MLB Draft 2013: 25 Most Impressive Prospect Highlight Videos on YouTube
A mammoth home run, a knee-buckling curveball, an incredible throw from deep in the hole at shortstop.
These are just a few of the traits we immediately associate with Major League Baseball players. But what about the prospects who are on the verge of getting the most important call of their lives when the draft takes place between June 6-8?
While it can take time for a young player's raw tools to translate into game action, the biggest reason that someone like, say, Clint Frazier gets talked about as one of the elite stars in this class is because of his ability to hit the ball really hard and really far right now.
There are going to be countless scouting reports and analyses done over the next couple of weeks as draft day approaches, but in an effort to bring you visual proof in one spot to see what we are talking about, here are the best videos of the top prospects.
Some of these videos are going to be longer than others, but we may be highlighting one specific moment from the tape that illustrates why a player is going to be taken very high on draft day.
Here are the 25 best prospect videos featuring 2013 MLB draft talent.
Left-Handed Pitcher Trey Ball
Trey Ball is a prospect who could be drafted as a pitcher or outfielder, but all signs seem to point to the former because he is left-handed with a projectable frame and already touching 92-93 with his fastball.
That is why this video of Ball throwing at last year's Perfect Game All-American Classic is the best one to watch. It gives you a sense of what scouts and analysts have fallen in love with, thanks to his tall, lean body that will fill out as he matures, very good delivery and improving arsenal of pitches.
With his upside and potential, Ball could end up being a top-10 pick in the draft.
First Baseman Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith is a rare breed as a high school first-base-only player who will be taken in the top half of the first round. What this video, courtesy of the Under Armour Baseball Factory, does is illustrate the reasons to love him.
Even though he will only play first base, Smith has incredible arm strength, which is shown at the beginning of the video. He won't be able to show it off very often, but at least he has it in his back pocket when he needs it.
But the reason to love Smith is because of his ability with the bat. He has a gorgeous swing from the left side, very simple and quiet with a good path to the ball and plenty of raw power. He is one of the best pure hitters in this draft.
Right-Handed Pitcher Mark Appel
Stanford's Mark Appel, one of the two players seriously in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick to the Houston Astros, has made strides over the last year and looks even better than he did in 2012 when he was the No. 8 pick in the draft.
In this video, Appel shows off all his pitches, including his power fastball-slider combination, and much cleaner mechanics than he had in 2012. He had issues commanding his fastball last season that have been fixed and has helped his projection this year.
Right-Handed Pitcher Jonathan Gray
The other player in serious consideration for the No. 1 overall pick is Oklahoma right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray. He has shown improved velocity this year, touching triple digits, and a true plus slider.
In this short video, you can see Gray's delivery in slow motion from two different angles. The straight-ahead look that gives you an idea of how well he uses his height when stepping toward the plate and allowing the ball to get on the hitter in a hurry.
It is the view from the side that really makes the video pop. You can see how high and balanced Gray is through his delivery, how he really drives off the rubber to get plus-plus velocity with his powerful lower half and how loose his arm is upon release.
Third Baseman Kris Bryant
This is not a great video of Kris Bryant, but it is one of the few actually showing him hit a home run in game action. That is key, because the reason he will likely end up being the No. 3 overall pick to the Colorado Rockies is power.
Bryant is not a great natural hitter, as he doesn't boast typical bat speed that you will see from top draft picks, but his ability to get the barrel through the zone and use his powerful upper half helps him generate big home run pop.
Considering the dearth of power hitters in baseball, especially at the college level, Bryant is a rare breed and worthy of his status as the top position player available.
Left-Handed Pitcher Sean Manaea
In fairness, it is a disservice to be showing highlights from Sean Manaea during Cape Cod League play last year. His stock reached a fever pitch during the summer of 2012 when he was hitting 96 with a knockout slider and good command.
Manaea hasn't looked quite the same so far this season, but he has been dealing with a hip injury throughout the year and didn't pitch in Indiana State's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament game after experiencing shoulder tightness.
Perhaps the injury bug is the reason Manaea hasn't looked the same this year, and he can return to the level he was at. Regardless, you can see his power arsenal on display in this video from last summer.
Third Baseman Colin Moran
Few hitters in this draft can match Colin Moran's natural feel for hitting. He has great pitch recognition and the ability to square up any pitch anywhere around the plate.
For instance, this video from the Cape Cod League last year shows what he can do with the bat. He doesn't chase pitches out of the zone, then when he does get a base hit, you can see that he keeps his weight back and almost pokes at the ball but still hits it hard through the infield.
Even though Moran doesn't project to have great power in professional baseball, he hits so well that it is not out of the realm of possibility he can be a 20-homer third baseman at his peak.
Shortstop Oscar Mercado
Even though Oscar Mercado's bat will prevent him from being taken in the first round, he is the best defensive shortstop in this class and should have no problem translating that to professional baseball.
Mercado's run through the showcase circuit last year was revelatory. He shows smooth actions in the field, the ability to move left or right with ease, plus arm strength and accuracy. He turns the double play as well as any draft-eligible middle infielder.
So while you don't have to watch Mercado with the bat, check out what he is able to do with the glove and admire how smooth he is in the field.
Outfielder Aaron Judge
Stanford's Aaron Judge is one of the most imposing physical specimens in this draft class at 6'7", 255 pounds. Of course, being that tall does have its disadvantages. His strike zone is much longer than the average player, and he struggles to hit the ball down in the zone.
But when Judge does make contact, his power is reminiscent of the aforementioned Kris Bryant. He won't make enough contact to hit for average.
This video shows off Judge's raw skills, which is where you get the best example of his exciting power. Eventually that talent has to play in games to make it worth the first-round choice he is going to be.
Catcher Reese McGuire
Finding high school catchers who project to hit and stay behind the plate in pro ball is very rare, so Reese McGuire has a real chance to generate interest as a top-10 pick.
What you can see from this video is what there is to love about McGuire. It starts with him behind the plate showing off plus arm strength, very good pop times and solid receiving skills. He does stab at the ball a little when he catches it, but he has shown enough to project as a solid defender behind the plate.
Then you get into McGuire's batting practice display and things look even better. You can see he has good bat speed, plus raw power and plenty of projection. He does have a bat wrap and leg kick that will give him problems against velocity, at least early in his development, but the profile is so good that he could sneak into the top 10.
Catcher Jon Denney
The No. 2 catcher, at least on my draft board, in this class, Jon Denney has a very good offensive profile that could make him a star if he is able to stick behind the plate.
As you can see from the beginning of the video, Denney is still raw behind the plate with his throwing mechanics and average arm strength.
But when you see Denney swing the bat, it is hard not to envision keeping him behind the plate to maximize his potential. There isn't a lot of movement to his swing, as he takes very little stride and generates power with good hip rotation and extension.
Left-Handed Pitcher Marco Gonzales
Even though there aren't a lot of great videos out there with Gonzales right now, I wanted to include the best one because it gives you a strong sense of what he can do.
Gonzales is never going to be a pitcher who will blow you away with velocity. His fastball rarely breaks 90, yet he is firmly in the first-round mix because of his plus changeup, control of a four-pitch arsenal and ability to sequence, keeping hitters off balance.
This assortment of highlights from Gonzales' 2013 season shows you all of the skills that make him successful on the mound and why he has the potential to be a solid innings eater in the big leagues.
Outfielder Billy McKinney
Ignore what Billy McKinney is doing in the outfield—because he will be a fringe defender in left field thanks to below-average running speed and arm strength—and just pay attention to what he is doing in the batters box.
McKinney has one of the best pure swings of any high school player in this draft class. He obviously doesn't have the bat speed of Clint Frazier—few players do—but he is so quick through the zone and smooth with his actions that he is going to be a plus hitter.
Even though McKinney doesn't have a lot of power in him right now, the combination of projection in his 6'2", 195-pound frame and ability to make hard contact give him plenty of upside in that department.
Outfielder Austin Meadows
Depending on who you ask—or what you want to see from a high school position player—Austin Meadows is in a battle with Clint Frazier to be the top prep player taken in this year's draft.
The consensus seems to favor Frazier because of his present skill set and performance, but the long-term projection might actually sway things in favor of Meadows. He is a tremendous athlete, looking more the part of a top-tier player than the shorter and stockier Frazier.
And as you can tell from this video, there is almost an effortlessness to the way Meadows plays the game. That can be a detriment in some aspects, where he looks almost lackadaisical at times, but when he is on, you can see at least four above-average or better tools in his future.
Right-Handed Pitcher Kohl Stewart
After the top two college arms, there is a very strong case to be made that Kohl Stewart is the No. 3 pitcher available in this draft. He has plus-plus velocity on the fastball already and features a devastating slider, as well as a deep arsenal he can go to when he must.
This video, taken last year during the Area Code Games, shows Stewart flashing all of his pitches. There is some concern about his delivery and if that will relegate him to the bullpen at some point, as his arm tends to be behind the rest of his body before throwing the ball.
But some minor tinkering could fix Stewart, who has a similar ceiling to Appel and Gray, but will require a lot more time before we know if he can reach it.
Shortstop JP Crawford
Shortstop is an incredibly thin position in this year's draft, as we alluded to with Oscar Mercado's video earlier. But J.P. Crawford has the best chance to stick at the position and hit enough to be a quality big leaguer.
Crawford isn't quite as smooth in the field as Mercado, but he does show a very good throwing arm and range to his right, as you can see from the embedded video.
Where Crawford separates himself is in the batter's box. Yes, there are holes in that swing. It is very big and very long, limiting his ability to really get his hands through the zone quickly and drive the ball. But there is bat speed and some power hidden in there that can be found very soon.
Right-Handed Pitcher Ryne Stanek
Ryne Stanek's stock has dropped this season due to inconsistent stuff and pedestrian results, but this video does highlight a few of the reasons that the Arkansas right-hander will likely be picked in the top half of the first round.
First, you can see when he throws that hard slider to the back foot of right-handed hitters that it is going to miss plenty of bats. You need to have a knockout weapon to be more than just a back-end starter in the big leagues, and Stanek certainly has one with that breaking ball.
Second, and you can see it from the side view, is Stanek's arm speed. He is very quick moving toward the plate and generates velocity because of it.
Right-Handed Pitcher Devin Williams
Devin Williams, the right-handed pitcher in the video, is slowly moving up draft boards thanks to his plus fastball, advanced breaking ball and very projectable 6'3" frame.
Even though Williams is still learning to pitch, he has a nice delivery already. You can see how long his stride is to the plate and how his arm speed whips through to get his fastball velocity and snap the hard breaking ball.
The learning curve will take Williams a few years before he approaches his ceiling, but projects like this are what make the draft so much fun.
Left-Handed Pitcher Rob Kaminsky
There is something about left-handed pitchers and curveballs, at least to me. It is usually not a pitch you will see someone at the prep level throw, mostly because they don't have to, but Rob Kaminsky is polished for his age.
As you can see, both in warm-ups and in the game, Kaminsky's curveball is a weapon right now. It has good two-plane break and really drops off the table as it gets into the zone. He gets tight rotation on the pitch and can command it well for an 18-year-old.
Outfielder Cord Sandberg
Once you get past the first couple of miscues with the glove, which is not an accident, Cord Sandberg's raw athleticism really shines through. He can throw, run and shows the ability to hit for power.
There are few prospects who can match Sandberg's ceiling, even though he will likely go much later than the elite high school talents because his baseball skills are far behind. But an athlete with bat speed, power, speed and the potential to play an average center field is rare.
Right-Handed Pitcher Jonathon Crawford
Florida's Jonathon Crawford is a divisive player in this draft class. Those who like him believe his delivery and arm will work in the starting rotation. Those who don't, see someone who has the arsenal to start without the mechanics to last over 200 innings.
This video is not the best illustrator of Crawford's raw ability, but it is a great moment for him at the University of Florida. He threw a no-hitter against Bethune-Cookman in the College World Series regionals last year.
Third Baseman Eric Jagielo
Notre Dame's Eric Jagielo doesn't have the offensive upside of Kris Bryant, though there is a better chance that the former stays at third base while the latter is forced to move to right field.
But what Jagielo lacks in upside, he more than makes up for with a solid all-around skill set and the ability to hit for average and good pop. Just look at the swing he puts on this ball to end a game during last year's Cape Cod League season.
That is a beautiful swing and a small little glimpse at what Jagielo can do.
Catcher Nick Ciuffo
The third catcher in the high school triumvirate this year, Nick Ciuffo showcased his talents last year during the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
Defense has to be the first priority for any catcher, and Ciuffo certainly shows that he has the goods behind the plate. Not only is he an excellent receiver, but his arm strength and athleticism give him a great chance to be at least above-average defensively.
The video also showcases some of his raw hitting tools, though there is much work to be done. He has an awkward swing where he keeps his hands so close to his body during the load that it makes it difficult for him to really drive the ball. But the glove is very impressive already.
Right-Handed Pitcher Hunter Harvey
Hunter Harvey is another projectable right-handed pitcher in this draft class, boasting a slender 6'3", 175-pound frame currently and the ability to fill out down the line to add a little more boost to his fastball.
This clip from the Under Armour All-American Game last August shows Harvey in full-on attack mode. Obviously in a short stint you can do things that you might not otherwise do, but in a showcase game against the other top players in the country, it is refreshing to see a youngster really show his stuff and not have anyone touch it.
Harvey is going to go very high in this draft on the basis of his projection and aggressive pitching style, though he will have to work on commanding the fastball better to get away with certain things against professional hitters.
Outfielder Clint Frazier
I saved this moon shot off the bat of Clint Frazier for two reasons. One, I think it is the most impressive single highlight video for any prospect in this year's draft class. All you have to do is watch to understand why he is one of the top prep players available.
Second, Frazier's bat speed is on full display in this video. It is the first thing that you notice about him when you watch him play. He has such a short swing and is able to generate a lot of power because of quick wrists and a solid lower half.
Frazier has plenty to work on in pro ball, like learning how to hit a breaking ball, but the bat speed and raw power are special.
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