, power and defense in center field. The Blue Jays have been known to grab the best available talent, especially in the early rounds. Don't expect that trend to change this year.—Wells
11 New York Mets Dominic Smith Hunter Renfroe

Pick Analysis: The Mets may not want to wait as long as it will take Smith, who is a (terrific) first base-only prospect, to get to the big leagues, especially considering the state of their outfield right now. Renfroe and his exciting all-around skills, including plus power, speed, defense and arm strength, will be the choice.—Wells

Although the Mets are desperately in need of an impact bat in the outfield, they may be forced to make an exception if Smith is still on the board. He may be only drafted to play first base, but he’s a left-handed player who should hit for both average and power in the big leagues.Rosenbaum

12 Seattle Mariners Ryne Stanek Ryne Stanek
Pick Analysis: Regarded as one of the top draft prospects headed into the spring, Stanek’s stock has a taken a minor hit this season due to decreased velocity, fringy command and his ongoing inability to miss bats despite flashing two plus pitches. That being said, it’s difficult to envision him not going within the first half of the first round, and 12thoverall may mark his floor in this year’s weak draft class.—Rosenbaum
13 San Diego Padres Trey Ball Ian Clarkin

Pick Analysis: The pitching-rich Padres really don't lose in either scenario here. If Ball slides to them, he would be an excellent choice for obvious reasons. Clarkin is also a left-hander who attends high school in the San Diego area who can already run his fastball up to 93 with a sharp curveball.—Wells

Just as they did last year with Max Fried, the Padres are likely to make a stab at a high-upside prep player and will have their pick of the litter here just outside the top 10. Ball is the definition of a projectable prospect, both in the outfield and on the mound, and could be a steal if he makes it this far.Rosenbaum

14 Pittsburgh Pirates Sean Manaea Sean Manaea
Pick Analysis: It is really hard to figure out where Manaea might go in this draft. He is a left-hander who has been clocked up to 96 in the past with a plus slider. But his peak came during the Cape Cod season in the summer of 2012. This spring has been different, as he is throwing more in the 91-93 range with two solid-average off-speed pitches. Lefties with above-average velocity, three pitches and pitchability don't usually last this long, so the Pirates would be wise to add him to their stable of arms.—Wells
15 Arizona Diamondbacks Hunter Renfroe J.P. Crawford

Pick Analysis: With Arizona's new philosophy at the big league level, you have to wonder what the drafting crew will look for. Crawford is one of the few true shortstops in this class with a solid hit tool, plus range and very good footwork.—Wells

With a farm system that's already loaded at nearly every position, and especially on the mound, the Diamondbacks are in a great spot to land one of the better college bats in the draft. If D.J. Peterson is off the board, and chances are that he will be, Renfroe is a solid pick here considering he's just now tapping into his big-time potential—Rosenbaum  

16 Philadelphia Phillies J.P. Crawford Tim Anderson

Pick Analysis: Anderson fits Philadelphia's bill for athletic players very well. He has a good chance to stick at shortstop and become a high-average, line-drive hitter with plus speed.—Wells

Although the Phillies house speedster Roman Quinn in the low minors, there's a decent chance that he'll eventually be moved to either second base or center field. Like the Red Sox, the Phillies have an opportunity to nab a potential impact player and could get the top shortstop in the class, J.P. Crawford-Rosenbaum

17 Chicago White Sox Austin Wilson Austin Wilson
Pick Analysis: Although he missed a portion of the season after suffering a right elbow (stress reaction) injury in Stanford’s opening series against Rice, it seemingly never altered Wilson’s perception as a Day 1 talent. And after deviating from their normal draft strategy in 2012 with the selection of Courtney Hawkins, expect the South Siders to take a safer route this June without sacrificing upside.Rosenbaum
18 Los Angeles Dodgers Ian Clarkin Hunter Harvey

Pick Analysis: Since 2003, the Dodgers have taken a high school pitcher in five of the seven years they have had a first-round pick (not including the supplemental round), and last year, they took a high school position player. Harvey certainly fits their model as a right-hander with present velocity—usually in the low 90s—and a lot of projection.—Wells

After selecting a pitcher in the first round from 2006-2011, the Dodgers finally took a different approach last year when they selected Corey Seager 18th overall. However, with the amount of pitching prospects expected to still be on the board in the mid-first round this year, expect them to target one of the more projectable prep arms.Rosenbaum

19 St. Louis Cardinals Alex Gonzalez Alex Gonzalez
Pick Analysis: The Cardinals could opt for a higher-ceiling high school arm at this spot, but the risk might be too great, especially considering they have another pick later in the round. Instead, they can add Alex Gonzalez, who has been moving up in this class thanks to his four-pitch mix, including a very good cutter that induces a ton of soft contact and polish. Not that St. Louis is hurting for young pitching right now, but one more solid arm can't hurt.—Wells
20 Detroit Tigers Aaron Judge Chris Anderson

Pick Analysis: The Tigers' philosophy is usually to go after a hard-throwing right-hander in the first round. Why change the formula right now? Especially with Anderson, who has shown plus-plus velocity and a very good breaking ball.—Wells

In need of advanced, impact talent due to their lackluster farm system, the Tigers are a safe bet to target a player whom they believe can reach the majors quickly and doesn't come with a high price tag. Although Judge does have his weaknesses, the 6’7”, 255-pound outfielder has huge upside (literally) and could be a steal this late in a weak-hitting draft class.Rosenbaum

21 Tampa Bay Rays Devin Williams Devin Williams
Pick Analysis: The consensus seems to be that Williams will be selected in the second half of the first round, though nobody is exactly sure where. The ultra-projectable right-hander has been heavily scouted by numerous teams drafting within that range, and in my opinion, he has all the makings of the next young, impact pitching prospect in the Rays’ system.Rosenbaum
22 Baltimore Orioles Chris Anderson Aaron Judge

Pick Analysis: Judge is one of the few players in this draft with plus-plus power projection, so there is a strong chance he doesn't even make it to this spot. But his huge strike zone—Judge is listed at 6'7"—and inability to drive the ball pitched down in the zone do leave questions about his hit tool.—Wells

Although the Orioles may ultimately target a premium position player, it’s hard to argue with their recent success in drafting Dylan Bundy (2011) and Kevin Gausman (2012). Anderson’s stock has fallen a bit this spring, but he still has the size and stuff to project as a solid No. 3 starter behind the aforementioned right-handers.Rosenbaum

23 Texas Rangers Hunter Harvey Travis Demeritte

Pick Analysis: The Rangers are another team that goes after tools and projection every single time. Demeritte is going to take a long time before sniffing the big leagues. He is incredibly raw but does have plus power potential and a strong arm for third base.—Wells

Hunter Harvey is exactly the type of young pitching prospect that the Rangers tend to covet. With a highly projectable frame and a fastball that’s reached the mid-to-upper 90s this spring, there’s a decent chance he may not make it this far. But if he does, expect the Rangers to shell out some big bucks to sign him.Rosenbaum

24 Oakland Athletics Tim Anderson Matt Krook

Pick Analysis: Drafting Addison Russell last year could be the start of a new philosophy for Oakland, which used to just go after college players with a high floor early. Krook would fit the new mold, as a left-hander with above-average present velocity, a plus curveball and projection.—Wells

Although the A’s netted a great prospect last June in Addison Russell, a team can never have too many high-ceiling up-the-middle prospects in its system. Anderson has the athleticism and tools to stick at shortstop and could conceivably move to center field down the road.Rosenbaum

25 San Francisco Giants Phil Bickford Rob Kaminsky

Pick Analysis: Kaminsky lacks the projection you want in a typical high school pitcher, but he is very advanced for his age, showing very good control and a solid three-pitch mix. Given the Giants' success at developing arms, you would have to trust they will get the most out of Kaminsky.—Wells

It’s easy to envision the Giants selecting a top-notch pitching prospect because, well, that’s what they do. But after selecting college right-hander Chris Stratton last June, the organization could stand to go younger with this year’s pick, meaning that the hard-throwing Bickford could be their guy if he’s still on the board.Rosenbaum

26 New York Yankees Rob Kaminsky Eric Jagielo

Pick Analysis: The Yankees can do any number of things in the first round with three picks. Jagielo is a safe option at this spot, both because he won't command a huge portion of the signing bonus and he's an average third baseman with solid hitting skills and plus power.—Wells

The Yankees have been linked to Kaminsky all spring, a local product (New Jersey) with a mature arsenal and present pitchability. Even if they don’t take him here, expect the Bronx Bombers to target the left-hander with one of their picks in the first round.Rosenbaum

27 Cincinnati Reds Kyle Serrano Kyle Serrano
Pick Analysis: A high school right-hander with a fastball that sits in the low 90s thanks to tremendous arm speed and a knee-buckling curveball, Serrano is squarely in the first-round mix. He slides down a bit because there are questions about whether he will honor his commitment to the University of Tennessee, where his father, Dave Serrano, is the head coach. He also doesn't offer much physical projection at 6'0", 185 pounds, so a drafting team will be banking on the present stuff, which is very good, and future command.—Wells
28 St. Louis Cardinals* Cord Sandberg Billy McKinney

Pick Analysis: McKinney would be a very good value pick at this spot. He doesn't offer much in the way of defense as a fringy left fielder, but he has a beautiful left-handed swing and projects to be a plus hitter with above-average home run power.—Wells

After landing two advanced college players (Michael Wacha, James Ramsey) in the first round last June, the Cardinals would benefit from selecting a high school player right here, as they need to begin re-stocking their lower-level affiliates. The only question is whether they’ll be able to offer Sandberg enough for him to pass on his dual-sport (quarterback) commitment to Mississippi State.Rosenbaum

29 Tampa Bay Rays* Jon Denney Hunter Green

Pick Analysis: The Rays, more often than not, will shoot for ceiling in the first round. Green has a projectable 6'3" frame, already sits in the low 90s with his fastball and has the potential for two average off-speed pitches. Considering how slow Tampa Bay plays things with its pitchers, as well as the depth already in the big leagues, the team can afford to wait as long as it has to for Green to develop.—Wells

Denney’s stock has slipped this spring due to his inconsistent performance on both sides of the ball, but he’s still showcased the type of loud tools that usually intrigue the Rays.Rosenbaum

30 Texas Rangers* Travis Demeritte Dominic Smith

Pick Analysis: Smith is one of the top hitters in this draft class. He has a great swing from the left side, already showing plus power in games. He is limited to first base, but he is a tremendous defender at the position with soft hands and a plus throwing arm that he won't get to show off very often.—Wells

In each of the last four drafts the Rangers have targeted the top high school prospect on the board, and expect this year to be no exception. If Demeritte, who's quietly emerged as one of the more exciting players in the class, is still on the board, expect the Rangers to be all over him.-Rosenbaum

31 Atlanta Braves* Marco Gonzales Marco Gonzales
Pick Analysis: After straying from the usual draft strategy last season when they selected local prep right-hander Lucas Sims with the 21st overall pick, expect the Braves to target a pitchability, high-floor arm, such as Gonzales, capable of a quick but steady ascension through their system.Rosenbaum
32 New York Yankees* Billy McKinney Reese McGuire

Pick Analysis: Here is where the Yankees can play around with some things. McGuire is a potential top-10-15 pick thanks to the strong possibility he will stay behind the plate, plus throwing arm and good blocking/receiving skills. He will have to prove he can hit, however.—Wells

Assuming that the Yankees net a top pitching prospect at No. 26 overall, this will be the organization’s first chance to target an impact bat. Although he’s a younger hitter and lacks defensive projection, McKinney’s bat would stand out in their system.Rosenbaum

33 New York Yankees* Eric Jagielo Dustin Peterson

Pick Analysis: Peterson has the makings of an average second baseman at the next level. He has a good swing with above-average bat speed. He is raw and will need to adjust to quality off-speed stuff, but his tools are very exciting and he's a good find at the end of the first round.—Wells

If the Yankees do in fact go with high school players with each of their first two picks, expect them to hedge against their investment with an impact college bat such as Jagielo, who offers plus power from the left side of the plate.Rosenbaum

 

For more draft talk, feel free to hit me up on Twitter 

You can also follow Mike Rosenbaum at his link by clicking here.

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