2013 MLB Draft: Ranking the Top 5 Draft Prospects for Each of the 5 Major Tools

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterMay 29, 2013

2013 MLB Draft: Ranking the Top 5 Draft Prospects for Each of the 5 Major Tools

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    In discussing prospects, everyone always wants to know about the tools.

    And when it comes to draft prospects, the notion is only amplified. After all, when evaluating amateur players—especially high school players—tools serve as the basis for all future projection.

    With the 2013 MLB First-Year Player draft a little over a week away, here is a breakdown of the top tools in this year’s draft class.

Best Bat

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    1. D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B, New Mexico

    Thanks to a compact but powerful swing and superb bat-to-ball ability, Peterson will make an immediate impact at the next level. One scout recently told me that he believes Peterson could handle an assignment to Double-A after signing.


    2. Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina

    While Peterson may be the most natural hitter in the class, Moran is easily the most polished. The 6’3” left-handed hitter’s stellar plate discipline helps him to see the ball deep into the zone, and his quick, line-drive swing keeps the entire field in play.


    3. Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)

    Simply put: Frazier’s combination of a lightning-quick bat, aggressive approach and innate knack for barreling the baseball could make him a special hitter.


    4. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego

    Although Bryant is known more for his prodigious power, the truth of the matter is that the 6’5” right-handed hitter can just flat-out rake. Yes, there’s some swing-and-miss to his game, but the approach and pitch recognition are there.


    5. Billy McKinney, OF, Plano West HS (Texas)

    A 6’1”, 195-pound outfielder, McKinney is a pure left-handed hitter with a smooth, balanced swing and potential plus hit tool.

Best Power

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    1. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego

    At 6’5”, 215 pounds, Bryant is the only prospect in this year’s draft class with 80 power. Not only has the right-handed hitter out-homered every other NCAA Division I player in the nation, but he’s also out-homered most teams. 

    2. Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno St.

    At 6’7”, 255 pounds, Judge is a massive human being with effortless plus-plus raw power to all fields. The only knock on the big man is that his swing has some length, though he's often able to compensate with sheer strength.


    3. Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)

    Although he’s only 6’, 190 pounds, Frazier offers a rare combination of pure physical strength and quick-twitch muscles. Meanwhile, his plus-plus bat speed and explosive wrists yield power uncommon in a player his age.


    4. Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi St.

    At 6’2”, 210 pounds, the toolsy outfielder has continued to showcase the plus raw power this spring that first emerged over the summer in the Cal Ripken League.


    5. Dominic Smith, 1B, Serra HS (Calif.)

    Smith doesn’t possess the pure raw power compared to other players on this list. Rather, his pop is a product of a smooth left-handed swing that generates loud contact to all fields.

Best Speed

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    1. Matt McPhearson, OF, Riverdale Baptist HS (Md.)

    The only 80 runner in the 2013 draft class, Matt McPhearson absolutely flies on both sides of the ball. And unlike some of his peers, the left-handed hitting outfielder knows how to use his speed to change games.


    2. Stephen Wrenn, OF, Walton HS (Ga.)

    At 6’2”, 185 pounds, Wrenn is a legitimate plus-plus runner who covers tremendous ground in center field. At the same time, he’s a very raw right-handed hitter with issues to his swing and approach, and is therefore still learning to utilize his speed.


    3. Josh Hart, OF, Parkview HS (Ga.)

    Another speedster hailing from a Georgia high school, Hart is a left-handed hitting outfielder with plus-plus speed and the ability to get down the line in a hurry.


    4. Tim Anderson, SS, East Central Community College

    Anderson has shot up the draft boards this spring thanks to a collection of plus tools and quickly improving baseball skills. The shortstop’s top tool is his 70 speed, which impacts the game on both sides of the ball.


    5. Corey Ray, OF, Simeon Academy (Ill.)

    Ray, a 6’, 180-pound outfielder, is a top-flight athlete with plus-plus speed from the left side of the plate.

Best Defense

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    1. Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.)

    At 6’1”, 190 pounds, McGuire’s defense along should make him a major league catcher. With an ideal frame and plenty of athleticism, he’s an advanced blocker with vastly improved receiving skills, as well as catch-and-throw skills that will quickly rank among the best in the sport.


    2. J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (Calif.)

    The only shortstop in the draft class with a legitimate chance to remain at the position long term, Crawford has an athletic 6’2”, 175-pound frame and smooth, effortless actions.


    3. Phil Ervin, OF, Samford

    Although he’s been plagued by an ankle injury this spring, Ervin is an excellent defensive outfielder—regardless of position—thanks to a combination of plus speed, excellent instincts and aggressive routes.


    4. Ryan Boldt, of, Red Wing HS (Minn.)

    While there are plenty of center fielders in this year’s draft class, Boldt is among a select few players who project to say at the position long term. At 6’1”, 190 pounds, he’s a plus runner with excellent range and instincts.


    5. Josh Hart, OF, Parkview HS (Ga.)

    A plus-plus runner, Hart’s game-changing speed is as evident in the outfield as it is on the bases, as he’s an outstanding defensive outfielder with top-notch speed and tons of range.

Best Arm

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    1. Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.)

    Besides McGuire’s aforementioned defensive prowess, he boasts a rare plus-plus arm from behind the plate; everything he throws is a rocket. Amazingly, his arm strength plays up in game thanks to a flawless transfer.


    2. Michael Lorenzen, OF, Cal St. Fullerton

    As the Cal St. Fullerton closer, Lorenzen’s fastball will sit in the upper-90s. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the center fielder owns the strongest arm in the draft class from the outfield.


    3. Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi St.

    An outstanding athlete who patrols center field for Mississippi State, Renfroe has 70 arm strength that’s a weapon at his current position, and more than enough for right field at the major league level.


    4. Hunter Dozier, SS/3B, Stephen F. Austin

    A 6’4”, 220-pound shortstop, Dozier is an excellent athlete for his size with a plus arm suitable for either position on the left side of the infield.


    5. Dominic Smith, 1B, Serra HS (Calif.)

    Even though he’ll likely be developed as a first baseman—which is only a testament to his bat—Smith has a plus arm ideal for right field and sits in the low-90s on the mound.