2013 MLB Mock Draft: Landing Spots for Top Pitchers in First Round
With the MLB draft just just a week away, it's time to update those draft boards, polish off the scouting reports and break down whatever YouTube film you can find on prospects.
Which players look like they'll sneak into the top five? Who is dropping? Will teams address holes in their minor league systems or go for the best talent available?
I don't have those answers, but I have plenty of guesses. Here's my latest MLB mock draft.
1. Houston Astros: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
Mark Appel is the top player in this draft but is also represented by Scott Boras and could end up being too expensive for the Astros' taste, as he was for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, who drafted him but couldn't sign him.
Gray has been fantastic for the Sooners this year, going 9-2 with a 1.55 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 110 innings. With a fastball that consistently hits 100, a plus slider and both a curveball and changeup to round out his repertoire, he has the stuff of an elite, future ace.
If Appel is the top prospect available, Gray is 1B.
2. Chicago Cubs: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel won't drop past the Cubs at No. 2.
The Stanford righty has an excellent fastball that dips and dives, and he also has an above-average slider and changeup. He's polished and experienced and shouldn't need much seasoning, if any, at the minor league level.
He's gone 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 106.1 innings. This guy misses bats, and the Cubs will be hoping he does so sooner rather than later in the big leagues.
3. Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
Kris Bryant is the top hitter in this class and boasts huge power. He hit .340 with an astonishing 31 home runs and 62 RBI for San Diego this season. The Rockies need to add arms to the system but Bryant has too much pop to pass on.
4. Minnesota Twins: Kohl Stewart, RHP/OF/3B, St. Pius X HS (Texas)
Stewart projects as a pitcher at the next level, but he's one of the better athletes in the draft and could easily adjust to another position if pitching doesn't work out.
He's a huge risk, however, as he's one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation and has already committed to Texas A&M to play football and baseball. There's no guarantee he'll commit to only playing baseball even if he's a top-five pick.
But the Twins should take the chance. He has the upside and tools of Appel and Gray and is easily the top high-school prospect in this draft.
5. Cleveland Indians: Austin Meadows, OF/1B, Grayson HS (Georgia)
Meadows is a legitimate five-tool athlete with a ton of upside to boot. He needs to add a whole lot of polish to his game, but hey, that's what the minors are for.
6. Miami Marlins: Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (Indiana)
Like Stewart, Ball is athletic enough to make the switch to the outfield if pitching doesn't work out. The Marlins should simply take the best talent available, and Ball fits that bill.
7. Boston Red Sox: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
The ACC Player of the Year, Moran was excellent for North Carolina this season, hitting .357 with 13 home runs and 83 RBI, the most in the nation. He's also solid enough in the field to remain at third, making him a great value at No. 7.
8. Kansas City Royals: Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Georgia)
Like Meadows, Frazier is a five-tool talent with a ton of upside. He doesn't have quite the upside of Meadows, but he's already more polished.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
Shipley is the best pitcher available. He went 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 107.1 innings this season for Nevada, so his transition to the big leagues could be a rather short one.
10. Toronto Blue Jays: Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Wilson didn't post the best numbers for Stanford this season, hitting .288 with five home runs and 26 RBI, but he's a big, athletic outfielder and won't last long on the board.
11. New York Mets: Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno St.
Judge is huge, standing at 6'7", a rare size for position players in baseball. He also has a rocket for an arm and hit .369 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI this season, so the Mets shouldn't hesitate to snatch him up.
12. Seattle Mariners: Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Stanek was one of the top pitchers in the stacked SEC this season, going 9-2 with a 1.40 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 90 innings. He's a nice value at No. 12.
13. San Diego Padres: JP Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (California)
Crawford has a lot of room to grow as a hitter but he's an excellent fielder, something that isn't easy to come by at the shortstop position. It's been a while since the Padres have had a stud at short, so adding Crawford makes sense.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Washington)
McGuire is the rare catcher that both hits for power and swings from the left side of the plate. He could easily be off the board in the first 10 picks.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: DJ Peterson, 1B/3B, New Mexico
Peterson can flat out rake, hitting .411 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI. He gives Bryant a run for his money as the best hitter in this class.
16. Philadelphia Phillies: Jon Denney, C, Yukon HS (Oklahoma)
The Phillies are old, have a pretty thin minor league system and will need to add Carlos Ruiz's replacement at some point. Denney is the best player available and an excellent catcher prospect to boot. This pick makes too much sense.
17. Chicago White Sox: Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Manaea has nasty stuff and is a tall, smooth lefty, but he struggled a bit later in the season and could see his stock drop. Still, he finished 5-4 with a 1.47 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 73.1 innings, so he won't drop too far.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
With a fastball that reaches the upper-90s, a four-pitch repertoire and solid control, Anderson backs up his 7-5 record, 2.54 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched with excellent mechanics and stuff.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
Crawford's stuff is better than his stats would suggest, as the Florida pitcher finished 3-6 with a 4.03 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 80.1 innings this season. Like many of his Gators' teammates, Crawford is better than he showed in 2013.
20. Detroit Tigers: Billy McKinney, OF/1B, Plano West HS (Texas)
McKinney is one of the best pure hitters coming out of high school and is regarded as a competitive, tough kid. He shouldn't be available for too long on draft day.
21. Tampa Bay Rays: Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
Gonzales boasts an elite changeup and excellent command, hence his 7-3 record, 2.80 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 106 innings for Gonzaga this season. Add him to the deep stable of arms in Tampa Bay.
22. Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU
In a league full of talented arms, Eades was one of the best this year, finishing 8-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 71 strikeouts in the tough SEC this season. He's got nasty stuff and has already proven his worth against stiff competition.
23. Texas Rangers: Ian Clarkin, LHP/1B/OF, James Madison HS
He's a three-pitch lefty with a ton of upside, and he has a lot of room to grow and even add another pitch to his repertoire. He's a top-25 talent for sure.
24. Oakland Athletics: Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
Wahl has two plus pitches (fastball and slider) and could settle nicely into a relief role down the line. After going 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 76 strikeouts in the SEC, it's clear Wahl is a first-round prospect.
25. San Francisco Giants: Dominic Smith, 1B, LHP, OF, Sierra HS (California)
Smith has time to grow into his power but he's already a gap hitter and RBI machine that fields his position well. The Giants would do well to add this versatile youngster.
26. New York Yankees: Andrew Thurman, RHP, UC Irvine
With four solid pitches at his disposal, Thurman can keep hitters guessing. That much was obvious at UC Irvine this season, where Thurman went 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 100.1 innings this season.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
Renfroe does a little bit of everything (.362, 48 runs, 15 home runs, 51 RBI, nine stolen bases), though he does strike out too often. Still, he has the look of a legitimate right fielder at the next level.
28. St. Louis Cardinals: Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford
Ervin has leadoff hitter and defensive lynchpin written all over him. He hit .337 with 58 runs, 11 home runs, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases, so he can help a team in a number of areas.
29. Tampa Bay Rays: Tim Anderson, SS/OF, East Central CC
Anderson is a four-tool prospect—he doesn't have much pop—with a lot of upside who should be able to field the shortstop position at the next level. In other words, he's exactly the type of prospect the Rays traditionally target.
30. Texas Rangers: Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (Minnesota)
Boldt could grow into five-tool status and the Rangers can afford to take a chance on his upside at this point in the draft.
31. Atlanta Braves: Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (Florida)
Mercado is a defensive whiz at shortstop. If he continues to grow as a hitter, he could be one of the steals of the draft.
32. New York Yankees: Phil Bickford, RHP/1B, Oaks Christian HS (California)
Bickford is a project, yes, but he already has three solid pitches and the Yankees can take plenty of time to develop him.
33. New York Yankees: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (North Carolina)
Another project for the Yankees? Why not? Harvey has plenty of talent like Bickford and will be given time to grow as a pitcher.
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