The 49th annual MLB first-year player draft is set to take place from June 6 through June 8 as baseball fans everywhere will take a reprieve from worrying about their favorite team's spot in the standings and shift their focus to the stars of tomorrow.
In its current form, the draft has been in existence since 1965, but it is now bigger than ever. Thanks to the attention that the NFL, NBA and NHL drafts garner, the MLB has attempted to make their draft a viewer-friendly experience. That is why the first and second rounds will be broadcast on MLB Network during prime time on June 6.
Although most of the players selected won't be seen in the big leagues for at least a few years, the draft is an exciting event for everyone. Here is everything you need to know about when and where to watch it, where teams will be picking in the first round and which prospects you should keep an eye on.
Where: Studio 42 in Seacaucus, N.J.
When: Thursday, June 6 through Saturday, June 8
Watch: MLB Network
Live Stream: MLB.com
|Thursday, June 6||First and Second||7 p.m. ET||MLB Network|
|Friday, June 7||Third through 10th||1 p.m. ET||MLB.com|
|Saturday, June 8||11th through 40th||1 p.m. ET||MLB.com|
First-Round Draft Order
|7||Boston Red Sox|
|8||Kansas City Royals|
|9||Pittsburgh Pirates (Compensatory)|
|10||Toronto Blue Jays|
|11||New York Mets|
|13||San Diego Padres|
|17||Chicago White Sox|
|18||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|19||St. Louis Cardinals|
|21||Tampa Bay Rays|
|25||San Francisco Giants|
|26||New York Yankees|
|28||St. Louis Cardinals (Compensatory)|
|29||Tampa Bay Rays (Compensatory)|
|30||Texas Rangers (Compensatory)|
|31||Atlanta Braves (Compensatory)|
|32||New York Yankees (Compensatory)|
|33||New York Yankees (Compensatory)|
|34 (Round A)||Kansas City Royals (Competitive Balance)|
|35 (Round A)||Miami Marlins (Competitive Balance, from PIT)|
|36 (Round A)||Arizona Diamondbacks (Competitive Balance)|
|37 (Round A)||Baltimore Orioles (Competitive Balance)|
|38 (Round A)||Cincinnati Reds (Competitive Balance)|
|39 (Round A)||Detroit Tigers (Competitive Balance, from MIA)|
Top Prospects to Watch
Teams are always looking to draft a generational talent, and while it remains to be seen if any exist in this year's class, San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant is the closest thing to it at first glance. The 6'5" junior was dominant this season in leading the Toreros to the College Baseball Tournament as he hit .340 with 31 home runs and 62 RBI along with an unreal .860 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage.
Although Bryant's level of competition will be called into question by some since he played in the West Coast Conference, there are some great baseball schools in place. Bryant's power is very real and it seems likely to translate to the next level. Most observers have taken notice of Bryant's skill, including Collegiate Baseball News as they publication named him National Player of the Year, according to WCC assistant commissioner Jeff Tourial.
There are a number of prospects who could be taken No. 1 overall by the Houston Astros and Bryant is definitely in that group. No matter who lands Bryant, though, they may very well have a perennial All-Star-caliber player on their hands.
After being drafted No. 8 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, but subsequently deciding to return to Stanford for his senior season rather than signing a contract, pitcher Mark Appel is once again eligible to be selected in 2013. There may be some concern from teams regarding how difficult it might be to sign Appel to a contract, but since he doesn't have the option to go back to school, that shouldn't be a huge issue.
From a talent perspective, Appel may very well be the top pitcher in this year's draft. The 6'5" righty was dominant for the Cardinal this season as he went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and punched out 130 batters in 106.1 innings. Appel has swing-and-miss stuff, and that was on display throughout his collegiate career as he broke Stanford's strikeout record, according to David Lombardi of FOX Sports.
Pitching is always at a premium in the big leagues, so it would be a shock to see Appel fall outside the top three selections. Going back to school was an extremely risky move on his part as he turned down millions of dollars, but the contract he ultimately accepts this year promises to be even more lucrative.
One under-the-radar name to consider during the first round of the draft is North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran. The 6'3" junior was the unquestioned offensive leader for the best team in college baseball this season as he was second on the team with a .357 batting average and led the Tar Heels with 13 home runs and 84 RBI.
Moran doesn't have the same power potential as Moran, but he is a great gap-to-gap hitter with room to grow in the power department. Also, he faced the best of the best all season long and put the North Carolina offense on his back for stretches. Most figure that Bryant, Appel or perhaps Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray will be the first pick in the draft, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com believes Moran is a sleeper to take top honors.
Whichever team nabs Moran will ultimately be quite happy. Even if he doesn't become a huge home run hitter, he hits for contact and should be an effective middle-of-the-order hitter at the next level. Perhaps his tools aren't as impressive as Bryant's, however; he could end up being the more consistent big league player.
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