2013 MLB Draft Prospects: 10 Best Shortstops in the 2013 Draft Class

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2013 MLB Draft Prospects: 10 Best Shortstops in the 2013 Draft Class
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The Astros made Carlos Correa the No. 1 pick last year. Which shortstops will headline the 2013 draft?

When it comes to position players in the Major League Baseball draft, the two areas you will see teams reach on a pick are catcher and shortstop. It is so hard to find players who project to be even average at those spots that when a team believes it has found one, it needs to pounce. 

Unfortunately for teams picking in this year's MLB draft, the crop of shortstop talent is really lacking. There appears to be only one sure-fire first-round pick who projects to stay at the position, with a few other supplemental and second-round talents who have a shot to play shortstop in the big leagues. 

As we move closer to draft day, here is a look at the top 10 shortstop prospects in this class. These are only the players who project to play the position in the big leagues or at least have a solid chance to stick. 

 

No. 1: J.P. Crawford, Lakewood HS (CA)

Crawford is the best of a mediocre—to put it nicely—bunch at shortstop this year. He is a first-round pick, though there is a lot of risk involved because his offensive game lags behind his defense. He does have some bat speed and a line-drive approach, but he doesn't have a good weight transfer and will get beat by good velocity. 

That said, as a plus defender at shortstop with soft hands, plus arm strength and very good instincts, the offensive bar for the position is so low that he can get away with a few offensive flaws and still turn into an average everyday player. 

Projected Pick: Mid-First Round

 

No. 2: Tim Anderson, East Central Community College 

Anderson is a player whose profile might be better suited for second base. His range is fringy, despite having plus speed, and he doesn't have the kind of arm strength that you want to see when projecting a shortstop. 

But Anderson is a good enough athlete and can make routine plays, to the point where a team could see the value in keeping his bat there and hoping he is respectable. He is a very good runner with the ability to spray the ball all over the field, though he won't have more than fringe power. 

Projected Pick: Late First or Supplemental Round

 

No. 3: Riley Unroe, Desert Ridge HS (AZ)

Courtesy of Bullpen Banter

While not a first-day selection, Unroe might actually be my favorite potential shortstop in this class. There is a chance he will wind up moving, but he has a very good offensive ceiling, arm strength and above-average hands. 

Unroe's bat is impressive. He has a very quick swing from both sides of the plate with a little load and the ability to generate average home run power at his peak. At shortstop, he would be an above-average player. If he has to move, the projection diminishes a bit. 

Projected Pick: Second Round

 

No. 4: Garrett Hampson, Reno HS (NV)

One of the better athletes in this class, Hampson can run, hit for average, shows above-average smarts in the batter's box and the field. His arm strength is below-average and could necessitate a move to second base, where his bat doesn't profile very well. 

Given the strength of Hampson's glove, boosted by his ability to move deep into the hole and get rid of the ball quickly, as well as his knack for making contact, even without much power, he could turn into an average shortstop in the big leagues. 

Projected Pick: Second Round

 

No. 5: Oscar Mercado, Gaither HS (FL)

Once thought to be the top shortstop in this class, Mercado's offensive limitations have made it difficult to see him going before the second round, even in a shortstop class this soft.

He has a compact line-drive stroke, but he has such a slight frame that the likelihood he will be able to drive anything with authority is small. His feel for the game can help him take an extra base here and there, even though he isn't a burner by any stretch. 

Defensively is where Mercado makes his money. He has the best glove of any shortstop in this class, with range for days, plus arm strength, incredibly soft hands, the instincts to always be where the ball is and lateral quickness when he does have to move. 

Projected Pick: Second Round

 

No. 6: Trae Arbet, Great Oak HS (CA)

Arbet has all the makings of a solid—not spectacular—player in the future. He doesn't have the best tools in the world. In fact, he doesn't even have one tool that projects as plus in the big leagues, with the possible exception of his throwing arm. 

Yet somehow Arbet makes his package of skills work. He has fringy range but puts himself in a position to make plays thanks to good instincts and the aforementioned strong throwing arm. 

Arbet doesn't have a good handle on the strike zone right now, nor does he have enough bat speed or loft in his swing to really drive the ball out of the park. If his pitch recognition improves and he can quiet down some of the mechanics in his swing, he can hit for average and fringe power down the line. 

Projected Pick: Third Round

 

No. 7: Jack Reinheimer, East Carolina

There is something to be said for finding a safe player in the draft, especially after you get out of the first two or three rounds after you have gotten the high-risk, high-ceiling talents. 

Reinheimer offers little projection with the bat, hitting 23 doubles in three years at East Carolina. He might turn into a player who hits an empty .260, if you really want to dream. There won't be any extra-base pop, and while he has a decent eye, he will get beaten by quality off-speed stuff.

With his glove, though, Reinheimer is a solid-average defender. He has a decent arm that plays up thanks to a good feel for the position and quick glove-to-hand transfer. He could end up as a starter on a second-division club.

Projected Pick: Fourth Round

 

No. 8: Tucker Neuhaus, Wharton HS (FL)

Neuhaus has not had the kind of success on the field you would expect for a player with his talents and upside, but there is still enough talent that could make him a very good bargain in this class. 

Already boasting a filled-out 6'3", 200-pound frame, there is not much physical projection left for Neuhaus, so you are really banking on the tools to show up once he gets into pro ball. He has some range, though it is limited due to his size and lack of first-step quickness. His arm is solid. 

Offensively, Neuhaus has plenty of room for growth. He boasts the body and swing of a plus power hitter, though he will have to improve his pitch selection and discipline to show if off in games. 

Projected Pick: Fifth Round

 

No. 9: Chris Rivera, El Dorado HS (CA)

Courtesy of Baseball Factory TV

Rivera is a not-quite-poor-man's Oscar Mercado. He has a very good defensive profile, with arm strength, plus range, feel for the position, instincts and good lateral movement. On that basis alone, he would be taken in the top three rounds, easily. 

Unfortunately there is the other side of the game where you have to hit, which is where Rivera gets into some trouble. He has some bat speed and controls it well through the zone, but he has fringy power and doesn't do well against pitches on the outer part of the plate thanks to a wide-open stance. 

He could go higher thanks to the defensive profile and some upside with the bat, but I wouldn't take him before the fifth round at the earliest. 

Projected Pick: Sixth Round

 

No. 10: Trever Morrison, Archbishop HS (WA)

One of the few players who projects as a true shortstop, Morrison has a lot to like. He has plus range with excellent footwork, an above-average throwing arm, tremendous feel for the position and instincts. 

He is also not bad as a hitter, with the ability to run and spray the ball all over the field. The problem is, Morrison is still very small at 6'0", 175 pounds and will have to add a lot of strength in order to profile as anything with the bat as he moves up. 

If Morrison was a little bigger, he could be taken in the top three rounds. But because there is a lot of guessing involved right now, he is likely to drop a little bit. 

Projected Pick: Sixth Round

 

For more draft projections or anything else baseball related, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. 


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